Safe but pricey: What international residents think of life in Norway

With the challenges of settling in, finding work, making friends and earning a living, life in a new country can be equally daunting and rewarding. But what do foreign residents think about life in Norway?

Safe but pricey: What international residents think of life in Norway
Bergen after dark. Photo by Fredrik Bedsvaag on Unsplash

Norway is far too expensive, and it’s hard for its foreign residents to settle into life in the Nordic country, according to the InterNations Expat Insider survey

Overall, Norway ranks 38th out of 59 countries in the survey which ranks international residents happiness in various aspects of life. 

Work was the most common reason for people relocating to Norway, the survey found, with around a third of those who uprooted to Norway doing so because of work.

Norway may be about to edge out Paris as the new capital of love, however. More than a quarter of those who moved to the Scandinavian country did so because of love.  

If you disagree with these findings please take a moment to tell us what you think of life in Norway in our own survey below.

Safe and serene- but a little bit dull

Despite its below-average ranking overall, Norway ranked high for quality of life. 

The country sits just outside the top ten for working abroad and quality of life, coming in at 11th and 12th respectively.

Furthermore, 84 percent of respondents to the survey said they are happy with their workload and hours. This puts Norway second overall, behind neighbouring Denmark. 

Respondents to the survey are also satisfied with the economy in Norway, with 82 percent of those surveyed responding positively.

Norway’s performance in the Expat Insider survey. Source: InterNation

In addition to this, those who moved to Norway are delighted with their surroundings, with 99 percent of people responding positively to the natural environment. 

Safety is another perk of life in Norway, with the country ranking 7th for safety and security. 

The country ranks in the bottom five for leisure activities and one in four-judge the available leisure activities unfavourably. 

Hard to settle and high cost of living

Norway is 51st out of 58 in terms of settling in, and 59 percent of foreign residents who responded found it hard to make friends with Norwegians. A further 27 percent think the local population is generally unfriendly. 

READ MORE: Immigrants in Norway more likely to be affected by loneliness

In addition to this, the country is in the bottom ten when it comes to personal finance and second to last when ranked on the cost of living. 

The majority who made the switch to Norway also felt the cost of living was far too high. 

The impact of Covid-19 on life in Norway 

More than ten percent of those who upped sticks to Norway said that the most significant impact of the coronavirus pandemic was on their finances.

 The pandemic has also affected foreign residents’ lives on an individual level as well as an economic one. 

Over one third said that their travel was severely limited by coronavirus restrictions. Another 30 percent said that their social life had suffered due to the pandemic; both figures are higher than the worldwide average.

InterNations is a networking group comprising of four million members in 420 cities around the world.

For its annual Expat Insider survey, InterNation asked 12,400 foreign residents in 59 countries to provide information on various aspects of life and asked them to rate 37 different aspects of life in these countries. 

These were put into five categories, quality of life, ease of settling, working abroad, personal finance and cost of living.  

How are you finding life in Norway? We’d love to hear from you: please take a minute to fill out our questionnaire. 

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What are the current rules for Covid-19 self-isolation in Norway?

Norway's government have updated the country's self-isolation rules a few time in recent weeks. The latest changes mean less people will have to quarantine after being identified as a close contact.

Pictured is a house in Drøbak, south-eastern Norway.
These are the rules for self-isolation in Norway. Pictured is a house in Drøbak, south-eastern Norway. Photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen on Unsplash

From Friday, January 14th, Norway’s self-isolation rules will change, and far fewer people will be required to quarantine as a result. 

“In the next few months, many will be infected, and sickness absence will be high. All companies and businesses need to prepare for it. Plans must be made to maintain the most normal operation possible in a demanding situation. The changes the government is now making in the requirements for infection quarantine will contribute to more people being able to live normally, even though there is a lot of infection in society,” Ingvil Kjerkol, health minister, said of the new rules in a government announcement.

Does the Covid variant affect the self-isolation period? 

The quarantine rules and length of time you need to self-isolate for will not change depending on which variant of Covid-19 you contract. 

Who has to quarantine? 

For obvious reasons, those who test positive for Covid-19 will be required to self-isolate. After that, those who share a household with the infected person, including flatmates who share a common kitchen and bathroom, will also need to quarantine themselves.

However, under the new rules, other close contacts will not need to self-isolate after coming into contact with somebody infected with Covid. Instead, they are asked to take tests on day’s 3 and 5 after being identified as a close contact. Furthermore, they will need to watch for symptoms for ten days and begin isolating if any signs or symptoms appear. 

Anyone who has spent more than 15 minutes and within two metres of somebody who tests positive for Covid is considered a close contact. 

Close contacts are typically friends, colleagues or classmates. However, contact tracing services will also consider those sitting nearby in restaurants and the like as close contacts. This applies regardless of vaccination status. 

READ ALSO: What are Norway’s Covid rules this Christmas?

How long is the isolation period? 

People who return a positive coronavirus test will need to quarantine themselves for six days starting from when they tested positive. The isolation will be a minimum of six days but will not end until the person has been fever-free for at least 24 hours without using fever-reducing medicine. 

Household members and partners will need to isolate themselves before testing after seven days. 

As mentioned earlier, other close contacts are no longer required to quarantine. 

If the test returns positive, then the quarantine rules will apply for those infected with the virus. 

What are the rules in quarantine? 

You will need to stay at home and only perform necessary errands that others can not do. This means you can’t go to work and you need to avoid public transport. 

You can go for a walk, but you need to distance yourself from others. 

You will also need to social distance at home, stay in a separate room and use a different bathroom if possible. You are also encouraged to frequently clean surfaces that are often touched. 

Is anybody exempt? 

There is no exemption from self-isolating as a household member or close contact if you are vaccinated. However, some groups are exempt. 

Everyone who has had Covid-19 in the previous three months can skip the isolation period. The same goes for those who have received a booster vaccine dose at least a week before coming into contact with someone with Covid. Instead, they will need to test themselves each day with a rapid home test or a PCR test carried out by a health professional every other day for seven days. 

Employees who have essential societal functions are not required to isolate, provided they test negative before starting work throughout the isolation period. 

Close contacts under 18 years of age will not need to isolate but are recommended to test for Covid-19.