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IEX J-Term 2020: Glaciers, Volcanoes, Sagas and Songs: Interweaving Culture and Landscape in Iceland
Egilsstadir, Iceland; Heimaey, Iceland; Hofn, Iceland; Myvatn, Iceland; Reykjavik, Iceland; Siglufjordur, Iceland (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms:
Program Terms: January Interim
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This program is currently not accepting applications.
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There are currently no active application cycles for this program.
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Fact Sheet:
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Program Partner:
Gustavus Adolphus College
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Program Term(s):
January Interim
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Minimum GPA:
Program Description:
Program Description:
AuroraImmerse yourself ... come to understand community and isolation in one of the world's least populated and most remote nations. 

  • Immerse yourself in expansiveness by exploring the intersections between community and isolation in one of the world's least populated and most remote nations. 
  • Enjoy a relaxing soak at a natural hot spring pool on a cold, clear winter night while searching for the magical but elusive Northern lights.
  • Experience Iceland's rich array of art, literature, music, and film, stretching from the thousand-year-old sagas of the medieval Viking era to world-renowned examples of contemporary Nordic cinema and visual art.
  • Discover the causes and consequences of Iceland's volcanic landscapes, from the 1973 eruption that nearly buried a town and the 1783 eruption that killed a quarter of the country's population (and tens of thousands more in mainland Europe) to a cutting-edge geothermal power plant and even the original Geysir, for which all other geysers are named. 
  • Step in from the cold wind to enjoy the warmth of Reykjavik's ultra-hip cafe scene. 
  • Explore the ice that gives the country its name, including descending into the incomparable beauty of a glacial ice cave and wandering among sparkling icebergs washed ashore on a stark, black sand beach.  

  • Reykjavik - Iceland's cool, compact, and vibrant capital city.
  • Þingvellir - the first home of what remains the oldest parliament in the world that is still running, which just happens to sit astride the very rift that defines the tectonic boundary between Europe and North America.   
  • Siglufjörður - an isolated village tucked into a spectacular Arctic Ocean fjord, and one of Iceland's northern-most communities.
  • Vatnajökull National Park - home to one of the largest non-polar ice caps on Earth, with numerous approachable glaciers, crystalline and impossibly blue ice caves, iceberg-dotted lagoons, black sand beaches continuously pounded by the North Atlantic surf, and the remains of a little church that famously survived one of the most incredible volcanic eruptions in recorded human history.
  • The Wilderness Center - a remote and peaceful farmstead on the edge of one of the largest undeveloped highland regions in Europe.
  • Heimaey - a small offshore fishing town on the austere Vestmannaeyjar Islands that awoke one night in January 1973 to find fountains of lava erupting hundreds of feet into the sky, ultimately witnessed a quarter of its structures buried beneath a months-long accumulation of volcanic cinders, and now regarded as the "Pompeii of the North."
Ice Cave

Academic Calendar
Expected dates
On campus "before" arrival date: Jan 6, 2020 to Jan 10, 2020
Study away arrival date: Jan 11, 2020
Study away departure date: Feb 1, 2020

Faculty Leader(s)
Prof La Frenierre
Jeff La Frenierre, Assistant Professor in Geography and Environmental Studies
Assistant Professor Jeff La Frenierre teaches courses on climate change, hydrology, and geospatial technologies in the Department of Geography and in the Environmental Studies program. His research focuses on the impact of climate change on mountain glaciers in the high Andes of Ecuador, and its implications for downstream water supply there. You may see him and his students around campus flying a UAV (drone) in preparation for their glacier mapping fieldwork, which will be featured in a forthcoming BBC/PBS documentary series, Earth From Space. Jeff has previously visited Iceland on three occasions, and easily considers it one of his favorite places on Earth.

Professor MoodyKjerstin Moody, Associate Professor in Scandinavian Studies; Comparative Literature; and Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies
Associate Professor Kjerstin Moody teaches courses in English on contemporary Scandinavian literature, culture, and society, as well as courses in the Swedish language ranging from the beginning to the advanced levels in the Department of Scandinavian Studies. Her areas of academic interest and scholarship include contemporary Nordic poetry, women’s writing, and literatures of place. This is her ninth year at Gustavus, and the 2020 IEX course in Iceland will be her second time taking part in a study away course during Gustavus’s January Term.


Anticipated accommodations will include hotels and hostels.

Program Costs
The program fee will cover roundtrip flights from Minneapolis to Iceland, all lodging and local transportation in Iceland; two meals per day; supplemental accident and sickness insurance; and instruction, guides, activities, entrance fees and excursions. CICE estimates the final fee to be between $6,800 and $7,400 per student, depending upon final arrangements and and course enrollment. Students will be responsible for the cost of one meal per day and personal expenses. 


All Gustavus Adolphus College students who meet the general study away requirements are welcome to apply. The only prerequisites are a love of winter, a sense of adventure that doesn't dim when the weather turns rough, and a deep intellectual curiosity about culture and landscape.

Application Deadline
Students must complete the online application by May 1, 2019.


Entry visas and passports
U.S. citizens may enter Iceland without a visa for up to 90 days.  All students who are not U.S. citizens should contact Bryan Messerly to check about possible additional visa needs. All program participants must have a passport that is valid through at least July 31, 2020, by the start of Fall 2019 semester.

The information in this online brochure is subject to change. Please contact CICE with questions.

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This program is currently not accepting applications.