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Moving to Iceland – Pros and Cons

Following the result of the US presidential Election, a whole lot of disillusioned Americans are considering abandoning ship and leaving the country, as evident by the Canadian immigration website crashing several times after the results were clear. While Canada is the most popular option, people have also been considering moving farther afield, even moving to Iceland. While I’m not sure how serious most people’s intentions are, it’s always good to have all the facts when deliberating important decisions, so without further ado, I give you a list of pros and cons to consider.



Iceland’s really really ridiculously good-looking

From Snæfellsnes to the East fjords, Grímsey island to the Vestmannaeyjar Islands, you’re never more than a few minutes drive from a natural wonder. Even in the centre of Reykjavík, Iceland’s largest city, you can look over the ocean towards Mt Esja, and if that’s not good enough for you, it only takes about 15 minutes to drive out of the city. In an hour, you could be standing by an erupting geyser or staring at a waterfall.


The economy’s booming!

(Right now, at least). You’ve probably all heard about that economic collapse and that we fired all the politicians and jailed all the bankers and now things are great. While there is a grain of truth in that story, that’s extremely oversimplified. Truth is, the economy is getting better mostly because of tourism and the influx of cash travelers bring. While our financial system still faces some difficulties, things are pretty good for the average Jón. Be prepared, however, Iceland can be expensive!


Iceland values equality! (Even if things still aren’t perfect here)

I don’t want to paint too simplistic a picture here, it’s true that there’s still a gender pay gap and people ethnically and religiously different from the average Icelander have been facing some prejudice. While we have our problems just like the rest of the world, the overall attitude is positive and things do seem to be changing. Half the members of parliament are now women and the Pride parade is one of the biggest events on the Reykjavík social calendar, to name a few positives.



Immigration regulations are stiff

If you’re coming here from Europe, you can live and work here with no complications. If you’re coming from America or other continents, however, it’s going to be more difficult. Finding a job here, something you want to study in Icelandic Universities, or an Icelandic husband/wife is your best bet. It’s not like you can just board a plane to Iceland without a plan, moving to Iceland ain’t easy!


There are cultural differences

As anyone who has ever moved to another country knows, it’s not always easy. Not only are you leaving behind your family and friends and trying to learn a difficult language but then there’s the culture shock. Americans, take notice: Icelanders don’t like small talk! They don’t like talking to strangers in the store or the bus stop; they don’t even like talking to their neighbours in most cases!


You probably can’t move far enough to completely escape the reach of a Trump-led government.

Not only are we living in times of globalisation and international commerce, but the United States also have a habit of inserting themselves into other nations’ business. They even occupied Iceland for a while (during WWII), had an army base here for decades, and even still have some military presence, although it’s not what it was during the Cold war. (As you might have noticed, Iceland’s right between USA and Russia!). Moving to Iceland might not be far enough!

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