Living in Norway

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Category: Study Destinations
Posted on September 10, 2019
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‘Norway’ roughly translates as ‘path to the north.’ Europe’s northernmost country, bordering with Finland, Russia and the longest uninterrupted border within Europe, with Sweden. Norway is a bizarre experience for nature lovers as you get to experience the midnight sun during the summer, its awe-inspiring mountains, impressive fjord coastline, sea-faring history, unique coastal life, and brilliant Winter Olympics performance. Norway has given some hugely influential figures to the world such as playwright Henrik Ibsen and painter Edvard Munch.

Norway has the fourth-highest per capita income and one of the highest standards of living in the world. These can be attributed to its abundant resource of offshore oil and gas deposits. It is a member of many international organizations, like the UN, the WTO, NATO, the Council of Europe and the Nordic Council, and the OECD. Although it rejected the full European Union (EU) membership, it’s still part of the Schengen Area and has close ties with the US and the EU. 

      Capital : Oslo    Currency : Norwegian Krone(NOK)    Population : 5,019,000    Number of Universities : 23

Despite being a nation of modest size, Norwegian universities and colleges offer quality education which enhances the career possibilities of international students, both in Norway and abroad. If you are planning to go to Norway for your higher studies, then you will most probably be heading to one of the following study cities - 

  • Oslo - The University of Oslo ranked 135th in the QS World University Rankings 2019
  • Bergen - the City of Seven Mountains, is home to the country’s famous fjords
  • Tromsø - home to the famous aurora borealis (Northern Lights)
  • Trondheim - old city with a rich cultural heritage
  • Kristiansand - the business capital of southern Norway

By the end of this article you will have gained an insight into the a) Culture, b) Linguistic Landscape, c) Food & Drink d) Security & Safety; aspects that will give you less of a culture shock when you arrive in the new country for your higher studies!

Cultural Scenario

Norwegians form the dominant part of the population, including a small Sami community with a fraction of Europeans and other ethnic groups. Norwegian society is modern; therefore, equality is rooted in both legislation and tradition. Norway widely participates in and contributes to the culture and its growth. Its history of art and literature has many cultural heavyweights such as Edvard Munch and Henrik Ibsen to its credit. Norway is a renowned hub and exporter of black metal music. Another global hit has been the Nordic noir literary genre, led by the authors Jo Nesbø and Karin Fossum, among others.

Religious Make-Up-

The significant religion of the population is Christianity (Lutheran Church of Norway). Other religious sects include Roman Catholic, other Christian, and Muslim.

Leisure Activities - 

As a student in Norway, you will have plenty of possibilities for unique nature experiences. Besides, plenty of leisure activities are present for international students -

  • Music Festivals - Festivals like Bergen International Festival & Øya festival in Oslo attract top performers from all over the world
  • Cultural Festivals - Vinjerock, The Peer Gynt Festival by Gålåvatnet, Bukta festival, and the Træna festival are events worth experiencing. 
  • Sports - Football (soccer), cross-country skiing and handball rank among the most popular sports, while running, cycling and swimming are common too. 
  • Extreme sports - Places like Bergen is fantastic for some of the extreme sports: rock climbing, rafting, mountain bike racing, parachuting, scuba diving, Freeskiing, kiteboarding, and BASE jumping.
  • Traditional Art - Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo Opera House, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra are some of the places that will take you closer to the real culture of the country.
  • Volunteering It is present in everything from sports and culture to neighborhood and initiatives in society. Norwegian culture ‘dugnad’ is a work characterized by a joint voluntary effort where workers are often rewarded with food and drink.  Volunteer work also creates a sense of community – and is often social and fun.
  • Nature Escape - At most places, semi-wilderness is just an hour’s walk away from the city center. Fjords like Geiranger Fjord and the Nærøy fjord, glaciers in the west and the North, there is midnight sun in summer in Northern Norway, waterfalls and beautiful islands, Norway has got it all.

Climate -

The warm Gulf Stream implies Norway isn’t as cold as you might think. Coastal areas are relatively mild and average winter temperatures rarely go below -4 Degrees (24.8oF) in the capital city Oslo, so you can go out without turning blue. Interior regions experience a much colder summer, with rains year-round on the west coast.

Campus Culture - 

When it comes to the cost of living, Norway is among the most expensive countries in Europe. However, it has topped the list of countries when it comes to the satisfaction of international students with their decision to opt Norway. Here are a few elements of life in a Norweigian campus -

  • Feel Welcomed - Unlike the weather that is quite cold for most of the year, Norwegians are very warm in their welcome. The universities have a strong focus on helping international students get used to the new country, its culture, and support them in both academic and personal matters.
  • No Difference in Education Fee - While public universities in Norway are generally free, the international students, regardless if they are members of the EU/EEA or not, will never pay more than the native Norwegian students even at private universities.
  • Close Student-Professor Relationship - Universities at Norway make a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere, as students are encouraged to speak with professors, ask and advice about lectures, coursework or assessments. 
  • Study and work - International students are allowed to work part-time jobs for up to 20 hours per week during semesters and full-time during holidays, on their student visa.
  • Enjoy a high standard environment - Students benefit from high technological standards and services, modern facilities and equipment not only on-campus but off-campus too.

Linguistic Landscape

Bokmål Norwegian and Nynorsk Norwegian are the two official languages. Sámi and Finnish-speaking minorities also co-exist. But the good news is that many Norwegians speak English as a second language, so it’s easy to communicate in daily life. 

A wide range of courses and programs are available in English for international students. If you are a non-native-English student, you will find your English skills improve during your time in Norway, while if you are a native-English student, then you won’t get bored. 

You will find the Norwegian language has two written forms also: Bokmål used by the majority and, Nynorsk used mostly in the very south.

Communication Culture

Norway appreciates modest people. So avoid being boastful as you will come across as rude. This nature stems from a cultural tradition known as Janet Law, which presents a series of traditional Norwegian values.

Food & Drink

As Norway is a leading producer and the world’s second-largest exporter of seafood, after China, most of its cuisine revolves around fresh seafood. Though fresh fruits and vegetables are also available throughout the year. 

  • Some of the traditional foods are Lefse, Kumla, Lutefisk, Whale Steak, Pickled Herring, and Krumkake.
  • National Dish of Norway is Fårikål.
  • Plenty of stores are there, specializing in Asian foods from China, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, India, etc. offering a lot of variety.
  • Students usually spend around 240 EUR on food per month. If you learn how to cook, then this cost will considerably go down, given the discounts in grocery stores are good.
  • Eating out is considerably expensive. It will cost you around 20 EUR in an inexpensive restaurant and 65 EUR in an average one, for a meal of two excluding the cost of the drinks.
  • For a student-friendly budget, there are always fast-food restaurants with a diverse menu.
  • Oslo has become one of the best specialty coffee cities in the world for its light roast. Coffee lovers out there would love this Study experience in Norway!

Security

Norway is ranked 9th among the world's safest countries. So undoubtedly, it is very, very reliable. The greatest threat is the harsh environmental conditions, especially in the Northern part of the country and during winters. People need to be careful while hiking in the mountains or on the sea. Let us take a look at the kind of risks - 

PICKPOCKETS RISK: Some pickpocket-related danger is present, especially in Oslo and Bergen.

MUGGING RISK: The chances of being mugged or kidnapped are average.

SCAMS RISK: Be aware of the “gold ring” tricks, fake petitions, groups of teenagers trying to distract you; and people offering help with your luggage in tourist cities.

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: Transports and taxis are very safe 

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: Some occasional natural hazards can be there.

TERRORISM RISK: Terrorists have not yet targeted Norway, but it is advised to stay vigilant as other European countries have been targeted.

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: Women can travel very safely.

Life in Norway is a challenging yet rewarding experience. High academic standards, innovative teaching methods, approachable lecturers, and enhanced career prospects, are among the top reasons why students choose Norway as their study destination.

What are you still waiting for? Explore your Study opportunities in Norway today! All the Best !!!


Priya Negi
Student Guidance Counselor & Avid Blogger
Priya Negi
Student Guidance Counselor & Avid Blogger

I am a Post-Grad in Finance who chose to quit my 5 years of Corporate job to eventually add value through words than numbers. I love helping my clients create fresh & innovative content that convey their brand value. My recent association with PlanAll enabled me to guide & counsel students academically towards making meaningful career choices. When I'm not writing, I can be found fulfilling the demands of my chirpy toddler at home.

Jeevan Rawat
September 12, 2019 - 09:51am
Jeevan Rawat September 12, 2019 - 09:51am

Wow....Really nice info about living in Norway.

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