Are Icelandic people nice?

Hi guys!

I am a Medicine student in Heidelberg (Germany) and I am considering the possibility of doing an internship in the hospital, in the capital city.

I would like to know some expats' opinions about Icelandic people: are they nice? Do they like talking to foreigners? In general, is it likely that I'll make friend if I stay for just a short period of time (2-3 months tops)?

Thank you,

I'd say Icelanders are nice but it takes a while to get to know them. I'm not sure what it's like to work in a hospital, how outgoing you are, or what living situation you're looking into, but it took me a lot longer than 2-3 months to make real friends with any Icelanders.  The ones I'm friends with now are all people who I've worked with for years, or lived abroad and know what it's like to be new in a different society.

Germans, however, seem to be very good at meeting other Germans while they're here. You can also of course try to meet more locals by participating in as many non-work activities as possible, such as sports groups, musical activities and the like. If you can connect with some student life, I'm sure you'll meet people that way too.

As to whether they like talking to foreigners, I remember having a lot of conversations at the beginning with people who were curious what it was REALLY like where I'm from, since they'd all seen lots of movies from America. Based on my experience in Germany, I don't think the locals are any more or less excited to speak to foreigners. The language issue was for me at least less in Iceland since people here speak better English than Germans (or are more excited to practice), for the most part.

of course, all bets are off when it comes to a weekend downtown. Then, everyone wants to talk to you and they're all super nice, if inebriated.


Thank you for your reply!

Well, I'm quite outgoing and open, I would say. I have spent a lot of summers doing language-courses abroad and I rarely stayed for more than 6 weeks. I managed to make friends, though. With some of them I am still in contact after years, and we meet when we happen to be in the same part of Europe ;-)

Still, there were some differences between places. In Greece, for example, I found people much more open and willing to start conversation than, for instance, in Germany.
I also found Ucranian people more inclined to make friends than Russian people.

Of course I know you can find nice people and friends anywhere, if you have a positive attitude and stay there long enough to meet the right people. But I think there are differences in the level of confidentiality and openness people display at the beginning, when they don't know you that well.
German, for example, are really nice and friendly people, but it ususally takes them time to warm up to somebody new...

Anyway, I will try to talk as much as possible to people in Iceland... I'll try to join some student-activity, although I'm not sure how much time and/or enegry I will have left after a day of work in the hospital...

I would like to take Icelandic classes... do you know of any place where I could do that at affordable prices? (I found a school in the internet and the prices were just really crazy!).

I just spent a couple of weeks in Reykjavik and up north and the Icelandic people were some of the nicest most helpfull people I have ever met. The drivers there compared to Americans were like comparing night to day ,they were curtious and used turn signals and did not tailgate and this was amazing !

I'd say a language course atmosphere is different from being an intern at a hospital, since the hospital is most likely going to be all locals who're coming in to do their job. Language course participants are usually also looking to make friends. I met many of my earliest friends in Iceland through language classes.

speaking of classes, here's a list of accredited Icelandic institutions. This list is specifically targeted to people who're applying for permanent residency but it gives you an idea of the variety of places that are available for study: … 91&lang=en

[at]mkay, I'm surprised you find the Icelandic drivers so courteous- I've given up trying to understand the icelandic parking styles and use of indicators. They often seem to still be driving as if they're alone in the country instead of the largest "city" in the country.

As for hospitality, I feel after 7 years here that it's very different being a visitor than being an immigrant. Icelanders do seem to take welcoming visitors to the country quite seriously, but once you're registered as a resident you're more or less left to make your own way IME.

I am going back to Iceland end of April next year and I will look around more with open eyes since I have been there and know my way around a little and won't be in a shock mode like I was the first few days .It could be the drivers in Iceland are not great ,but compared to the terrible driver's here in Cali they are exceptional.I got mistaken for a local more than a handfull of times and I don't know if I look Icelandic or what but it was very interesting to say the least.

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