Iceland is the land of Fire (volcanoes), Ice (glaciers) and extraordinarily resilient cultures. Our course is for any student interested in exploring the relationships between humans and their environments through art, business, culture, education, science, sustainability and technology. The course will discover how environmental conditions contribute toward a culture’s ceremonies, food preferences, mythologies, and sense of place. Our diverse environments play a major role in how are lives are shaped. Moreover, we will investigate how humanity's actions may have positive and/or negative environmental impacts. This course will track how many Icelandic and Scandinavian cultural traits persist to this day in the United States. Like the Vikings before us, we will explore Iceland and learn from one of Earth’s most beautiful landscapes that contains glaciers, Northern Lights, volcanoes, as well as some of humanity’s best environmental sustainability practices.
Students who are completing the Liberal Arts Core can participate to fulfill their Capstone credit requirement. Students who have switched from the Liberal Arts Core to UNIFI can participate to fulfill a course in the Responsibility learning area. In either case, students will be enrolled into their study abroad course by Study Abroad Center staff.
Chad Heinzel, Professor
Department: Earth & Environmental Sciences
Campus Address: LAT 116
Chad has traveled to Sicily and southern Italy over 20 summers, conducting research and leading undergraduate to graduate student field schools. He loves sharing his passion for international education with students.
One of Chad's favorite quotes: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it." - Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
Students who are completing the Liberal Arts Core can participate to fulfill their Capstone credit requirement. Students who have switched from the Liberal Arts Core to UNIFI can participate to fulfill a course in the Responsibility learning area. In either case, students will be enrolled into their study abroad course by Study Abroad Center staff. Please see the two course options below:
OPTION 1: Starting the New UNIFI General Education Requirements?
Take EarthSci 3336: Natural Resources and Civilizations (3 credit hours)
This course works to fulfill the RESPONSIBILITY category.
Introduction to the interactions and relationships between humans and natural resources: stone, clay, soil, water and plants. Geoarchaeological, historical and current events from Europe, the Mediterranean and to the Rocky Mountains.
No prerequisites. All majors welcome. Students attending colleges and universities other than UNI are welcome to participate in this program. If you are not currently a UNI student, but would like to participate in this program, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
OPTION 2: Finishing your Liberal Arts Core (LAC)?
Take CAP 3140: Environment, Technology, and Society (2 credit hours) + EarthSci 3410: Field Studies in Icelandic Environmental Sustainability (1 credit hour)
Explore the relationships between humans and their environments through art, business, culture, education, science, sustainability and technology. Discover how environmental conditions contribute toward a culture’s ceremonies, food preferences, mythologies, and sense of place. Investigate how humanity's actions may have positive and/or negative environmental impacts. To view a tentative syllabus, click HERE
All majors are welcome. Students attending colleges and universities other than UNI are welcome to participate in this program. If you are not currently a UNI student, but would like to participate in this program, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
Notes regarding the capstone course option:
-- In order to receive Capstone credit, program participants must have completed 60 credits hours prior to the program s course start date (i.e. be of Junior standing). Students who participate in capstone programs without meeting the credit hour prerequisite will receive elective credit. In this instance, students should consult with their academic advisor(s) regarding how the elective credit fits into their specific plans of study.
-- Capstone courses cannot be repeated. If you have previously taken this capstone course, please contact the UNI Study Abroad Center prior to starting your program application.
Tentative Program Dates: Monday, January 2, 2023 (class meetings start) - Monday, January 16, 2023 (class meetings end)
Sample itinerary is subject to change. Note: Students arrange their own housing and meals while participating in the on-campus component. The cost of housing and meals while participating in the on-campus component is NOT factored in the program's cost estimate.
Day 1: Class meeting prior to travel on the UNI campus. Explore Nordic and Icelandic Resources and Civilizations through discussions, readings and activities. Students arrange their own housing and meals while participating in the on-campus component.
Day 2: Travel to Rockford, Illinois, for overnight stay. Visit Nordic Culture Center of Rockford.
Day 3: Drive to Chicago O'Hare Airport for group flight to Reykjavík, Iceland. Overnight flight; arrive the next morning.
Day 4: Arrive in Reykjavík, the capital of Iceland. Reykjavík city tour.
Day 5: Visit National Museum of Iceland and learn about Icelandic culture and society over the past 1200 years as well as the Punk Museum in Bankastræti. You will also visit Reykjavík CrossFit for a 1 hour CrossFit class. Group dinner in evening.
Day 6: Today you will be exploring volcanic activity and deposits in the area. Discover the amazing geological features of Reykjanes Peninsula, a UNESCO Geopark. Travel along the coast and take a walk on the Bridge between Continents. Here you can see the Mid-Atlantic ridge that divides the North American and European tectonic plates. Iceland is the only place on Earth where the ridge can be seen on land. End the day at the Blue Lagoon, Iceland's famous geothermally-heated spa.
Day 7: Activities and lectures from University of Reykjavík Faculty and Students; Northern Lights Tour, if conditions are favorable
Day 8: This Golden Circle day tour includes the most popular natural wonders of Iceland: Þingvellir National Park, Gullfoss waterfall and Geysir geothermal area.
Located in a rift valley where the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates meet, Þingvellir is also the site of the world’s oldest democratic parliament, founded in 930 A.D. Next, visit to the famous Geysir geothermal area and its bubbling springs and hot mud pots. The most active geyser of the area is Strokkur, erupting up to 30 m (98 feet) high every 7-10 minutes. Strokkur is surrounded by many other small and interesting bubbling geysers and mud pots. Only a few minutes’ drive from Geysir is Gullfoss, the Golden Waterfall, one of the most impressive waterfalls in Europe. Thousands of tons of water from a glacial river thunder down into a canyon from two different levels of ledges. One ledge is 11m (36 feet) high, and the other is 21 m (69 feet). Next, visit Friðheimar: Organic Greenhouse Farm where you can see how vegetables are grown using Iceland’s geothermal energy. Continue from Golden Circle to the South part of Iceland. If the skies are clear, you’ll have a view of two famous volcanoes. Beautiful Mt. Hekla is Iceland’s most frequently erupting volcano (last eruption in year 2000). Eyjafjallajökull’s 2010 eruption halted international air traffic. The volcano will be visible from your accommodation Hellishólar on a clear day. If the group is lucky and the conditions are favorable you may have an opportunity to see northern lights tonight. Group dinner in evening.
Day 9: South Shore: Seljalandsfoss, Eyjafjallajökull , Skógafoss , Skógar museum
The first stop is at Seljalandsfoss, a ribbon-shaped waterfall you can walk behind if trail conditions are just right. Visit breathtaking Skógafoss, one of Iceland’s most photographed waterfalls. Nearby is the local Skógar museum. Here you can see buildings and objects that show how Icelanders lived in the countryside over the last few centuries. Pass by the Dyrhólaey headland with its sheer cliffs and onwards to Reynisfjara, where you can take a walk on the beach. You can also get a view of the Reynisdrangar rocks, located 66 meters (215 feet) above sea level. A packed lunch is included for this day trip. Return to Reykjavík for the remainder of your stay.
Day 10: Reykjavík Free Day. Northern Lights Tour in evening, if conditions are favorable
Day 11: Reykjavík Iceland Renewable Energy Cluster, Hellisheiði Power Station, Carbfix reinjection well
Iceland is the only Western country that produces all its electricity from sustainable natural resources in the form of geothermal and hydro-electric power. Today, you will visit with representatives from the Geothermal Research Cluster to learn about their roles in researching and developing of geothermal resources. Next, visit Hellisheiði Power Station, located on an active volcanic ridge, for an overview of how geothermal energy is processed from hot water and a private guided tour through the plant. Next, you will have an in-depth lecture in a conference room in Hellisheidi Power plant on Carbfix. It is not only trees and vegetation that bind carbon from the atmosphere. Huge quantities of carbon are naturally stored in rocks. Carbfix stands for Carbon Fixation. The process was developed to help nature re-balance the carbon cycle by imitating and accelerating natural storage of CO2 in favorable rock formations. After your lecture, watch a security video and put on helmets and vests before driving to the Carbfix reinjection well. Get an in-depth explanation of the process.
Day 12: Fly home; travel from Chicago to the UNI campus. Students arrange their own housing and meals.
Day 13: Class meeting. Recap experience abroad and introduction to Nordic cultures in the USA and the Meskwaki Nation. Students arrange their own housing and meals.
Day 14: Day trip to the Meskwaki Settlement. Return to campus in evening. Students arrange their own housing and meals.
Day 15: Day trip to Decorah, Iowa. Activities at the National Norwegian-American Museum and Folk Art School, followed by a group dinner to end the course. (Note, the spring semester starts the next day)
Important information to review:
- Review the roles of the Advisee and the Advisor under the main menu Get Started
Entry and Exit Requirements
- Review and follow the travel recommendations of the CDC for Iceland as well as International Travel
- Monitor appropriate websites for updates and information about COVID or other emergencies before departing and while in the destination country. The U.S. Embassy in Iceland provides updates that can be found on their website
Housing & Meals
Students will stay in hotels arranged by the Study Abroad Center while outside of Iowa. The cost of these hotels are included in the "Program Cost" line item of the program cost estimate. A few meals are built into the "Program Cost" (example: all breakfasts at hotels and 4 additional group meals in Iceland). Students will pay for the remaining meals out-of-pocket while traveling and are encouraged to try the local foods.
Part of the course will be based on campus. While on campus, students will arrange their own housing and meals. The cost of housing and meals while participating in the on-campus component is NOT factored in the program's cost estimate.
Capstone/UNIFI in Iceland - Winter
Estimated Program Cost:
* estimated total cost of participation, actual amount depends on type of housing accommodation selected, actual airfare purchase price, personal spending habits, and other factors
Cost of studying on-campus*
*per semester, estimated, will vary per person
Tuition & Fees:
Room & Board:
Dates & Deadlines
Eligibility Requirements to Study Abroad
The Study Abroad Center reserves the right to determine participants' eligibility to Study Abroad. Students must have a completed study abroad application, including supportive recommendation form(s). Additionally, students must meet all of the following in order to be eligible to Study Abroad:
- Have a cumulative 2.5 GPA or higher at the time of application and maintain this cumulative GPA prior to departure and throughout the study abroad process
- If your cumulative GPA is lower than 2.5, submit the following to the Study Abroad Center (103 East Bartlett):
- Letters of reference from two academic contacts (e.g. academic advisor and former or current professor) supporting your pursuit of study abroad. If you are attending a faculty-led study abroad program, one of the letters must be from a course leader. However, if the program has two course leaders, only one of the letters can be from one of the course leaders.
- Must be over the age of 18 years old
- Must meet the course prerequisites (participation in the program is dependent upon meeting these)
- Must be in good standing with the University
- UNI's partner institutions may require additional eligibility requirements to be met, these vary from institution to institution. Please consult with the Study Abroad Center staff to discuss these additional requirements, if applicable.
- Applicants traveling to a region of a country or a country with an overall Travel Advisory Level 3 (Reconsider Travel) or 4 (Do Not Travel) will not be eligible.
- All study abroad applicants must pass the Study Abroad Applicant Assessment with a score of 70% or greater.
- Applicants may be selected for an in-person interview before being accepted. Selection for an interview does not guarantee acceptance into the program. You will be contacted directly by the Study Abroad Center if selected for an interview.