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Let me just say that the differences between the different parts of the country is huge! I did read this blog and its fun to read answerswith quite difference experiences. Your city. I met family in the Fredickstad area last year. In fact, it is important those dialects, as it helps you understand mor people more easily.
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This can be a huge obstacle since many people may only receive their first job offers from smaller companies or startups. For more info, check out the complete guide to moving to Norway. In Norway, 32 percent of the population has a higher education. The competition for jobs is intense and although most Norwegians would deny it, this is a highly nationalistic country.
This is often made even more difficult by the fact that extremely few of those foreigners seeking jobs here have any proficiency in speaking, writing and understanding Norwegian. Language is often the biggest barrier to finding work because even though English is spoken and understood by almost everyone here, Norwegian is the language used in business.
Summary: The odds are stacked against you but not unbeatable if you are committed: speaking norsk is an important skill, most people here are highly educated, Norwegians tend to hire their own and you must meet many UDI immigration requirements for employment. Do your homework before you move here and be sure to maximize your chances by networking, attending events and volunteering. Make use of every possible opportunity to get in front of decision makers and hiring managers directly.
I will try to write another blog soon about finding work in Norway, since this is a very common question topic from many people. If you are not from an EU-member country, you generally have one year from the date that you receive residency to trade in your driving license for a Norwegian one… and you ONLY get one attempt.
After that first year or first attempt, you must take some very expensive courses and a difficult theoretical written exam before trying again. To start, you must first sign up with the Norwegian road service Statens Vegvesen and carefully review all pertinent information on their website. In Norway, driving is a privilege and not a right. You will be graded very carefully. If you take the test in an automatic car, you can ONLY drive automatic cars, which is problematic because most vehicles here are manual. I failed mostly because I did not have enough practice driving manual vehicles, which led me to be a little nervous and forget some things.
So, if you choose to take the test in a manual car, be sure that you are very proficient. There are also lots of roundabouts here, so practice driving on those often. You can also practice with a local driving school. They are often familiar with people trying to trade in a license.
It is worth the money spent for an instructor to pass the test on the first time. Simply do a google search for driving schools in your area, and shop around for the one that suits you best. Practice plenty and if you are going to drive a manual car, ensure you are proficient.
Driving schools can be an excellent place to get feedback and practice… remember, the real test is one-try only. Start getting your documents in order and begin to visit the Statens Vegvesen near you as soon as you arrive.
UDI is the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration and they are initially responsible for all immigration -related matters. To be honest, I have had nothing but great experiences with them. They are polite and helpful. However, they also have a job to do and they do not like to waste time. If you call or visit their office, have notes on what you would like to discuss and have all of your paperwork neatly prepared in a folder.
Moving to Norway is not easy; however, it is not necessarily difficult either. In fact, my first application for residency was denied due to a minor error on my part and it almost caused me severe problems. All of the information you will need is clearly provided on the UDI website so be sure to review that thoroughly. If you need to contact and speak with someone, it usually takes about minutes of waiting but they are generally positive and helpful on the phone. Whether you are moving here for work, family, study, asylum, or other purposes, these are the folks who will handle all of that.
There is a fair amount of paperwork for immigration so be sure to complete the checklists provided for your specific needs.
They are strict but law is law for a reason. Read properly, learn everything you need, prepare detailed questions, follow the instructions and keep all of your documents neatly ordered and you should have no problems. Learning new languages is never easy. Therefore, it will be important for you to study and learn as quickly as possible.
There are several ways to do this. Visit your local library. The libraries have a wealthy selection of language books, guides, CDs, and other resources. Even as a non-resident, it is easy to get a library card. Just bring a photo ID and ask the librarian. They generally split everyone up into beginner, medium and advanced groups. Norwegian libraries also offer free computers where you can use the internet or language software. The big benefit of this is that these courses are free; however, the drawback is that they usually take place during work hours.
NTNU offers a great online norsk course for free. Simply follow that hyperlink, browse around and begin learning. There are several chapters of material, vocabulary, exams, listening exercises, grammar and other useful tools. The downside is that without a personal instructor, your learning pace may be a bit slower. The Norwegian Folk University offers language courses from beginner to intermediate and advanced for a variety of different purposes and skills.
These are in-person classroom type lessons with instructors. Simply select your location, find the course appropriate for you, sign up and begin attending classes on your chosen start date at the location given. If you want to find out which course is right for you, you can take this online self-assesment exam , which I highly recommend.
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Get out there and start doing whatever it takes to learn quickly. It will pay dividends in the long-run. However, the disparities in income are also much smaller than in most parts of the world. In the US, everything you need is expensive and everything you want is cheap. Norwegians commonly travel across the border to Sweden for things like candy, alcohol and tobacco or to other countries, such as the US, to purchase luxury items. Nonetheless, some things, such as frozen salmon are usually as cheap as about a dollar per filet.
I believe that I spend about the same in a month here on groceries as I did while living in the USA but my food selection is much more limited also. Likewise, for most people who really enjoy dining out or other things, there always seems to be room in the budget somehow. Expensive food with a limited selection in most stores is definitely a downside to living here sometimes. Summary: Yes, Norway is very expensive.
However, the pay is generally quite good and the income inequality is much lower than in most countries. It is not at all hard to get by on an average wage but you will likely have to be a bit more careful with how many nights a week you go out partying. I consider myself a pretty friendly guy… I talk to random strangers, sit next to people even when there are open seats on the bus and I pretty much always have an easy time making friends.
It is a very conservative culture in social settings. I also work at an awesome startup which easily netted me 16 new close companions. So, I would definitely say that making friends here has been harder.
Katrine and I try at least once a month to invite everyone over for a barbecue, camping trip, game night or whatever else we can come up with but we usually invite about 20 and end up with 4. However, the friends that I have made are really great people of incredible quality and character. So, what more could you really ask for?
Be outgoing, fun and spontaneous. Be kind, be genuine, share a smile, laugh a lot and it will all work itself out. Bonus points if you like to ski, because that makes it much easier. Coming from warm and sunny California to Norway has been a bit of a change in terms of weather. We get half a year of lots of sunshine and half a year with lots of darkness. The summers can be equally unpredictable with some very warm and sunny days and sometimes weeks at a time with nothing but rain and cold. It seems like summer here never fully comes, it just kind of teases and then turns back into winter again.
The cold, to be honest, is usually a good thing because it means snow. Snow not only means skiing but it also means less darkness as the fresh white powder reflects light and creates a beautiful glow. In the US, I loooove to drink good beer. Well, in Norway it really does get expensive fast and although the craft brewing is on the rise here, the selection is still minimal. In addition, it is not legal to sell alcohol above 4. Anything over that, you have to head to the vinmonopolet wine and liquor store.
The prices there are pretty high as well but the selection is usually decent. My usual work-around is to pick up 3 liters of wine and a bottle of scotch at the duty free every time I take an international flight. On the upside, I drink much less beer in Norway and spend much less money on alcohol than I do in the states.