Beginning in 2017, University of Southern Maine honors students can take part in a study abroad program, traveling to Iceland for two weeks as part of a four-week summer course, college officials announced Thursday.

The new program is funded by a $450,000 gift from the estate of alumna A. Carolla Haglund, ’51, and a $481,990 three-year grant from the Maine Economic Improvement Fund, a voter-approved research and development fund for the University of Maine System.

About 20 students are expected to take part in the program in the summer of 2017, with more students and further study abroad opportunities made available in subsequent years, officials said. The students take a four-week course, with two weeks in Iceland at Reykjavik University.

The program was announced by USM President Glenn Cummings, representatives from Reykjavik University, and area business and academic leaders who are part of a developing Iceland/Maine relationship.

“This program will provide a significant opportunity for our students to broaden their horizons, to engage in the wider world, and better equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to play key roles in expanding and strengthening our economy here in Maine,” Cummings said in a release.

Portland municipal, business and education leaders have deepened their ties with Iceland counterparts since Eimskip, an Icelandic shipping company, opened on Portland’s waterfront in 2013. Since then, officials have sent delegations to Reykjavik and worked to enhance business prospects between Maine and the island nation that is a gateway to much of the European market.

In recent months, USM and other area colleges have partnered with the New England Ocean Cluster House, a Portland-based incubator for marine-related business and researchers, modeled after a similar project on the waterfront in Reykjavik, Iceland’s capital. There, companies and college researchers have collaborated on projects such as creating a technology to use fish skin to treat chronic wounds.

Cummings said they were looking into partnering with area colleges for the study abroad project.

Haglund developed an international studies program as dean of women at Framingham State College in Massachusetts.