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Study Icelandic

Learning Icelandic helps you integrate into society and increases access to employment opportunities.

Most new residents in Iceland are entitled to support for funding Icelandic lessons, for example through labour union benefits, unemployment benefits or social benefits.

If you are not employed, please contact the social service or the Directorate of Labour to find out how you can sign up for Icelandic lessons.

The Icelandic language

Icelandic is the national language in Iceland and Icelanders pride themselves in preserving their language. It is closely related to the other Nordic languages.

The Nordic languages are made of two categories: North Germanic and Finno-Ugric. The North Germanic category of languages includes Danish, Norwegian, Swedish and Icelandic. The Finno-Ugric category includes only Finnish. Icelandic is the only one that closely resembles old Norse which was spoken by the Vikings.

Learning Icelandic

Learning Icelandic helps you integrate into society and increases access to employment opportunities. Most new residents in Iceland are entitled to support for funding Icelandic lessons. If you are employed, you may be able to get the cost for Icelandic courses reimbursed through your labour union benefits. You need to contact your labour union (ask your employer which labour union you belong to) and enquire about the process and requirements.

The Directorate of Labour provides free Icelandic language courses for foreign nationals who are receiving social services benefits or unemployment benefits as well as those with refugee status. If you are receiving benefits and you are interested in learning Icelandic language, please contact your social worker or the Directorate of Labour for information about the process and requirements.

General courses

General courses on Icelandic Language are being offered by many and all around Iceland. They are taught on location or online.

Mímir  (Reykjavík)

The Mímir life learning centre offers a good range of courses and studies in the Icelandic language. You can choose from different difficulty levels throughout the year.

Múltí Kúltí language center  (Reykjavík)

Courses in Icelandic on six levels in moderate sized groups. Located close to the centre of Reykjavík, it´s possible to do courses there or online.

The Tin Can Factory  (Reykjavík)

Language school that offers various classes in Icelandic, with special emphasis on spoken language.

Retor  (Kópavogur)

Icelandic courses for Polish and English speakers.

Norræna Akademían  (Reykjavík)

Offers mainly courses for Ukrainian speakers

MSS – Miðstöð símenntunar á suðurnesjum  (Reykjanesbær)

MSS offers Icelandic courses on many levels. Focus on Icelandic for daily use. Courses offered all year round, also private lessons.

Saga Akademía (Reykjanesbær)

Language school that teaches in Keflavík and Reykjavík.

SÍMEY  (Akureyri)

The SÍMEY life learning centre is in Akureyri and offers Icelandic as a second language.

Fræðslunetið  (Selfoss)

Lifelong learning centre that offers courses in Icelandic for foreigners.

Austurbrú  (Egilsstaðir)

Lifelong learning centre that offers courses in Icelandic for foreigners.

The University of Akureyri

Every semester, The University of Akureyri offers a course in Icelandic for its exchange students and those who are seeking an international degree. The course gives 6 ECTS credits that can be counted towards a qualification studied for at another university.

University of Iceland  (Reykjavík)

If you want intensive courses and to master the Icelandic language, The University of Iceland offers a full BA programme in Icelandic as a second language.

Nordkurs  (Reykjavík)

The University of Iceland’s Árni Magnússon Institute, runs a summer school for Nordic students. It’s a four-week course on Icelandic language and culture.

The University Centre of the Westfjords

If you like to learn Icelandic at an exciting place in the countryside of Iceland, you might do it in Ísafjörður, a beautiful and friendly town in the remote Westfjords. Various courses, at various levels, are offered at the University centre every summer.

International summer school

Each year the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies, in cooperation with the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Iceland, organizes an International Summer School in Modern Icelandic Language & Culture.

Online courses

Studying online can be the only option for some, for example those who want to study the language before going to Iceland. Then it can simply be more convenient to study online in some cases, even if you are in Iceland.

Lóa Language School

The school offers online courses in Icelandic using fresh methods. “With LÓA, students study free of the stress which can accompany in-class courses, with a user-friendly interface developed in-house.”

Private lessons

Icelandic Study Online

Teaching using Zoom (program). “Focus on vocabulary, pronounciations and which sounds are left out when Icelandic is spoken fast.”

Private Icelandic Lessons

Taught by “a native speaker of Icelandic and a qualified teacher with several years’ experience of teaching languages in a variety of contexts.”

Self-study and online resources

It´s possible to find study material online, apps, books, videos, sound material and more. Even on Youtube you can find useful material and good advice. Here are some examples.

Icelandic online

Free online Icelandic language courses of various difficulty levels. Computer assisted language learning by The University of Iceland.

Play Iceland

Online Icelandic course. Free educational platform, a program consisting of two modules: Icelandic Language and Icelandic Culture.


“Personalized courses that teach you the words, phrases and grammar you need.”


“Pimsleur Method combines well-established research, most-useful vocabulary and a completely intuitive process to get you speaking right from the first day.”


“Free language learning for 50+ Languages.”


Study material. Four main study books plus study directions, sound material and extra material. Tungumálatorg also has made “TV episodes on the internet”, episodes of Icelandic lessons.

Youtube channels

All kinds of videos and good advice.

Fagorðalisti fyrir ferðaþjónustu

Dictionary of common words and phrases used in the tourism industry that can facilitate communication in the workplace.

Bara Tala

Note: At the moment this is only available for employers, not directly to individuals.

Lifelong learning centres

Adult education is offered by lifelong learning centres, unions, companies, associations, and others. Lifelong learning centres are operated in various locations in Iceland, offering wide variety of lifelong learning opportunities for adults. Their role is to strengthen the variety and quality of education and encourage general participation. All centres offer guidance for career development, training courses, Icelandic courses and assessment of previous education and working skills.

Many life learning centres, that are in various parts of Iceland, offer or arrange courses in Icelandic. Sometimes they are specially modified to fit staff of companies that directly contact the life learning centres.

Kvasir is an association of lifelong learning centres. Click the map on the page to find out where the centres are and how to contact them.

Learning Icelandic helps you integrate into society and increases access to employment opportunities.