Icelandic business culture guide - Learn about Iceland
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Icelandic business culture guide - Learn about Iceland

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http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Iceland. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at......

http://businessculture.org - Find out about business culture in Iceland. This guide is part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project which examined European Business culture in 31 countries looking at business communication, business etiquette, business meeting etiquette, internship and student placements, cost of living, work-life-balance and social media guide.

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  • 1.            |  1     businessculture.org Business Culture in Iceland   http://businessculture.org/northerneurope/iceland/ Last updated: 6.10.2013 businessculture.org   This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This Content  Iceland   publication reflects the view only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
  • 2.            |  2     TABLE  OF  CONTENTS   Business  Culture  in  Iceland  .......................................................................................................  4   Xenophobia: being a foreigner in Iceland............................................................................................ 5   International business in Iceland .......................................................................................................... 5   General Education ............................................................................................................................... 5   Educational standards .......................................................................................................................... 6   Other Issues .......................................................................................................................................... 6   Cultural taboos ..................................................................................................................................... 6   Business  Communication  ..........................................................................................................  8   Face-to-face communication ................................................................................................................ 8   Language Matters................................................................................................................................. 8   Business Relationships .......................................................................................................................... 9   Making contact ..................................................................................................................................... 9   Personal Titles .................................................................................................................................... 10   Business  Etiquette  ..................................................................................................................  11   Corporate Social Responsibility ......................................................................................................... 11   Punctuality .......................................................................................................................................... 11   Gift giving ........................................................................................................................................... 11   Business Dress Code ........................................................................................................................... 12   Bribery and corruption ....................................................................................................................... 12   Business  Meeting  Etiquette  ....................................................................................................  13   Importance of Business Meeting ........................................................................................................ 13   Business Meeting planning ................................................................................................................. 13   Negotiation process ............................................................................................................................ 13   Meeting protocol ................................................................................................................................ 13   How to Run a Business Meeting ........................................................................................................ 14   Follow up letter after meeting with client ........................................................................................... 14   Business meals .................................................................................................................................... 14   businessculture.org   Content  Iceland  
  • 3.            |  3     Business Meeting tips.......................................................................................................................... 15   Internship  and  placement  .......................................................................................................  16   Work experience................................................................................................................................. 16   Internship and Placement advice ....................................................................................................... 16   Social security and European health insurance ................................................................................. 16   Safety .................................................................................................................................................. 17   Do I need a visa? ................................................................................................................................ 17   Internship and placement salary ........................................................................................................ 18   Internship and placement accommodation ........................................................................................ 18   Cost  of  Living  ...........................................................................................................................  19   Money and Banking ........................................................................................................................... 19   Traveling costs .................................................................................................................................... 19   Work-­‐life  Balance   ....................................................................................................................  20   National holidays ................................................................................................................................ 20   Working hours .................................................................................................................................... 20   Health insurance ................................................................................................................................ 21   Social  Media  Guide  .................................................................................................................  22   Social Media Guide for Iceland ......................................................................................................... 22   Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business ........................................................ 22   businessculture.org   Content  Iceland  
  • 4.            |  4     Business  Culture  in  Iceland   Did you know about business culture in Iceland? Watch this video animation to find out some interesting facts. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZ5ESSPl790) Located on the Mid-Atlantic ridge where the Arctic and North Atlantic Oceans meet, Iceland is a volcanic island in Nordic Europe. With a population of 320,000 people living on an island of 103,000 km2, Iceland ranks as Europe’s most sparsely populated country. The easiest and most usual way to reach Iceland is by air. The main hub is Keflavík International Airport, which serves as Iceland’s base for most international flights. The airport is located approximately 50 km from Iceland’s capital Reykjavík, which also has its own airport, but due to its smaller size and runaways, is used mainly for domestic flights. With a population of 120,000, the world’s northernmost capital Reykjavík is Iceland’s heart since other cities in the country are considerably smaller and both governmental and economic activity are greatest in Reykjavík. In 2012, Iceland had almost 0.7 million visitors, twice its population. As Iceland is not part of the European Union and so also not a member of the EMU, it has its own currency, the Icelandic króna. Iceland is however a member of the EEA, has applied for EU membership and is strongly linked with the EU through trade. Since Iceland is such a small country with a small economy, it is not well protected from economic turbulence. The Icelandic economy is characterized by strong government intervention and a high level of free trade but compared with other Nordic countries, with the exception of Norway, government consumption is very low. Iceland’s economy relies heavily on exports of, marine products. In addition aluminium, software, ferro-silicon alloys, woollen goods and fishing industry- related products are important exports for Iceland’s economy. Iceland’s main trading partners are the EU, EFTA, the USA and Japan. businessculture.org   Content  Iceland  
  • 5.              |  5   Iceland is known for its outstanding natural beauty. This volcanic island with glacier-cut fjords, green valleys and numerous rivers is renowned for the beauty and drama of extraordinary natural landscape. Almost 11% of the land is covered by ice. Because of Iceland’s extraordinary natural resources, it has managed to build its infrastructure in such a way that over 80% of energy consumed in Iceland is from renewable sources. Iceland is also known for its vivid cultural scene, with a strong literary tradition and world renowned bands and artists such as Sigur Rós, Jónsi and Björk. This is remarkable as Iceland is a country of only 320,000 people. Reykjavik is well known for its art festival, restaurants and museums. Due to the Gulf Stream the climate at the coast is quite mild when taking into account Iceland’s latitude. In the southern lowlands the average temperature in the wintertime is 0 °C and in July around 12 °C although there are normally a couple of days when temperatures reach peaks of 25 °C. Iceland belongs to the Western European Time (CET) –zone, which means that the time in Iceland is GMT+0. Xenophobia:  being  a  foreigner  in  Iceland   A common perception of Icelanders is that they can sometimes come across as being a bit withdrawn and uncommunicative. However, since they do not consider excessive cheerfulness and million dollar smiles as normal ways of greeting others, this is usually only the first impression as for the most part they are helpful and friendly people. Despite this, Iceland has a reputation as not being the easiest of places for foreigners, and it seems that there is some truth in this. There are not many foreigners working in Iceland, and it is generally considered a challenge for foreigners to find work in the country. Iceland has one of the least racially mixed of populations. Almost 300 thousand people of Iceland’s 320 thousand residents (over 93%) are Icelanders. Despite this, Icelanders are culturally aware. Iceland is a highly developed country with a strong education system. In other words, despite few foreigners living in Iceland, there is no need to worry about Icelanders being ignorant about other cultures. International  business  in  Iceland   When doing business in a foreign country you need to be prepared to experience things that are different from those in your own culture. Without proper preparation and planning you may find yourself being struck by so called ‘cultural shock’ that may have a negative influence on the outcomes of business dealings. It is understandable that as an active business person you can only invest a limited amount of time in exploring cultural differences. Sometimes it is only a few hours after landing in a new country that you find yourself in a meeting room talking business. General  Education   nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 6.              |  6   The Icelandic education system has its roots in the Danish equivalent. There are four levels of education ranging from pre-school to the higher secondary stage with compulsory and upper secondary levels in between. This means that students can leave school at the age of 16 after the compulsory education stage if they want to. The Icelandic education system is considered to be one of the best there is. It is funded by the State, and there are not many private schools. Local authorities are responsible for primary and lower education whereas the State takes care of the rest including higher education institutions like universities. The Icelandic education system is founded on the principle of equality; everyone should have equal opportunities to get an education. Icelanders are highly computer literate. As is the case with other Nordic people, they are known for being early adopters of emerging technologies. Icelanders are used to social networks, with over 217,000 Facebook users, over 70% of the population. In fact Iceland has the most internet users per capita in the world. Educational  standards   When doing business in a foreign country it is advantageous to have some knowledge about the language and computer competency of your counterparts. This may prove to be particularly useful in the preparation stage of negotiations. The knowledge of such issues may help to decide whether it is safe to rely on a host speaking your language or whether it is necessary to travel with an interpreter. In today’s world of computer technology and electronic communication this seems to be of the utmost importance as it may significantly increase the pace of the business negotiations. At least some knowledge about the business partner’s computer literacy may help you to have realistic appropriately adjust the expectations and to adjust the level of technology in your business activities, depending on your counterpart’s skills. This may also help to save time and money. Other  Issues     Icelandic humour is not much different from that of other Nordic countries. They like to make fun of themselves, they are sarcastic and they make jokes about those who think of themselves too much. Some of this may have to do with the harsh natural conditions that Icelanders have been exposed to for centuries. Cracking a joke now and then even in difficult circumstances makes life easier to handle. Cultural  taboos   There are not many issues that would be taboo for Icelanders. One of the reasons for this might be that Iceland is a classless society that has never had an upper class. Taboos are often found in cultures with strong authoritative groups and class divisions so Icelanders are quite relaxed when it comes to taboos and rules on how to behave. Iceland is also a farming society and people who have grown up in such societies tend to be more open in many aspects. As in other Nordic countries there are often fewer taboos than in places such as the USA. Although Icelanders are relatively open minded and are happy to discuss almost anything once they know you, they are also quite reserved. As with those from other Nordic countries, once people get together for a beer or two the ice gets broken. Public baths in Iceland have the nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 7.              |  7   reputation of being places where one can just join a discussion without the fear of facing an awkward situation. Although not a taboo, interestingly Icelanders have a tradition of not wearing raincoats or carrying umbrellas since rainwear is not considered fashionable and Icelanders are very fashion-conscious. However, this is changing with the success of companies like 66° North. Iceland’s weather conditions are quite challenging since due to the strong winds, rain rarely falls straight down! nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 8.            |  8     Business  Communication   In the current era of intensive globalisation, the marketplace is growing at a fast pace. This means expanding business borders and sometimes customising business practices. The subsections that follow give an overview of Iceland’s business practice to give a comprehensive picture of doing business in Iceland. Regardless of the situation and place, communicating without creating barriers can only be an advantage and bring benefits. Face-­‐to-­‐face  communication   Icelanders are known to be relatively direct in the way they communicate. This should be taken into consideration when spending time with them and no offence should be taken if they come across as being a bit too straight-forward. Straight talking, punctuality, accountability and honesty are values that hold great sway in Iceland and therefore one should not overpromise or set expectations that are unlikely to be fulfilled. Icelanders also value friendships and instead of just sticking to business it is normal that pleasure and business are interwoven. Icelanders might seem to be somewhat shy at first as they do not want to appear intrusive, but as is often the case with Nordic people, they will loosen up. The best places for getting Icelanders to open up for conversations are pubs, parties, bonfires and sometimes also hot tubs. If a visitor wants to use the Icelandic language when greeting Icelanders then it is advised to say Blessuð or Komdu sæl to females and Blessaður or Komdu sæll to males. A less formal greeting is Hæ or Halló even when meeting for the first time.. Language  Matters   It is relatively normal that in business settings that involve non-Icelanders English is spoken, so there is no need to master Icelandic before going to negotiations. Iceland has its own language, but one can get by most of the time with either English or Danish as they are both compulsory languages in the Icelandic school system. The Icelandic version of Danish is also often called Skandinavíska and it widely understood among Norwegians and Swedes too. Here are some of the most useful phrases a visitor can use when visiting Iceland: • • • • • • Hello: Hæ , Halló Good morning: Góðan daginn Good night/evening: Gott kvöld See you!: Sjáumst Goodbye: Bæ, Bless Have a nice day: Njóttu dagsins nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 9.            |  9     • • • • • • • • • • • • How are you?: Hvernig hefur þú það? or Hvað segir þú gott? What’s your name?: Hvað heitir þú? Pleased to meet you: Gaman að kynnast þér Welcome: Velkominn (males) Velkomin (females, plural) I don’t understand: Ég skil ekki Yes: Já No: Nei Thank you: Takk Sorry, Excuse me: Afsakið, Fyrirgefðu My pleasure: Mín er ánægjan Of course: Auðvitað Help!: Hjálp! A non-Icelander might be unfamiliar with the Icelandic alphabet as there are some letters that are unknown for many foreigners. The letter ð is supposed to sound like ‘th’ in ‘the’, the letter þ is supposed to sound like ‘th’ in the word ‘thing’ and the letter æ is supposed to sound like the word ‘eye’. When asking Icelanders their name, they will usually answer with their first name. Sometimes they might also give their middle name or even their full name. Only a few Icelanders have original surnames and that is why they often call each other by their first name even when doing business. Even in telephone directories people are listed by their first names. This is because of the way in which surnames are built; they are a combination of the father’s and/or mother’s first name plus ‘daughter’ or ‘son’. If for example an Icelander named Fridrik Jónsson has a son named Dagur, Dagur’s complete name will be Dagur Fridriksson instead of Dagur Jónsson. Business  Relationships   In Iceland business and pleasure are often interwoven. Things do not have to be written down on paper for them to be binding. Icelanders place a high value on keeping their word, in fact an oral agreement is binding according to the law of Iceland. Making  contact   Icelanders often seem quite reserved at first, which is not uncommon for Nordic people. However, they are very friendly and it is likely that if visiting the country for business you will be invited to private homes and/or to experience the country with the locals in other ways. Icelanders also often ask what a foreigner thinks about Iceland. When this happens, one should always express interest in Iceland and have something nice to say about the country. Shaking hands is a normal way of greeting business partners. Kissing one another on the cheek might be appropriate for women once they are well acquainted but otherwise not. One shouldn’t be too worried about when and where it is appropriate to make contact. Icelanders do not have many rules on social interaction, they behave in a very a familiar way towards each other and there are not many taboos. Icelandic companies are streamlined with flat organizational structures which means that CEOs might be in direct contact with managers nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 10.            |  10     from lower levels. This gives us an indication that Iceland is a classless society and approaching people from different socio-economic groups is totally acceptable. Personal  Titles   Just as in the English language, Icelanders do not have a formal way of saying “you”. Rather formality is expressed through the vocabulary one uses and the tone of voice. It is typical for Icelanders to address each other by their first names. Sometimes they also refer to each other as Herra, Frú and Ungfrú, equivalents for Mr, Mrs and Miss, but these words are very rarely used. This is true even in the Icelandic school system. nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 11.              |  11   Business  Etiquette     Attitudes and values form the basis of any particular culture. They reflect both the ways people think and behave. Some knowledge of these can therefore be of significant importance if you wish to communicate with your counterparts effectively. Ignorance of these issues can result in a cultural barrier that may inhibit the communication process, thus having a detrimental effect on the success of your activities in a given country. Corporate  Social  Responsibility   Whereas Corporate Social Responsibility has long been centre stage in Nordic countries, in Iceland its importance has not yet been fully understood. However, the social and environmental standards followed by EU countries are also followed by Icelandic companies. One of Iceland’s strong points is its huge natural resources which could become important for its future if the focus on sustainability is something that could bring Iceland back into the game after the banking crisis of 2008. Because CSR is believed to foster Iceland’s competitiveness and trust, Icelandic businesses have been encouraged to incorporate CSR into their strategies, so CSR is now a hot topic. The Icelandic banking crisis resulted in a lowering of confidence in banks and other large companies who are now facing demands for greater transparency from Icelanders. Although Icelandic companies’ standards on issues such as human rights and environmental protection are high, good and ethical standards of corporate governance were not something that had been focussed on too much before the banking crisis. Punctuality   When it comes to time keeping Iceland is similar to other Nordic countries. Punctuality is highly valued and if one is running late for a meeting it is both polite and recommended to let the host know about the delay. In fact, when going to a business meeting it is good to arrive in advance so that one is ready to start at the agreed time. It is also recommended that appointments are scheduled in advance if possible, and in order to avoid misunderstandings that come from communicating in a foreign language, a 24-hour clock should be used when scheduling appointments. Gift  giving   Icelanders often invite visitors to their homes and when one receives an invitation he/she should take a small gift. A bottle of wine is something that is always welcome even though Iceland has domestic wineries that have been operating for more than 1000 years. Also small gifts from the visitor’s home country are always appreciated. nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 12.              |  12   Business  Dress  Code   Icelanders are highly fashionable people and it is normal to put lots of effort into the appearance. When doing business, most Icelanders dress smartly and although there may be some who dress casually, it is expected and recommended that a foreign visitor dress formally and in a way that is considered appropriate for a business environment. If unsure of the dress code and what to wear it is perfectly acceptable to ask a representative from the company. It is often better to find out in advance, so that you can make any necessary changes to your clothing before your introduction to the company. This will put you at ease, and you will be more relaxed in your encounter with the company. Bribery  and  corruption   Bribery and corruption is generally taken seriously in Iceland and Icelanders value transparency in business dealings. Although Iceland is highly ranked in the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index as the 13th least corrupt country in the world, the banking crisis of 2008 has clearly left a mark as in 2005 Iceland was the top-ranked country of the index. However, despite this Iceland still comes before countries such as Japan, Germany and the USA. (In 2011 New Zealand topped the list followed by Denmark, Finland and Sweden). The Icelandic government is committed to working against corruption. nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 13.            |  13     Business  Meeting  Etiquette     Importance  of  Business  Meeting   Icelanders’ way of doing business might be quite different in many ways from what businessmen and women experience in other countries. Business meetings are viewed positively but what might be a surprise for foreigners is that sometimes meetings turn out to be more informal than what was expected. Business and pleasure are often mixed and therefore sometimes business meetings might be less effective than a foreign business man or woman had hoped for. Of course this is not always the case although some businessmen and women have experienced having been invited to Icelandic homes to talk business but when they arrived, the presence of friends or family members has made it hard to get the focus on business related matters. It is good to make contact with Icelandic business partners in advance about the program for the visit. However, sometimes Icelanders are known for their tendency to be indecisive and leave their decisions until the last minute. One should not be too worried when interim decisions are made as this is a part of the Icelandic culture. Business  Meeting  planning   Make sure to arrive promptly at the set time or even before it. One should be prepared to start the meeting at the agreed time. If there are PowerPoint presentations or other things that have to be prepared, one should take that into account when arriving for meetings and allow extra time. Negotiation  process   Icelanders value honesty, directness and keeping ones word. So when negotiating you should not avoid bringing up anything that concerns you. It is quite normal to leave decisions to the last minute as Icelanders might be unwilling to commit to big decisions. This kind of behaviour may jeopardise a business agreement if Icelanders appear to be playing for time just in case a better deal comes along. Meeting  protocol   One should always make sure to shake hands with Icelandic business partners at the beginning and at the end of the business meeting. It is recommended that the handshake is firm, eye contact is made and no one is left without a handshake. It is also common to exchange business cards when meeting business acquaintances. nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 14.              |  14   How  to  Run  a  Business  Meeting   The good news for foreign businessmen and women is that Icelanders speak English fluently and are able to conduct business in the language without any problem. Formal business meetings are concise and aim to deal effectively with the matter at hand. However, Icelanders also like to combine business with pleasure and may ask a visitor to visit their home to talk business. This may feel like a waste of time to a non- Icelander, as most of the time might be spent on non-business related conversation with the host’s family or friends being present. Icelanders are known for their way of relating to even relatively unknown persons as friends which is nice, but can sometimes come across as rather unprofessional. Follow  up  letter  after  meeting  with  client   When it comes to following up after a meeting you can expect the same as in any other Nordic country. The decisions made in a meeting should be recorded and the document given to all participants of the meeting. This record includes information on action plans, what was agreed on and who is responsible for implementing various parts of plans. A record should also be kept of what was discussed, and the dates items were agreed to be completed by. Credibility is always gained when items are followed up and completed at the agreed time. As usual in the Icelandic culture, there is nearly always a place for socializing, which means that it is appropriate to invite your business associates out for a drink. This may be a good time to get to know each other more and build up a better relationship. Business  meals   Icelanders tend to talk business over meals and combining work and pleasure is common. Icelanders often leave their shoes at the door when going home and one should follow that example when visiting an Icelandic home. Bringing a gift is highly recommended, for example foreign wine. The good news for visitors is that although Iceland’s high prices might suggest strict dining rules, the Icelandic dining tradition is based on family dining and is therefore rather informal. It is still recommended to have sophisticated manners and to try and follow Icelandic dining customs however. If you are used to dining in other Nordic countries and in Europe, then dining in Iceland should not present any problems at all. Wrists should be resting on the table while keeping hands visible and the fork should be held in the left hand while the knife is held in the right. Throwing away food is frowned upon. If you are sharing dishes, it is recommended to ask others for their permission before emptying the plate of the remaining food. There are no specific dress codes in restaurants but one should remember that Icelanders dress well and this is especially the case when they go out to eat in the evening. Iceland has a reputation for having some of the world’s finest restaurants. Reykjavik especially is known for restaurants with exceptionally high standards of both service and food. When visiting Iceland, make sure that eating out is included in the program. Some courses recommended for visitors are Icelandic lamb and arctic fish. Recently the Iceland dining trend has been developing in a direction where international dishes made out of nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 15.              |  15   Icelandic ingredients have been gaining popularity but there are still plenty of restaurants serving traditional Icelandic food. As Iceland is isolated from other countries, the culture has been shaped so that Icelanders produce whatever they consume. Icelanders still harvest most of their food’s ingredients including berries, mushrooms, fish, lamb and reindeer from their own land. The most popular drinks in Iceland are much the same as everywhere else. Icelanders enjoy water, milk, wine, beer, carbonated drinks and naturally also coffee and tea. Whale meat that is banned in some countries is legal in Iceland, so when visiting Iceland you must check if it is legal to take whale meat back to your home country should you wish to do so. Icelandic prices, both in restaurants and in general, might be an unwelcome surprise. Iceland has a population of only 320 000 which means that the market is small and there is not too much competition. In addition to this, employment costs are very high. Luckily tipping is not expected in Iceland as the service fees are included in the bill. Business  Meeting  tips   Icelanders often ask visitors how they like Iceland. Be prepared to give a short and positive comment on their extraordinary country. nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 16.              |  16   Internship  and  placement     Work  experience   Nordic citizens are free to study, work and reside in Iceland. Citizens from other EU/EEA countries including citizens of Switzerland may in some cases be subject to some special rules. For citizens of non-EU/EEA countries there are a number of things to take into account. One can read more about the regulations here. Programs such as Erasmus, Leonardo da Vinci and Nordplus offer students the opportunity to apply for a placement grant. Through these placements such students are given the possibility to work in organizations that are related to their’ field of studies. The duration of placements in Iceland ranges from a minimum of 3 to 12 months. However, for those students with higher and shorter professional educations the minimum is two months. There are many organizations that offer student placements, such as training centres, higher education institutions and companies. There are however no possibilities for student placements in EU bodies such as EU institutions or in public institutions that represent the students’ home country, in Iceland. Internship  and  Placement  advice   There are many practical issues relating to international placements that need to be addressed either by the trainee or the host company. It is important to ensure that you allow enough time for all the arrangements and the necessary formalities. The training organisations, educational institutes and home and host organisations are able to help with these. Social  security  and  European  health  insurance   As a foreigner you will need medical insurance since in order to qualify for the Icelandic social security system you first need to have been resident in Iceland for six months. After this period you will be covered by with Icelandic social health care system. In the unfortunate case of an emergency, one should dial 112. When you need non-emergency medical treatment in the Reykjavik area during business hours you should dial 544-4114. Outside of business hours, the number to dial is 1770. Non – EU/EEA Students If you are coming from a non-EU/EAA country you will need medical insurance from the country of your origin that is valid in Iceland or get insurance from an Icelandic company. Some options are: TM, VÍS, Sjóvá and Vörður. In order to qualify for a student visa you need to have insurance. EU/EEA or Switzerland Students nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 17.              |  17   If you are a European citizen make sure to bring your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you so you can prove that you are entitled to health insurance in your country of origin. If you are insured in an EEA country, you will receive free medical treatment in urgent cases during a temporary stay in Iceland. When going to see a doctor, remember to bring your passport and EHIC with you.. Safety   You can travel to Iceland with peace of mind since it is one of the safest countries in the world. For example, in Reykjavík crime rates are very low and problems related to violence or drugs on the streets are rare. However, at night it is recommended that people stick together. One of the places to steer clear of in Reykjavik is Austruvöllur Park at night time. Do not be afraid to contact the police and other authorities in Iceland, since just as the crime rate is low, so is the rate of corruption too. The whole Icelandic way of living is founded on tolerance and mutual trust. Icelanders trust the police, almost as much as they trust the Coast Guard. Do  I  need  a  visa?   Iceland is a Schengen country which makes visiting easy for most European nationalities. However, the UK and Ireland are not members of the Schengen agreement and therefore citizens of these countries need to apply for a visa before entering Iceland. When coming to Iceland you will need a passport that is valid for three months longer than you intend to stay. If you are a citizen of a non-EU/EEA country you will need to get a visa before you enter Iceland because if your visa application has not been approved by the time you enter the country, you will need to leave and wait until you have been granted your visa. If you are a non-EU/EEA citizen and you are coming to Iceland for study or work, you will have to apply for a residence permit and cannot enter Iceland before your application has been approved. You should be prepared to wait for 90 days for your application to be processed. However, it can take longer if you fail to supply all the required documents to the Directorate of Immigration. If your application is approved you need to get a D-Visa from the closest embassy issuing these visas so that you can then enter Iceland. People coming from non-EEA countries, Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Romania and Bulgaria have to undergo a medical check. Exceptions to this are citizens of Switzerland, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. However, if you have a valid medical certificate that is less than three months old, you might not need to have another medical examination. If you are a citizen of either the EU or the EEA, you will also need a residence permit if you intend to stay for longer than three months. If you are seeking employment, you can stay for 6 months in Iceland without having a residence permit. However, you can enter Iceland before your application has been approved. EU/EEA citizens do not need to worry about getting work permits, since getting a residence permit will be enough for them. Whether you are a EU/EEA citizen or not, coming to Iceland for study means that you will need to register your domicile, apply for an Icelandic ID number and go to the municipal office with your passport, acceptance letter from your host university and residence permit (if applicable). You can apply for an ID number before your arrival and it is advised that you nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 18.            |  18     apply for it a month before you enter the country since in order to register at the University you will need to have been issued with an Icelandic ID number. If you are coming to Iceland and you are a citizen of a Nordic country, you do not need a residence permit and simply need to register at the Registers Iceland when you arrive in the country. Internship  and  placement  salary   Students may be paid whilst on placement but this is not the norm. The students role is often more of a supporting one. Students cannot replace full-time employees. Naturally the goals of student placements are to help the student to prepare to enter the labour market. Skills development, improving language skills and understanding culture are also central aims for student placements. Internship  and  placement  accommodation   If you are going to Iceland on a student exchange, you should contact your host university as they will assist you in finding a place to stay. Alternatively, while you a searching for more permanent housing you can use youth hostels or guest houses as a short-term solution. Websites like http://www.visitreykjavík.is and http://www.gisting.is/ are worth visiting when looking for guesthouses, hostels and hotels. You should remember that as property is generally privately owned in Iceland, finding a place to rent might be challenging. When looking for housing in the Reykjavík area, you might want to take a look at the following services: When looking for housing outside the Reykjavík area, the following services may be helpful: • • • Accommodation at the University Centre at the Westfjords Accommodation at Bifröst University Student Housing at the University of Akureyri Once you have found an apartment, in order to apply for a rent subsidy you will have to sign a lease. It is recommended that you read about leases on the Intercultural Centre website, as it is important that you know what you are signing. If you are a student coming from outside of the EEA you will need a housing certificate to show that your accommodation in Iceland is secured for the period that you will be in the country. nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 19.            |  19     Cost  of  Living     Iceland is known for its relatively high prices. In order to support yourself you should have at least 125,000 ISK per month at your disposal. Renting a single room will cost you around 50,000 ISK per month minimum. Here are some examples of prices in the Reykjavík area: • • • • • • • • Getting from the Keflavik Airport to Reykjavík by bus will cost you around 1950 ISK Going to the movies costs around 1,200 ISK A loaf of bread costs around 400 ISK A litre of milk costs around 120 ISK A beer at a café costs around 800 ISK A bottle of wine costs from 1300 ISK upwards Dining out costs around 1500 ISK and upwards The price of petrol is 245 ISK per litre Money  and  Banking   Icelandic banks are open on weekdays from 9.15 am to 4 pm. Almost all banks are closed on weekends but there may be some exceptions in Reykjavík. When you are staying in Iceland for more than just a vacation you might want to open a bank account. You can keep your money in a foreign currency account, a service that is provided by the majority of banks. In addition, you might want to open a bank account with a debit card since then you can withdraw funds from ATM machines and pay with your card for your purchases in most stores. To open this account you will need to have an Icelandic ID number and your passport/ID card. However, if you are an exchange student you not need to open an account. In most places you can pay with your foreign credit cards. People from Nordic countries are known as some of the world’s top ‘plastic payers’ and one can pay with credit cards almost everywhere. Also debit card payments should work relatively well. Since things are usually paid for with plastic, service fees are included in the prices and therefore there is no need to tip. This is quite common in other Nordic countries too. However, when leaving a hotel feel free to tip the cleaners, if you feel the service has been particularly good. Traveling  costs   Iceland’s nature and terrain combined with the countries extremely sparse population means that most of the transport infrastructure is in the Greater Reykjavík area where two thirds of Icelanders live. People get around mostly by car and in fact there are not many other options since there are no public railways in the country. Domestic flights are also popular in Iceland when you are travelling between largish towns. nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 20.              |  20   Work-­‐life  Balance     Icelanders on average work 1697 hours a year, which is still less than the average of 1749 hours in OECD countries. However, the OECD work-life index suggests that when it comes to balancing working life and leisure time, things seem to be much better in other Nordic countries. Almost 11% of Icelanders are reported to work very long hours and in comparisons with all 36 OECD countries, Iceland ranks in 26th place when it comes to time spent at work. When it comes to time devoted to leisure and personal care, Iceland’s ranking among the OECD countries is only 32nd. Icelanders do work long hours; the average for men is 47 hours and for women 37 hours per week. Women, who represent 45.5% of the Icelandic workforce, also represent the highest number of women in the labour market among the OECD countries. Taking all this into consideration, finding a balance between work and leisure time is a challenge for Icelanders, especially for those with children. What is interesting is that in spite of this with each woman having 2,1 children Iceland has one the highest fertility rates in Europe. For Icelanders, combining business with pleasure is quite common. Personal relationships are formed easily, and business partners are invited to business dinners, which are seen as a form of entertainment. Iceland is not too different from other Nordic countries when it comes to the role of family and kinship patterns. Women play an important role in families, and in the case of multicultural marriages, children often pick up more of their mother’s heritage than that of their fathers. Equality of rights and opportunities are much the same for women and men. Formal marriage is not such an important institution as it is in many other countries yet Iceland has the highest divorce rate in Europe. However friendships and other connections such as kinship are highly valued. National  holidays   Working Icelanders have a minimum of 24 days of paid leave a year and in addition they also benefit from 13 public holidays. The most common time for Icelanders to take their holidays is in July and August so this must be taken into consideration when planning business trips to Iceland. At those times business will slow down just like at Christmas and Easter time. Working  hours   Iceland is a very expensive country and in order to maintain high living standards, Icelanders are used to working long hours. Men work 47 hours a week on average and women 37 hours. Working overtime is quite common in Iceland and employees are often paid for the extra hours they put in. In cases where employees have a fixed salary, overtime is compensated by time off in lieu. Working hours have to be compatible with laws and wage contracts. Generally speaking, the maximum working week including overtime should not exceed 48 hours. During every 24-hour period employees are entitled to a period of 11 hours of continuous rest. nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 21.              |  21   Generally Icelandic business hours are from 9 am to 5 pm and during the summer months (June, July and August) from 8 am to 4 pm. Health  insurance   The Icelandic medical care system is high quality, and good medical treatment is available if needed. However, outside the largest cities there are only a limited number of services available. The medical system covers the expenses of the residents only, which means that visitors must pay their medical bills themselves. Luckily in the case of emergencies, visitors with a valid European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) are entitled to free medical care. Therefore you should make sure to carry your EHIC card with you. However as mentioned earlier, when travelling to Iceland, you should get travel insurance. The EHIC Card comes in handy but there are many expenses that it does not cover. Expenses caused by medical care that is on-going or urgent, usage of air ambulances, medical repatriation, costs caused by travel problems such as cancellations and lost/stolen luggage are all costs that are best covered by travel insurance. In the case of emergency, dial 112. For non-emergency medical treatment in the Reykjavik area during business hours dial 544-4114. When outside of business hours, the number to dial is 1770. nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 22.            |  22     Social  Media  Guide     Social  Media  Guide  for  Iceland   As in other Nordic countries, Icelanders are early adopters of emerging technologies. According to statistics almost 98% of Icelanders use the Internet and over 70% are on Facebook. The Icelandic government’s social media campaign in 2011 tells something of Iceland’s awareness of social media issues. The campaign called Inspired by Iceland which sought to promote tourism to Iceland and encouraged Icelanders to welcome travellers to their country brought about an increase of almost 20% in inward tourism. Another campaign that has stood out in its uniqueness and called Iceland wants to be your friend has also sought to boost Iceland’s reputation around the world. Social media has not only been used to boost tourism but also to rework Iceland’s constitution and gather feedback from Icelanders. A new proposal of the new constitution was posted on the internet by the Icelandic government and Icelanders were asked to give feedback and comments about it. Search  and  Social  Media  Marketing  for  International  Business   Learn how to use social media for business from one of Salford Business School’s latest business management courses. The course was jointly researched by the Passport to Trade 2.0 project team and prepared in collaboration with some of the leading digital marketing agencies in the UK. This Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) can help businesses and individuals to make the best use of search and social media platforms. The course is called Search and Social Media Marketing for International Business and is applicable to students looking for placements abroad as well as businesses thinking about new trade links; it comprises the following twelve topics: How to develop a personal brand online (1/12) • • Whether you are a student beginning a job search or a business person planning a new business venture, personal branding can make a difference. Learn about personal branding and why it is important for you. http://youtu.be/l9LYw0mgtn4 nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 23.            |  23     How to use Twitter (2/12) • • Learn the basics of using Twitter to develop an individual or business profile. Remember to use hash tag #SSMMUoS to share your learning journey on this course so far! http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=9CVY3pp91Dc&feature=playe r_embedded How to use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) (3/12) • • Learn the principles of SEO to ensure that your website and any social media profiles are found by individuals searching for your name, products and services. These basic principles of SEO include keyword research, on-page optimisation and off-page optimisation. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=zw27cRcwtM0&feature=player _embedded How to use social media for international business development (4/12) • • Social media networks break down the traditional country barriers, but do you know which networks are relevant for the country you are interested in trading with? Find out in this video how to identify the relevant networks and what social media strategies you might be able to use on these networks. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=Bx-B56AHS4c&feature= player_embedded nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 24.            |  24     How to use Facebook (5/12) • • Facebook is currently the largest social media network in the world and it can benefit you as a business as well as an individual. Learn how to develop a Facebook business page and see how other businesses use it and what strategies work for them. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=UmRGn-vdcO8&feature= player_embedded How to use YouTube (6/12) • • YouTube was identified as the second largest social network amongst younger internet users as part of the Passport to Trade 2.0 project. Learn how to optimise your video content in order to reach wider audiences for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=G2 0OVpmTBss How to use LinkedIn (7/12) • • LinkedIn is one of the three main professional social networks – the others being Xing and Viadeo which are also popular in several European countries. Learn how to make the most of LinkedIn for your profile. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=N6e_EAUQqic&feature=playe r_embedded nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 25.            |  25     How to use Google+ (8/12) • • • Google+ is the second largest social network as of January 2013. It is one of the fastest growing social networks and one that has the biggest impact when it comes to search engine results integration for anyone who uses Google as their main search engine. Learn how to make the most of Google+ for you and your digital profiles. http://www.youtube.com/watch? feature=player_embedded&v=8ti 3SPHkEWw How to use copywriting online (9/12) • • Copywriting is a process of translating technical specifications and product descriptions into engaging and understandable customer focused text. Learn about the basic techniques in structuring your online content here. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=5f1hx_f2ONI&feature=player_ embedded How to stay legal on social media (10/12) • • Everything and anything you do and say online can be potentially viewed by anyone who has internet access. Always respect the law and familiarise yourself with new options offered to you through a creative commons licence which is popular online. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=eQxDpiHsdk&feature=player_embedde d nessculture.org     Content  Iceland  
  • 26.            |  26     How to use monitoring and reporting (11/12) • • Whether you are an individual or a business spending time on social media – there has to be a return on your engagement online. How do you justify your engagement on social media to your boss? Listen to the industry experts in this area and see what you might be able to measure in respect of your on-line engagements. http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=LbEq7jsG0jg&feature=player_ embedded How to blog (12/12) • • http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=OqVjR7oI8Rs&feature=player _embedded nessculture.org     • Blogging is a process of writing text and sharing content with others. It can help your customers or friends to keep in-touch regardless of social media platforms. Think about the voice you might want to adopt and who your audience might be. Share your thoughts with us by writing a blog post about this MOOC. Tweet us the link to your post on the #SSMMUoS Twitter hash tag. Content  Iceland  
  • 27.              |  27   Passport  to  Trade  2.0  Project  Partnership   Five Universities: Lead partner: Salford Business School, University of Salford, United Kingdom Elena Vasilieva Aleksej Heinze Alex Fenton URENIO research unit at Aristole University of Thessaloniki, Greece Christina Kakderi Nitsa Papadopouloui TSE Entre Research Centre Turku School of Economics, University of Turku, Finland Satu Aaltonen Elisa Akola Institute for Information System Research University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany Verena Hausmann Susan P. Williams Petra Schubert Valahia University of Targoviste, Romania Adriana Grigorescu Leonardo Badea Three Small & Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) Spin, Italy Carmine Antonio Donato Dorella De Tommaso Technology Development & Innovation – TDI LTD Bulgaria Milanka Slavova Ivan Stoychev TIS Praha, Czech Republic Anna Klosova Richard Adekeye nessculture.org     Content  Iceland