Learning Abroad Center

Accessibility: Scholarship Exchange in Iceland

Program website

Learn about Scholarship Exchange in Iceland.


The attitude towards individuals with disabilities in Iceland is based on the Nordic Welfare Model which focuses strongly on economic safety, social service and healthcare. The main responsibility has been carried out by the government while the private sector has had little role. In 2002 the University developed a new policy regarding individuals with disabilities, granting them access to special assistance. The University currently has about 400 students with a variety of disabilities (about half of the students have dyslexia). There is a disability services office on campus that is part of the University Counseling Center.

Classroom and Academics

Students generally spend 16-20 hours a week in class and are expected to spend about 30 to 40 hours per week studying outside of class. This of course varies with subject. Students typically learn from lectures, readings, video, independent research, language lab, etc. Learning is typically assessed by exams (particularly for undergraduate students), and presentations and papers (particularly for graduate students). Homework is typically typed. Class participation is increasingly factored into course grades, but it is up to the discretion of the professor.

Classroom accommodations could include recording lectures, arranging for a separate room or extra time for exams, making classrooms wheelchair accessible, and allowing service dogs in the classroom. Sign language interpreters are available but they do not use ASL.

If a classroom is not accessible the University will always try to find solution. However in some cases, for example in some research labs, there is no way to move the classroom.

Excursions and Field Trips

Excursions and field trips are class dependant. Identifying alternatives would depend on the professor.

Housing and Food Services

Students live in student housing. Student Housing (a department within the Icelandic Student Services) has few apartments on the University campus that are designed for individuals with disabilities. Accommodations could also include allowing service dogs into sponsored housing, access to kitchen facilities, and accommodating special dietary needs.


Computer labs (wheelchair accessible) with Internet access are available to students. Assistive technology (for example Braille output, Screen magnification and screen reading, Document scanning, Word prediction, Mouse and keyboard adaptations, Document magnifiers and Personal listening systems) is available.

Library Services

Students have access to library facilities (wheelchair accessible), and assistance could be available to help access library materials.


Students have to travel up to five hundred meters between housing and classroom. There are periods during the winter where it is nearly impossible for students with mobility disabilities to travel between buildings without a car.