Roukema Center for International Education
Office of International Programs
Iceland: Social Programs for a Sustainable Future
Program Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
Term: Spring Break
Minimum GPA: 2.5
All Ramapo College students in good academic and judicial standing are eligible. Students of other U.S. colleges or universities are also eligible.
[Course Description] - "Youth in Iceland: Impact of Culture & Context on Substance Use Prevention" (INTL 130)
Substance use rates among Iceland youth were the highest in Europe until a comprehensive, research-informed behavioral addiction prevention program was enacted, which resulted in their rates of youth substance use to be the lowest in Europe. This faculty-led study abroad course will engage with the professionals engaged in the Youth in Iceland program that these successes have been attributed to affording a thorough understanding of the meaningful risk and protective factors. Strong predictive factors in Icelandic youth include: participating in organized activities at least three to four times per week, total time spent with parents during the week, feeling cared about in school, and not being outdoors in the late evenings. This course will review the research-based model adopted, how all parties including the youth and their families were engaged, and outcome data to support the program’s success. Students will meet with researchers, clinicians, and policy makers engaged in preventing behavioral addiction in Icelandic youth through visits to community-based programming, governmental agencies, and Reykjavik University
. Unique aspects of the program that contribute to its success are $500 stipends given to families to pay for extracurricular activities for their children, strong support from Icelandic government, built-in mechanisms to collect data on program effectiveness, and a foundation in science and theory. Also, while in Iceland, students will embark on a tour of the Golden Circle and the Northern Lights.
[Our course of study]
Students will gain cross-cultural experience in a country outside the USA for approximately one week and will learn about substance use prevention among youth in Iceland through visits with policy makers, youth centers and research institutions. Students will attend pre-departure orientation sessions to learn more about the country. During the program, reflect on their experiences in writing. After they return, students will present their findings to a public audience. Sample academic visits include:
There will be an extensive pre-departure orientation on culture, health, safety, as well as on- and off-campus meetings prior to the departure from the U.S.
Students will reside in a centrally-located hotel throughout the program.
[Cultural Activities & Excursions]
- Walking Tour of Reykavik: Begin in the old city center, seeing Parliament, the Cathedral, and City Hall by Tjornin. Visit a design store that
sells only the best of Icelandic design, representing over 200 Icelandic designers. The store is in the oldest house in Reykjavik, built in 1762. Continue walking to the Harbor area where you can taste an Icelandic mussel or other delicacy from the sea. From here, you can see Harpa, the concert hall. Walk over to the artsy street of Skolavoroustigur, featuring fashion stores and little galleries. At the top of the street is Hallgrimskirkja Church, Reykjavik’s most dramatic building.
- Vesturbæjarlaug or Laugardalslaug: Take a soak like the locals at a neighborhood swimming pool complex within walking distance of the city center,
with cold-plunge pool, geothermal pools of various temperatures, steam rooms, and saunas.
- The Settlement Exhibition: This open excavation in downtown Reykjavik uncovers the city's Viking Age history through a creative multimedia exhibit. Discovered during building work, then carefully excavated, these remnants of the past are the earliest evidence of human settlement in the city.
- National Museum of Iceland: The museum offers a variety of fascinating exhibitions and one permanent display illustrating lavishly the story of Iceland’s past, from the medieval days of Viking settlements to current contemporary culture.
- Northern Lights bus tour, venturing into the darkness of the countryside on a memorable “hunt” to spot the phenomenon
- Golden Circle Tour: Marvel at picturesque mountains and river valleys as you make your way to some of Iceland’s must-see natural sites. View the Langjökull Glacier from a distance. Next continue on to Thingvellir National Park, where long deep cracks, running from the northeast to the southwest, give the landscape the appearance of a crevassed glacier. The peaks of the national park are covered by snow amongst the country's largest lake, Lake Thingvallavatn. See the Gulfoss Waterfall, perhaps the most famous place to visit in Iceland. Its waters rush down a "staircase" and into a crevice from the wide Hvita River. Known as the Great Geysir, see the geyser (a word derived from the Icelandic verb geysa, "to gush") that is perhaps the first-ever discovered by Europeans.
- Free time to explore Reykavik
Program fee includes:
Program reading materials; round-trip international airfare; comprehensive health & security insurance; accommodations; some meals; excursions and entrance fees; in-country program transportation; 72-hour Reykjavik City Card (The City Card provides free access to city buses in the Reykjavik Capital Area, select city museums and galleries, all 8 thermal swimming pools in the city, and more); pre-departure and on-site orientations.
Program fee does not include:
Tuition for 2 credits*, US airport transfers; some meals; personal expenses and immunization costs.
*Since this course is part of the Spring term and your flat rate tuition (12-18 credits), if your enrolled classes including Iceland are at or below 18 total, you will have no additional tuition expense.
| Application Deadline
| Commitment &
$500 Deposit (non-refundable)
| Payment #1: $800
| Payment #2: $895
| Payment #3: $895
A late fee of $35 will be assessed for each payment not received by the payment deadlines communicated to you by the International Programs Office. Note: There will be a 3-day grace period before a late fee is assessed.
Professor Stephanie Sarabia,
For further information, contact:
The Roukema Center for International Education
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road - ASB123, Mahwah, NJ 07430 USA
Telephone: (201) 684-7533