If one would have told me that one day, I’d be living in Iceland, I wouldn’t have believed it, yet here I am. Monday, I start my new Master in Coastal and Marine Management at the university Centre in Westfjords. I live in the village “Ísafjörður” a town in the Westfjords region of Northwest Iceland. It’s known for its dramatic landscapes. The population of 1700 habitants. I’ll be here for a year at the very least.
Although, this was not my first choice and I am sad about the whole situation, I’ve made peace with the fact that sometimes, life has different plans. Having no desire to return to Canada, I spent the summer in Turkey, relaxing as much as possible and then backpacking with my mom for 24 days. From Istanbul to Cappadocia to the Mediterranean and crossing to the Greeks Islands and flying from Athens. I went back to London and my mom flew home. London was chaotic because of the transport strikes, but I managed to buy everything I needed for my year abroad.
Iceland is the 4th most expensive country to live in the world. Since I know you are wondering what are the first three: Bermuda, Switzerland, and Norway. Let’s just say, I had to readjust my previous budget as everything is much more expensive than Russia. Also living in a small town makes things more expensive as there isn’t much choice. Why did I choose Iceland?
- I wanted to continue my studies in the Arctic Field
- I love winter and want to live close to the Arctic
- I like to have different experience and living in a small town is definitively one
- This program is part of the Universities of Arctic so I can get my courses taken in Russia credited and finish next year as planned
- The landscape is just amazingly beautiful
Nowadays, everything can be sorted online so I was able to organize my move from a distance. After my acceptance into the program, I found a place to live with three other roommates from France (Nathan; 22), Germany (Elisa; 33), and Russia (Sonja; 28). We live in a big old house that was renovated and we are the first guess. We are all in the same program and we go to school together. I’ve met the other classmate that are from all over the world, there is approx. 30 of us (20 in Coastal and Marine Management program and 10 from the Coastal Communities and Regional Development. We’ve just spent two days getting to know each other and the directors.
I have given my transcript from my past year to the administrator. I will start writing my thesis in January and graduating in September. I don’t know what I’ll do once I finish my degree, I’ll see what opportunities arise. I will be continuing my Russian private lessons as they are online. I had the opportunity to meet with my teacher in Moscow last June as she was visiting her family.
Slowly settling in, our landlord found us a car as there is no transport and my roommate and I want to go skiing/snowboarding this winter. It also gives us the opportunity to travel around to other villages and explore this beautiful country.
Example of prices in Canadian dollars:
- Rent 650$ per month for my room
- Sim card with 1GB – 20$
- Beer in a bar 13$
- Main meal in a restaurant excluding drinks: 30$
- Oat milk (1 liter) 4$
- Minced Meat 500g 12-13$
- Gym membership 100$ per month
- Loaf of white bread 6$
- 12 eggs 6$
- Blueberries 10$
- Skyr 1 kg 6$ (this is actually cheap)
- Toaster 50-70$
- 1 plastic container 15$
- Detergent 15$ (30 pods)
- Toilet paper (8 rolls) 7$
My roommates tried to wake me up yesterday, but I didn’t hear them knocking my door. I missed the Northern Lights.. I really hope I get to see them this year.