UC Davis Summer Abroad


Status: Open

Info Session: 01/24/18, 1-2pm 
International Center 2119 
Facebook Invite

Thermodynamics in the Land of Fire and Ice

On Location


Students will live in cozy, wooden, Viking-themed cabins in a small fisherman’s village, on a relatively remote peninsula about 5 miles from downtown Reykjavik. Hlid is a beautiful waterside area near the President’s residence with rolling hills, golf, and much Viking history. A local bus system connects to downtown Reykjavik and students have the option of renting bikes for the month to assist with freedom of travel.

The community room nearby serves as the classroom and internet is available. Laundry services are limited, so students should only expect to do laundry once or twice on the duration of the program.

UC Davis reserves the right to change the accommodation location. Should this be necessary, we will arrange comparable lodging. Please note that elevators, air conditioners, and other modern conveniences may not be available in all locations.

Program Alumni Vlogs: Chase Hildeburn and Mason Bright

All breakfasts and dinners will be provided at a buffet facility near your housing in Hlid. Weekly lunches will be on your own. All meals are provided when on excursions and overnight trips. Food options are limited on the peninsula so students are encouraged to shop in Reykjavik to maximize food affordability and choice.

Food in Iceland is truly unique; learn more here. Vegetarian and vegan options are easily accessible.

Excursions and Day Trips

During the regular week, class meets in the mornings. Your afternoons are usually free, so students are welcome to take the local bus into downtown Reykjavik to explore or study.

The class will also take local and overnight excursions. Some of these include:

  • Hengill and Krafla geothermal powerplants
  • Field trip to aluminum manufacturing plant with Hydroelectric facilities
  • Þingvellir National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Natural excursions to see local wildlife
  • The Arctic circle to experience the midnight sun
  • Glaciers at Vatnajökull (formerly Skaftafell) National Park
  • Ice lagoon of Jökulsárlón
  • Lava flows at the Westmann Islands
  • Local museums on the history of Iceland

Students will also have the opportunity to participate in optional field trips to the Blue Lagoon, snorkeling, whale watching and many others (not included in program fees).

Study Abroad Advisory of Student Risk

Participation in this UC Davis Study Abroad program requires travel to and extended living in a foreign location(s) abroad. UC Davis Study Abroad endeavors to reduce and mitigate risk wherever possible.  However, the environments and risks associated with living in these locations are substantially different than those found during a regular course of study at UC Davis. All participants must download and review the following information prior to departure. Any questions should be directed to the Program Coordinator.

This program will require students to walk a lot (2-6 miles per day). Students are encouraged to speak with their Program Coordinator or the instructor if they are concerned about the physical requirements of the program.

Study Abroad General Risk Advisory

Program Specific Risk Advisories (PDF)

About Iceland

From Lonely Planet—Iceland:

Iceland is, literally, a country in the making – the natural elements work in harmony to power its veritable volcanic laboratory: geysers gush, mudpots gloop, Arctic gales swish along silent fjords, stone towers rise from the depths of an indigo sea, and glaciers grind their way through cracked lava fields and the merciless tundra. The sublime power of Icelandic nature turns the prosaic into the extraordinary. A dip in the pool becomes a soothing soak in a geothermal lagoon, a casual stroll can transform into a trek across a glittering ice cap, and a quiet night of camping means front-row seats to either the aurora borealis’ curtains of fire, or the soft, pinkish hue of the midnight sun.

Currency: Iceland Krona

Language Spoken: Icelandic

Weather and Climate

The summer in Iceland is cool, usually between 40-60 degrees Fahrenheit. It is not uncommon to experience wind and sometimes rain. Be prepared for the weather to vary throughout the day. The most noteworthy phenomenon about summer in Iceland is that the days are very long—in the North toward the Arctic Circle, the sun never sets in the sky. This is known as the Midnight Sun. Be prepared for long light days, even when very “late” at night.

Research Your Destination

Summer Abroad endeavors to provide you with as much accurate information as possible. However, information can change daily. It is your responsibility to become acquainted with your host country before your departure.

We have listed some good starting points for your personal research.