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READERS REVEAL: The best tips to help you settle in Norway 

Norway has recently been ranked as one of the hardest countries for foreigners to settle in. The Local's readers have shared their favourite tips and tricks to help you feel more at home in the Scandinavian country. 

This is what you can do to feel more settled into life in Norway.
This is what you can do to feel more settled into life in Norway. Pictured is somebody enjoying the Norwegian scenery. Photo by Nick Scheerbart on Unsplash

One of the biggest challenges when moving to another country involves settling in and adapting to your new surroundings. 

For some foreign residents, Norway can be a tough cookie to crack as it has been ranked as one of the most challenging countries for foreigners to settle in by the Expat Insider 2022 survey published by InterNations

Thankfully, The Local’s readers have been in touch in their hundreds and provided us with their favourite tips, tricks and advice for feeling at home in Norway. 

 Getting to grips with Norwegian is a must

There’s no way of getting around it, according to our readers, you will have to roll up your sleeves and get good and stuck in with the language. 

Learning the language was the most common suggestion from those who shared their advice on settling into Norway. 

“Learn Norwegian and keep on learning every day. It will be easier to find friends, understand the culture and feel integrated in the society,” Dianna, from Romania but who has lived in Norway for six and a half years, said in response to our survey. 

Learning Norwegian by going to language classes also comes with other perks, such as meeting potential friends. This is especially beneficial as in an earlier survey, having trouble making friends was a common reason our readers thought it difficult to settle in Norway. 

Norskkurs (Norwegian language class) is a good place to make friends,” Marie, who lives in Trøndaleg but comes from England, said. 

Given that Norwegian courses can be costly, one reader shared a piece of advice on getting around splashing out for tuition.

“If you have a job, make them pay for a government-approved Norskkurs if you can,” one reader who moved to Norway from the USA five years ago said. 

Staying active and joining clubs

As well as learning Norwegian, many of The Local’s readers suggested joining clubs or volunteer groups to help you meet others and feel at home. 

“Find organisations with specific interests and volunteer there. It will still be as hard to befriend locals, but you’ll start building a network (mostly foreigners),” Raf from Mexico suggested. 

“Learn the local language as quickly as possible and try to be a part of social groups where you can help people that need help. This way you make professional connections and friends,” Gaganmeet from India said. 

Some, unlike Raf, felt that being part of a club helped them connect with locals. 

“Look for local groups, for example, I subscribed to a dance class where there were only Norwegians, and I made friends with them,” Timea, who lives in Bergen but hails from Hungary, said. 

Some said taking up Norwegian pass times and getting stuck in could help you form lifelong friendships with the locals. 

“Take up common local activities like hiking, cycling, skiing, swimming etc., enjoying nature. Attend various activities around the city- get involved in dugnad. Most importantly, show up, and once they get to know you, they are really good friends that you will have for life,” Taiyeba, who has lived in Norway for seven years, said. 

Have kids? 

This may not be the best way for everyone to feel settled, but for our readers from the UK, it seemed like having children was the answer. 

“Have children,” A British national from Oslo said. 

“Learn the language. Learn the language. Learn the language. Get a job. Have kids. Get involved with fritidsklubber,” one Brit living in Halden responded to our survey. 

Meanwhile, another reader, not from the UK (we think), stopped short of saying that you should have kids to feel at home but said finding a smaller community and activities for your kids could help you feel content with life in Norway. 

“Don’t settle in Oslo or Bergen. Choose a smaller town where you or your children can join a local sports club and do volunteer work,” Toke from Telemark said. 

Fix the practical stuff as soon as you can 

Many readers suggested that getting practical affairs in order, in addition to other things, was a key part of bedding in. 

“Get a job first, don’t job hunt after coming here, then work on other aspects like language etc,” Sanjeev, who has lived in Norway for four years, said. 

“Get a BankID and Vipps asap and invest into a language course, make friends at work, go to interest clubs and organised social events, explore hiking and winter sports,” Alexy, who moved to Oslo from Russia, said. 

“Whatever you can organise visa-wise in advance, do it. It takes six months minimum for a family visa to be approved in order to work. Have a good chunk of change available in case you can’t get a job,” Annora from Kløfta, suggested. 

Don’t be afraid of relying on other foreign residents

Many made a point of getting yourself out there and doing your best to mingle with the locals and adapt to the culture the best you can. 

But that doesn’t mean you should be put off from leaning on your fellow foreigners now and again. 

“Join a group even if it is a group of predominately your own nationals,” Elizabeth from Stavanger said. 

“Try to find potential friends among ex-pat group members,” Sandro from Croatia advised. 

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READER INSIGHTS

‘Need more bike lanes’: What it’s like to cycle in Norway

Cycling is an environmentally friendly way to get around and keep fit. But, what's it like to get in the saddle in Norway? Here's what The Local's readers had to say. 

'Need more bike lanes': What it's like to cycle in Norway

When many think of a Scandinavian city, they can’t help but think of a clean, modern environment where everyone gets around on bikes in all weather. 

This reputation is primarily due to Norway’s neighbour, Denmark. So what’s it like getting around on Norwegian roads on a bike? Is it a complete nightmare, or can it go toe-to-toe with the cyclist’s haven of Copenhagen? 

According to The Local’s readers, it stacks up pretty well. In a recent survey, we ran, 75 percent of those who responded said that Norway was a safe country to cycle in. 

Our results contrast with a recent survey reported in the newspaper Aftenposten, where less than a third said they thought that Oslo was a safe city to cycle. 

In addition to thinking it was safe, our readers also said that they believed Norway was a good country for cyclists in general, with more than three-quarters of those who got in touch saying they thought it was a great country to bike in. 

“I cycle to work every day across Oslo and go out for longer tours at the weekend. Drivers are usually pretty considerate. The only real issue I’ve noticed is that people really don’t use their indicators much here. Compared to cycling in London though it’s wonderful here, the cycle lane infrastructure is fantastic,” Simon, who has lived in Oslo for five years, said. 

Another Oslo resident said that the capital was good but still didn’t quite match up to Denmark yet.

“Oslo, where I live now, is becoming a lot better. I have lived in the UK, which was similar, France where I did not bike, and Denmark, which was great,” Anne Kristine, who has lived in Oslo for 12 years, but hails from Trondheim, said.

Pat, who lives in West Yorkshire but spent a month in Norway on a cycling holiday, praised Norway’s drivers. 

“The Norwegian drivers are incredibly polite and respectful of cyclists,” Pat said.

READ ALSO: What do foreigners think of the Norwegian healthcare system?

However, not everyone was impressed with the drivers. 

“Frequent overtaking on blind bends on country roads (is an issue),” Anthony, who lives in Rogaland, wrote. 

Similarly, in a recent survey of cyclists in Norway by Trygg Trafikk and Tryg Forsikring, one of the most common issues reported was drivers not paying enough attention. 

The biggest complaint about cycling in Norway among The Local’s readers was the lack of cycle paths. 

“There are not enough bikeway paths in Norway. It can become dangerous for the cyclists, especially with fast drivers going over the speed limit and also large lastebiler (freight trucks),” Joanie, who lives in Buskerud, but is originally from California, said. 

One reader from Berlin also had an issue with the lack of dedicated cycle lanes in Norway. 

“Not enough dedicated cycling lanes. Especially dangerous on roads shared with a tram,” the reader, who didn’t leave their name, said when asked about their experience of cycling in Norway. 

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