Ramapo College in ICELAND
Learn about the formal structures and community approaches to supporting youth in Iceland.
Nothing looks better on your resume than the unique experience of living and learning in other global contexts.
Affordable. This program provides an incredible experience at a very affordable price, and there are scholarships available.
Ramapo College has been offering educational experiences to Iceland since 2022. Currently, we are offering the following program opportunities:
Global Clinical Social Work in Iceland: Social Programs to Reduce Youth Substance Use
2 credits (undergraduate) / 3 credits (graduate), 8 days
The program is designed to provide students of many disciplines the opportunity to participate in this program. Undergraduate students will enroll in INTL 130: Global Field Experience, Youth in Iceland: Impact of Culture & Context on Substance Use Prevention (2 credits). Graduate students will enroll in a 3-credit graduate independent study course.
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.
The program will include the following field excursions, to both complement the academic course, as well as provide insights into the culture and context of Iceland, and the region:
- Icelandic Centre for Social Research and Analysis (ICSRA) – Icelandic Model to Prevent Teenage Substance Abuse
- Youth Centre – Family and Adolescent Welfare in Iceland
- The City Hall – Community Education and Awareness of Environmental and Social Risk Factors
- 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.
- Visit to Perlan Expedition Center, including Wonders of Iceland, Real indoors ice cave, 360° Observation deck, Water in Icelandic nature exhibition and Áróra – Northern Lights Planetarium Show. (Summer-only programs)
- Northern Lights bus tour, venturing into the darkness of the countryside on a memorable “hunt” to spot the phenomenon (Winter-only programs)
- 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
Students will reside in centrally-located hotels. All breakfasts are included, as well as some additional meals.