Iceland possesses some of the most bewilderingly beautiful landscapes in the world, not to mention a wealth of internship opportunities. With a humble population of only 320,000 people, the capital city of Reykjavik houses about 120,000 inhabitants and is one of the few larger cities of Iceland. Known as one of the safest countries in the world, as the police are regarded with the same trust and respect as the Coast Guard!
Types of Internships in Iceland
The stunning landscapes of Iceland can be attributed to the active volcanic and variety of geographic characteristics, which includes sand fields, endless mountain ranges and mesmerizing glaciers. The affluent natural resources and pristine surroundings lead to several organizations working to protect while at the same time sustainably cultivating the land. The Iceland School of Energy offers applicants access to potential internships at the top rated Icelandic energy companies. Internships focus on developing knowledge in professional, technical and practical skills related in the energy field. Another option for an environmentally related internship is through the Solheimar community, a southern Icelandic eco-village in Selfloss, that offers interns the experience of working on community based projects individually and in groups, practicing compassionate living and helping students exercise and understand environmental and community sustainability. Iceland Petroleum is another organization that offers internships to those interested in oil exploration and technical expertise in the oil industry, as interns will gain access to esteemed research facilities, a supervisor with extreme expertise in oil and even their own office!
Many of these environmental internships will be restricted to applicants with background in related fields, especially if the internship is technical or research based.
Iceland’s free market economy of Iceland also includes a low taxation rate, and despite the influence of the 2008 economic crisis, finance related internships are available in Reykjavik and a few of the other larger cities. AIESEC is available in Iceland and is a great way to connect internationally and for interns to explore their collaborative business skills and beginning to build their career in their desired business or networking related field. If you are interested in business and finance internships, there are other countries such as Luxembourg or Estonia that have more potential opportunities.
Community and tradition is important in Iceland, both local and international, and there are internships that range from being an au pair to managing marketing for large companies. Kingsbrook USA Inc connects students with families in Iceland to work as an Au Pair, allowing them first hand experience living in the city of Reykjavik and developing their cultural awareness. Several marketing internships in Iceland are available through various organizations big and small, two of which are Dohop ehf, an online search engine for flights to Reykjavik Backpackers, a youth hostel in the capital city.
Iceland is teeming with opportunities to contribute to the cultural community, from design to global initiatives for peace to outdoor internships that showcase the Icelandic spirit through the external beauty of its land. SEEDS, a non-governmental and non-profit volunteer organization focuses on the promotion of cultural understand, environmental protection and fostering awareness through a variety of social, cultural and environmental, projects in Iceland, offers internships that range between three and twelve months and help interns to develop networking skills, explore Icelandic and other global cultures and working on abilities in peacemaking and initiatives in social and environmental service. If you are more into visual culture, the Icelandic Design Centre offers internships that develop event production experience and open the door into the competitive and highly evolving Icelandic design scene. If being outdoors is your passion, Artic Adventures features internships where participants explore the city of Reykjavik through outdoor activities and work on honing their skills in marketing and content management.
Living in Iceland
Iceland is not one of the cheaper countries in the world, so a safe amount of Icelandic króna to budget per month is about 125,000 ISK, as housing alone will run you about 50,000 ISK per month, minimum. If you are planning to stay in Iceland for a few months, it is recommended to open a bank account so that you can have a debit card at your disposal, and many banks provide the option to place your money in a foreign currency account. In order to do this you will need an Icelandic ID number and your passport or ID card. Since the Nordics are known for their zealous usage of credit and debit cards, the majority of shops and restaurants you will attend have already included the service fee in the final card total and thus there is no need to tip.
Transportation wise, the majority of Icelanders utilize cars since public transportation is considerably under developed and there are no railroads connecting the country, leaving people to result to using planes when traveling to other further areas. If you are not planning on having your own car, most of Iceland’s transportation infrastructure is located in the Greater Reykjavik area, since this is where the majority of the population resides.
Permits and documentation
Nordic citizens gain privileges of being able to study, work and live in Iceland without extra cost, just remember that upon arrival you must register at the Registers Iceland. Since Iceland is a Schengen country, EU citizens have a relatively easy process when it comes to visiting, but are subject to certain regulations. If your intended stay is longer than three months, EU citizens are required to obtain a residence permit, and if your intention is employment it is possible to stay in Iceland for six months without a work permit as long as you have a residence permit.
Non-EU citizens have various rules to adhere by and should consult their host organization about the proper documentation that they will need to ensure their legal stay in Iceland. Your visa application will take about 90 days, and you will not be admitted into the country prior to your approved visa. Those coming from non-EEA countries and regions such as Central & South America, Romania, Bulgaria, Africa, and Asia are required to bring with them a valid medical certificate, however countries such as New Zealand, Switzerland, USA, Australia and Canada are exceptions to this medical examination.
Regardless of your origin, if your host organization has you entering Iceland under the classification of ‘study’, you will be required to register your residence, acquire an Icelandic ID number and make a visit to municipal office with your passport, letter of acceptance and if required based on your origin country, a residence permit. It is possible to apply for your ID number prior to arriving in Iceland because some programs require the number for registration.
Medical insurance is required, either from your country of origin as long as it is valid in Iceland, or you can obtain insurance through a local provider, but you must establish residency for six months prior to applying. Having insurance is mandatory if you are interested in applying for a student visa, which some organizations that you may intern with will recommend that you apply for student visa instead of a working visa. For European citizens carrying European Health Insurance Cards, make sure to bring this card and your passport whenever visiting a doctor as this is your valid insurance. EEA country citizens will actually receive medical treatment at no extra cost, given the urgency of the treatment, while on a temporary visit to Iceland.