Natural and Cultural History in Iceland
Est. lab fee: $3,000
Led by Pavel Cenkl, Dean of Academics
The interweaving of place, language, and culture in remote Iceland.
Situated just south of the Arctic Circle, which skirts its northern shoreline, Europe’s western-most country, Iceland, presents opportunities to explore uniquely interwoven cultural, literary, and natural landscapes. Life Under the Glacier is a three-week journey that includes an extended stay in Iceland’s most remote region, Vestfirðir, the Westfjords, an area a bit less than half the size of Vermont with a population of 7,500. Life Under the Glacier is open to non-Sterling students - please contact faculty advisor Pavel Cenkl for program details or the Sterling admissions office for application information.
This interdisciplinary experience consists of three components, including a language-intensive at the University Centre of the Westfjords in Ísafjörður; home-stays with families in the Westfjords, a remote region with small villages that continue to be integrated with fishing and farming; and, finally, the opportunity to travel through some of the more remote areas of Iceland – including the central highlands around Skaftafell National Park and the East Fjords near Egilsstadir – all the while developing our skills with language, culture, and literary history to supplement our understanding of the singular nature and culture of Iceland.
Throughout our foray into the far reaches of the Westfjords, Highlands, and Eastfjords and the cosmopolitan center of Reykjavik, we will trace the connections between traditional Norse sagas, poetry, and oral traditions and contemporary Icelandic society. The interweaving of place, language, and culture is apparent in Iceland even in today’s popular music and poetry.