Iceland is a country where society places great importance in the freedom and equality of its citizenry. It consistently ranks very highly when looking at quality of life, equality and democracy and is one of the highest-ranking countries in the world for healthcare and education.
As for nightlife, Iceland may be tranquil by day but come Saturday night the streets come alive. The cafes transform into bars and clubs playing everything from house to heavy metal, the entertainment lubricated with an abundance of quality craft beer.
You’ll find that living in Iceland makes for a vibrant and fulfilling experience. From the beautiful sights a short walk into the countryside can offer, to the friendly and welcoming communities of students and residents, there are many reasons international students love Iceland.
Culture and tourism
Iceland is a country of rich and varied culture, and the birthplace of many historical writers, responsible for penning the Icelandic sagas, the root of the country’s literary renown. These sagas are prose epics set during the Viking settlement of the country, as well as the settlement of Greenland.
The Icelandic people are proud of their history and are careful to preserve the traditions and language of their Viking heritage. Many of the words in the modern Icelandic language are still very close to the Old Norse spoken many centuries ago.
Tourism represents an important component of the Icelandic economy with the now booming industry showing little sign of slowing. Many are attracted to the country by its stunning landscapes, waterfalls and volcanoes as well as the opportunity for whale watching off the coast of the island or the possibility of seeing the northern lights.
Sports and leisure
Iceland is a healthy nation with much of the population participating in various types of sport or leisure activity of some kind. Football, athletics, handball and basketball are all very popular as are rock climbing, swimming and hiking.
As testament to their love of sport, Iceland became in 2018 the smallest nation in terms of population to reach the finals of the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Food and drink
Although food is not what necessarily springs to mind first when you think of Iceland, it is nevertheless quite delicious. Traditionally Icelandic food was high in meat fish and cereals. Icelandic fish especially is superb although delicacies like rotted shark might be worth steering clear of unless you’re feeling particularly brave.
If traditional Icelandic foods aren’t to your taste, don’t worry as you’ll find everything from Mexican to Chinese inspired restaurants in the larger towns.
You’ll also find the cities and many of the larger towns have a definite café culture, with a good deal of Icelanders firmly hooked on coffee. In fact, in some supermarkets thermoses of coffee are provided for customers to help themselves.
If you’re in the market for something a bit stronger, you’ll find alcohol can be quite expensive, and, with the exception of beer, the only place to buy alcohol is in licenced bars and restaurants or state-owned liquor stores.