Iceland IMSA
(GMT+00:00) Casablanca, Monrovia, Reykjavik
Icelandic króna
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Iceland (IMSA) - Reykjavik

Jóhann Hauksson
Guðrún Karlsdóttir
We welcome every medical student to Iceland, the land of contrasts, the land of fire and ice.
We can proudly say that students staying with us in Iceland have been very pleased with their stay. We have English speaking doctors and since our hospitals are all university hospitals, there is an atmosphere of teaching fellow colleagues. There are planned case sessions for young doctors and students a few times a week and the availability of specialists and young doctors is quite good for learning. We have provided fine accommodation in a student house in Reykjavik where all the exchange students get to stay together to make it easier for them to get to know each other. The students have also been quite happy with our social program which is better described below. We have weekly coffee/bar meetings after hospital hours where the committee meets with the exchange students to see if everything is going smoothly. We also meet with the students regularly since we throw parties every weekend or trips.
Iceland is a Nordic European island country situated at the confluence of the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. The country has a population of about 320,000 and a total area of 103,000 km2 (40,000 sq mi), which makes it the most sparsely populated country in Europe. The capital and largest city is Reykjavík, with the surrounding areas in the southwestern region of the country being home to two-thirds of the country's population. Iceland is volcanically and geologically active. The interior consists mainly of a plateau characterized by sand and lava fields, mountains and glaciers, while many glacial rivers flow to the sea through the lowlands. Iceland is warmed by the Gulf Stream and has a temperate climate despite a high altitude just outside the Arctic Circle.

Icelandic people are quite proud of their health care system, which is thought to be one of the best in the world. All major operations are in general free for Icelandic people as well as foreigners living here or traveling since our government takes care of this and issues of insurance are quite good here. Getting service at the hospital only requires a minimum cost of a few thousand Icelandic kronas.

We have two hospitals in Reykjavik. They're both owned by the government and are University hospitals. There's the Landspitali at Hringbraut and Landspitali at Fossvogur which are both close to the center. They have different departments so we usually have students at both hospitals every summer.

Landspitali Hringbraut with the huge church, Hallgrímskirkja, in the back.

Landspítali Hringbraut

Landspitali Fossvogur
Landspítali Fossvogur

Icelandic students can start medical studies after finishing high school, which people usually finish at 20 years old. The medical faculty only admits 48 persons per year for all of Iceland and the students have to take an exam in the summer before studies to get admitted. Hence the top 48 students get in every year. The studies are 6 years. The first 3 years are mostly pre-clinical classes and the later 3 years are clinical. The teaching mostly takes place in the hospitals the last 3 yeras as it is both classes and clinical work. In our final year the students have 2 months of "free" period where people can go wherever they want and work as medical students, in Iceland or abroad. They find a project and get it evaluated by the medical faculty. After students' 4th year they can work as assistant doctors in the hospitals and after finishing their 5th year many students go out to the country side to relieve doctors in the smaller towns of Iceland for the summer, working at clinics all around Iceland.
There are buses from the airport that drive almost directly to the student's accommodation.
Their contact person will show them where the hospital is and their department.
We're proud of our social program which has been really good these last years. Every week we have a bar night downtown and have a couple of drinks together. Then we have a weekend trip where we camp in one of the beautiful sites in Iceland or rent a summer house. Example of the places we have visited during this trip recently are the Westman Islands, Landmannalaugar, Snæfellsnes and Skaftafell. We also take the students on a one day trip where we sometimes go to the Golden Circle which includes Thingvellir National Park, Gullfoss (the great waterfall) and Geysir (where the geysers are, which the international word for erupting hot water springs is derived from) but it depends on the students' wishes. Then we also plan an International evening (usually a Saturday night) where every student and the people of IMSIC prepare a meal typical for their country. Then everyone gets to taste the food (and beverages) of different countries, but that evening has always been really fun since we have been having people from all over the world doing electives in Reykjavik. Please note that the schedule you will get sent in the spring is a draft and dates may change since we try to choose dates when most of the students can go and when people in the committee or contact persons are available. 

Price estimate for the weekend trip is about 100 EUR. That includes 2 nights stay somewhere in Iceland, 2 dinners, transportation and a lot of fun!

Weekend trip to Snæfellsnes in July 2015.

Seljalandsfoss, August 2016 group:

Hot spring, July group 2016
Hot spring

Going to Reykjadalur hot spring, August group 2016


Gullfoss and Geysir

Thermal pools (in Reykjavik)

Reykjavik's night life

Blue Lagoon
Blue Lagoon

Harpan (music hall)

Small countryside/fishing villages purely existance because of our giving fishing grounds

Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon

Thermal steam baths

Whale watching
Whale watching

Thingvellir national park(One of Iceland's two UNESCO world heritage site(and Game of Thrones filming location)
Thingvellir National Park

Gay pride parade in August

Seljalandsfoss (a beautiful waterfall)

Must see video:

Icelandic culture is very similar to Western Europe and there are no major cultural difficulties we have come upon. The majority of Icelanders are part of the national Christian Church but we also have a community of Muslims and Catholics. We have around 30 thousand Polish immigrants as well as smaller number of immigrants from Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines. There is very little, if any, prejudice or violence for example against homosexuals or different ethnic or religious groups.

Below you can see a picture of Jón Gnarr taking active part in the Gay Pride day. He was the mayor of Reykjavík when this photo was taken:

Gay Pride
Cost of living is pretty high in Iceland in comparison with many countries. Check out this calculator to compare prices to your home country:

We welcome you to Iceland and are looking forward to seeing you :)