Foreign exchange students learn about Icelandic society, history, and culture

Unique atmosphere in Siglufjörður
Foreign exchange students learn about Icelandic society, history, and culture

The course Icelandic Society, History and Culture focuses on the development of Icelandic society, culture, and history from settlement of Iceland to present time. The course is taught in English and is available for foreign exchange students. Special emphasis is on the Commonwealth era, the struggle for independence, and the making of modern Iceland. The course is supervised by Ingibjörg Sigurðardóttir, adjunct the Faculty of Social Sciences and Páll Björnsson, professor of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Every autumn, students in the course spend time in Tröllaskagi, where they visit places with a guiding such as Glaumbær, Hólar and The Herring Era Museum.

Gábor Farkas, an exchange student at UNAK, is particularly happy with the course. “I love the course. It is so interesting, and it makes it more special to hear Iceland’s history from an Icelandic historian. I have learned a lot from this course already. So far, we are studying about Icelandic history and society. From October we will learn about Icelandic literature,” Gábor says.

Last September 15th, the field trip around Tröllaskagi was on the agenda. “We took a private bus, and our first stop was at Glaumbær, the old turf farmhouse and museum. These turf houses are so unique. I have never seen anything like these houses. The second stop was Hólar. The bishop of Hólar showed us around the cathedral and his office. After that we had some free time to look around Hólar. Some students had lunch, and other students walked around the area. Our las stop was Siglufjörður where we visited The Herring Era Museum. Honestly, I thought it would be a boring museum, but that was not the case. So far this has been my favourite museum in Iceland. Everybody loved the museum,” Gábor says.When asked what stood out, Gábor says: “It is hard to point out one programme, because all of them were fun and interesting, but I would say my favourite programme was going to Siglufjörður. The Herring Era Museum was outstanding. I got to learn a lot of new things, for example the story of the herring girls. After the museum I could look around the town. I loved the atmosphere of that fishing town; I really hope I can return at least once to Siglufjörður.”

Gábor comes from Budapest, Hungary. “My first impression of the University of Akureyri was good. The International Office was really helpful and answered all my questions. UNAK has interesting courses for Erasmus students. I chose Iceland because I wanted to go to a country which is vastly different from Hungary in regards to culture and weather. I also really miss snow. In Budapest we do not really have snow anymore,” says Gábor.