Iceland is a small Nordic country, an island republic in the North Atlantic, between the U.S. and the European mainland. Iceland is technologically advanced, English is widely spoken and Americans find Icelandic society and culture relatively easy to navigate.
There has been tremendous growth in academia in Iceland in recent years. On the one hand, the Fulbright Program aims, through teaching grants, to enhance and develop key disciplines at the university level and encourage newer and smaller departments. Being a small country, it is very important to the Icelandic higher education system to have access to Fulbright Scholars who have an important role to play in terms of broadening curricula and offering courses that would otherwise not be available, as well as bringing new perspectives in research. Fulbright Scholars make a real difference and have a large role in shaping courses and curricula. On the other hand, the goal is to strengthen Arctic research in Iceland and promote cooperation amongst scientists in a wide variety of Arctic fields.
Fulbright scholars are generally pleased with their stay in Iceland and find it very useful for their careers back home.
For those grants where Fulbright Scholars are expected to teach and advise, the program is designed to ensure an opportunity for scholars to do their own research as well. Iceland provides very interesting research opportunities in many fields. As a small, highly technologically advanced country, Iceland is ideal for many types of research. English is widely spoken and much used in academia. Scholars can generally expect good access to people, institutions and information for research purposes. Usually, U.S. scholars so inclined can easily find Icelandic colleagues eager to collaborate on research.
Those who receive Arctic research grants will certainly have opportunities to engage in teaching, if they so desire. They are required to present some lectures and talks while in Iceland.
Teaching awards are for three to five months in the fall or spring semester. The fall semester starts at the end of August and ends around mid-December. The spring semester is from early January through mid- to late-May. Research awards are more flexible in terms of timeframe and length, but must be completed within the allotted timeframe.
Iceland has spectacular nature and offers scholars an opportunity for unique outdoor experiences, in addition to a vibrant cultural scene and a cuisine that has been gaining international recognition. There is a good public school system, and scholars with children have generally had positive experiences.
Since the Fulbright Program in Iceland is relatively small, the Commission is able to maintain close ties with scholars during their stay and provide a sense of community among Fulbright Scholars. There are monthly grantee activities sponsored by the Commission, in addition to access to Fulbright alumni events and other social activities.