Expats say it's not just Norway's weather that's cold

The Local Norway
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Expats say it's not just Norway's weather that's cold
Plenty of nature and free time, but can you find a Norwegian friend to join you? Photo: saipal/Flickr"

Norway is the best country in the world for expats who want a healthy work-life balance, but if you want to use your time away from the office with friends, you're out of luck.


That's the main take-away for Norway in the InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey, released in full on Monday. 
Although the Nordic nation was the named the best country for work-life balance and excelled in areas such as security, health and the environment, it was ranked just 43rd overall in the survey comparing expats' quality of life in 67 different countries.
Like its Nordic neighbours, it was in the bottom ten in the category of 'Ease of Settling In', in which expatriates, which is the term used in the survey, revealed how easy they had found it to adapt to their adopted homes. Norway was 63rd in that category, while Sweden was 62nd and Finland 59th.
Denmark is the hardest place in the Nordics for expats to settle in, coming in at number 65 and ranking dead last in the sub-category of making friends with locals.
Norway did not fare much better, as the survey declared it the second worst nation for making friends. It was also just the 63rd 'friendliest' country for expats, the same lowly ranking it achieved for making expats feel welcome.  
"When it comes to feeling at home in the local culture, expats in Norway feel the strain with 42 percent rating this factor negatively, almost double the global average (22 percent)," InterNations wrote in a press release. 
"Making new friends also poses a challenge for foreign residents living in the Nordic countries. In fact, 43 percent of expats in Norway and 38 percent in Denmark agree that they have trouble making new friends in these countries," it continued. 
While expats in Norway report having a difficult time finding friends and feeling welcome, they are considerably more satisfied when it comes to their family lives. In a complementary Family Life Index released in conjunction with the survey, Norway was ranked sixth out of 45 included countries (click image below for larger version). 
Norway ranked very high on both the affordability and availability of childcare and education, though foreign parents were less satisfied with the quality of education their children receive in Norwegian institutions. 
"While the country is seen positively in relation to the costs and availability of childcare and education, it does not have such good rating for the quality of education. The country comes 26th for this with 21 percent of expat parents saying the quality is overall bad compared to the global average of 18 percent," the Family Life Index read. 
"Those who live in the country are, however, happy with their children's well-being and health and safety. In fact, 91 percent rate their children's health as overall good and they have nothing bad to say about their children's safety. Furthermore, just six percent have something negative to say about their children's well-being in the country," it continued.
The survey by InterNations, which defines 'expats' as people who live in a different country than the one they were born in or whose nationality they have, quizzed some 14,300 people of 174 nationalities in 191 countries about various aspects of their lives. Only sample sizes of at least 50 respondents per country were used in the final report.



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