The influx of refugees and immigrants into Iceland continues to affect the society socially, culturally, and politically. Like many other European countries, Iceland has become home to many refugees and immigrants, including young adults. This influx has affected the education system, and many schools have developed different models to serve the diverse needs of the increasing number of immigrant children entering the system. In spite of the obstacles – which include cultural and linguistic differences, struggles with different school systems and academic programs, educational level, financial standing or country of origin, little education, and limited family income – many refugee and immigrant students are enthusiastic about learning, and are able to succeed both academically and socially in their new learning spaces. Research has shown that immigrant students drop out of school as a result of different factors, such as not valuing school and having poor relationships with teachers and peers (Makarova & Herzog, 2013) and that immigrant teens in some ethnic groups suffer a higher dropout rate than the national average (Morse, 2005). According to a study conducted by Grétarsdóttir (2007) on educational progress among youth whose heritage language is not Icelandic, more than half of the respondents either never attended upper secondary education – i.e., the three to four years after compulsory school, typically about ages 16-19 – or dropped out. Understanding these students’ academic and social engagement and success may be critical for addressing the high dropout rates among immigrant students. Thus, the purpose of this study is to answer the question: What academic, personal, and social experiences account for the success of young immigrants and refugees while in upper secondary schools in Iceland? This study aimed to understand young immigrants’ and refugee students’ experiences of academic and social success in upper secondary schools in Iceland. In this study, 27 academically and socially successful students participated in one-hour semi-structured interviews. In the interviews, young immigrant and refugee students were asked about their attitudes toward their culture of origin and Icelandic culture and society, their experience of belonging to different groups, their aspirations and future goals in those settings, different learning environments and practise, their expectation of the schools and curriculum, and their motivations and obstacles including their language backgrounds. The study applies different theories, including culturally responsive pedagogy and multicultural education, that incline toward providing all students, regardless of their background, culture, language, race and ethnicities with the knowledge, tools and skills necessary to function harmoniously both in their community and globally. These theories facilitate the academic and social success of young immigrant and refugee students and create equity in the education system. The theoretical background chosen for this study aims to support the research questions and capture the depth of the data. Theories of inclusion and safe zones are discussed as ways to value diversity among these groups of students regardless of their background, language, ethnicity and race, and they address equitable opportunities for these students and to bring about equal, just and democratic society (Banks & Banks, 2013; Gay, 2018; Grant & Sleeter, 2013; Nieto, 2010; Pratt, 1991, 2007). Thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006, 2013) is used to analyze the data. This method is useful when one is trying to find commonalities in meaning among the participants’ responses. Knowledge about the reasons for the academic and social success of these students is important for policymakers, teachers, and governmental organisations, both in terms of societal stability and for the sake of individual refugee and immigrant youths. Bringing young immigrants’ and refugees’ academic and social success to light may also be significant in counteracting xenophobia. The findings reveal that various internal and external factors determine academic and social success of the refugee and immigrant students, including their desire, passion, and strength, as well as their interest in education and their future goals. They were intrinsically motivated, exerted effort, and refused to give up despite the various challenges they faced. Immigrant and refugee students’ journeys of success were also shaped by a set of visible factors both structural (inside their schools) and social (outside their schools, at home and in their communities).