Does anyone have experience of Scandinavian Studies? Dilemma! Watch

stinkyalice
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Hi,

I'm 19 and currently studying folklore at university of Iceland. So far I am enjoying some of the subject material, but I think that the teaching is not very good. I started the BA in January and have never had a proper essay marked. I did one test, for which I only got a grade and no feedback. I have one friend there, but the social scene around the uni isn't very good, as most people on my course have children and there aren't any societies like in British unis.

My main interest is in Norse mythology, and I also enjoy learning languages (my course is taught in Icelandic which is challenging but means that I am improving quickly). I have an offer from UCL to study Icelandic next year, but am not sure whether to take it up.

I am enjoying myself in Reykjavik, and have some friends and a boyfriend (although we are quite different people so I would not stay just for him). The university is free and I have a room downtown which is £200 a month. So obviously it would be quite upsetting to pay £9000 a year and move back in with my parents. The UCL course would be 4 years, and I am not sure if I want to have spent 5 years in total getting a BA.

However, I have just looked at the folklore courses at University of Iceland this year and, to be frank, they're sh*t. They used to have stuff about gods and elves and everything, and now it's all gender studies and media. And criminology, for some reason. I like the idea of carrying on here and doing a BA thesis (which I have already decided would be about Loki), but the majority of the courses are dry and the teaching is bad. The national library is amazing, but UCL's library is great too.

After my BA I would like to apply for an MA (ideally in ASNC at Cambridge), and while I think it would look good to have done a course taught in Icelandic, I do not think the University of Iceland is very academically rigorous. We do one essay for every course, with no practice beforehand. For 2 of the 3 essays I'm doing, I have been told just to 'read a book then write an essay about it'.

I miss my family and can tell that my mum wants me to come home. I live close to UCL and have visited the library before and liked it. I applied late last year and was really excited about the idea of going but got rejected because my application was too late (they'd incorrectly put the course on extra). The courses look fun, especially Faroese and the ones about Norse Mythology. The main thing that puts me off is the idea of leaving my life in Reykjavik behind. I know I won't be with my boyfriend forever but am still a bit sad about the idea of having to break it off after 7 months, as I am happy with him. I am very happy with my bedroom and have a great flatmate. The idea of having to make friends all over again is daunting, and while the idea of coming back to Reykjavik for a year was a major selling point for me before, it now just makes me sad to think of leaving everything behind and then coming back.

But University of Iceland isn't good.

Oh yeah, and a big issue is that from my understanding, a £9,000 fee still has to be paid for the year abroad at a university I currently pay £400 a year to attend.

I know that it's kind of silly to expect internet people to even get to the bottom of this, but I would like to know from people doing the course whether they would recommend the teaching at UCL? Do people go on to do ASNC? Can a Scandinavian Studies degree have a large emphasis on Norse mythology? If I decided I was tired of Iceland and Icelandic after being here a year, how easy would it be to switch to Viking Studies and, say, go to Sweden on the year abroad? How easy is it to make friends if you're not in halls?
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Snufkin
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(Original post by stinkyalice)
Hi,

I'm 19 and currently studying folklore at university of Iceland. So far I am enjoying some of the subject material, but I think that the teaching is not very good. I started the BA in January and have never had a proper essay marked. I did one test, for which I only got a grade and no feedback. I have one friend there, but the social scene around the uni isn't very good, as most people on my course have children and there aren't any societies like in British unis.

My main interest is in Norse mythology, and I also enjoy learning languages (my course is taught in Icelandic which is challenging but means that I am improving quickly). I have an offer from UCL to study Icelandic next year, but am not sure whether to take it up.

I am enjoying myself in Reykjavik, and have some friends and a boyfriend (although we are quite different people so I would not stay just for him). The university is free and I have a room downtown which is £200 a month. So obviously it would be quite upsetting to pay £9000 a year and move back in with my parents. The UCL course would be 4 years, and I am not sure if I want to have spent 5 years in total getting a BA.

However, I have just looked at the folklore courses at University of Iceland this year and, to be frank, they're sh*t. They used to have stuff about gods and elves and everything, and now it's all gender studies and media. And criminology, for some reason. I like the idea of carrying on here and doing a BA thesis (which I have already decided would be about Loki), but the majority of the courses are dry and the teaching is bad. The national library is amazing, but UCL's library is great too.

After my BA I would like to apply for an MA (ideally in ASNC at Cambridge), and while I think it would look good to have done a course taught in Icelandic, I do not think the University of Iceland is very academically rigorous. We do one essay for every course, with no practice beforehand. For 2 of the 3 essays I'm doing, I have been told just to 'read a book then write an essay about it'.

I miss my family and can tell that my mum wants me to come home. I live close to UCL and have visited the library before and liked it. I applied late last year and was really excited about the idea of going but got rejected because my application was too late (they'd incorrectly put the course on extra). The courses look fun, especially Faroese and the ones about Norse Mythology. The main thing that puts me off is the idea of leaving my life in Reykjavik behind. I know I won't be with my boyfriend forever but am still a bit sad about the idea of having to break it off after 7 months, as I am happy with him. I am very happy with my bedroom and have a great flatmate. The idea of having to make friends all over again is daunting, and while the idea of coming back to Reykjavik for a year was a major selling point for me before, it now just makes me sad to think of leaving everything behind and then coming back.

But University of Iceland isn't good.

Oh yeah, and a big issue is that from my understanding, a £9,000 fee still has to be paid for the year abroad at a university I currently pay £400 a year to attend.

I know that it's kind of silly to expect internet people to even get to the bottom of this, but I would like to know from people doing the course whether they would recommend the teaching at UCL? Do people go on to do ASNC? Can a Scandinavian Studies degree have a large emphasis on Norse mythology? If I decided I was tired of Iceland and Icelandic after being here a year, how easy would it be to switch to Viking Studies and, say, go to Sweden on the year abroad? How easy is it to make friends if you're not in halls?
Hey, there is a very big Scandinavian Studies thread here. Unfortunately most of the people who could give you a detailed answer don't seem to log on anymore, but there are some applicants poking about! I know it might take a while but it really is worth reading through it, you will learn a lot about the course(s) and the dept at UCL. It's a shame that Hylean hasn't logged on recently, he studied Icelandic at UCL and I believe he now studies folkloristics in Iceland. You could try PMing him?

I know for sure that some people who did their BAs in Scandinavian Studies at UCL went on to do MAs in ASNaC, I'm sure Icelandic would be looked upon favorably. If in doubt, why don't you email the ASNaC dept and ask?

You pay 15% of the normal fee to UCL on your year abroad (£1350, not ideal but not too bad). The Scandie dept looks to be a very close-knit and friendly dept, so I wouldn't worry about making friends.

I've applied for Scandinavian Studies and History, in the interview I asked whether it was possible to switch to another degree in the dept and I was told yes, if you switch at the start of the first year. Viking Studies and Scandinavian Studies are pretty much the same degree; the only difference is that some of the Old Norse/medieval history modules are compulsory for Viking Studies whereas they're optional for Scandinavian Studies - oh and you have the option of doing a medieval history module at UCL's history dept if you do Viking Studies. This website has a complete breakdown of the degrees and their various modules.

Here's my take on the different degrees:

Viking Studies – for those who are principally interested in the medieval period and don't mind doing Old Norse every year.

Scandinavian Studies – the 'general' course, pick and choose the modules which interest you. You can make it as 'medievally' as you like, and you can study Icelandic in years two and four, and probably on your year abroad too.

Icelandic – personally, I would only do this course if I was 100% committed to studying Icelandic and I loved languages (you have to learn three, after all)!

Gosh that was rather a long post, apologies!
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