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Quality of life For Members

READERS REVEAL: Is Oslo a good city for international residents? 

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected] • 8 Sep, 2022 Updated Thu 8 Sep 2022 16:13 CEST
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Is Oslo a good city for foreigners? Here's what The Local's readers had to say. Pictured is Oslo Opera House. Photo by Darya Tryfanava on Unsplash

The Local asked its readers whether the Norwegian capital, Oslo, was a good city for foreigners to live in. Here's what they had to say. 

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Oslo is the city in Norway with the most foreign residents. Over a quarter of its residents were immigrants or born to foreign parents as of 2020, figures from Statistics Norway show. 

As Norway's capital, it makes for a logical place for foreigners to live when they first come to Norway due to the job opportunities on offer. 

But, is it a good place for international residents to call home and maybe settle down, or should they steer clear and consider somewhere else? 

Yes, is the resounding answer The Local's readers gave when asked by us in a survey. Of those who responded, just over 80 percent said the city was a great place for foreign residents to live. 

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Residents listed many things when asked by The Local what the best things about Oslo were. 

One of the most common was how easy it was to get by with just English when they first made the move. 

"Nice restaurants & bars, international environment, literally everyone is an English speaker. Beautiful city, good weather (Norwegian weather-wise)," Alizera, who has lived in Oslo for three years, said when asked to list the things that made the capital a good city for international residents. 

Sonia from Portugal, who has lived in Norway for one year, said Oslo was the perfect city for families. 

"Perfect for families with kids, many green places and playgrounds," Sonia wrote. 

The close proximity to the great outdoors was noted by other readers too. Abby, who relocated to Oslo from the US recently, said that the ease of getting to nature spots without a car helped make the capital a great city. 

"Job opportunities, access to different cultures and languages (restaurants, English speaking churches, friends from different countries), public transport for those without a car, access to nature for those without a car," Abby wrote about the positives of life in Oslo. 

No city is perfect, and this rings true for Oslo, where not everything was plain sailing for our readers. 

Marcello from Italy said adapting to the Norwegian culture could make Oslo a tricky place to get used to. 

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Being a city of just over 630,000, Oslo is on the smaller side compared to other European capitals. Something that readers themselves picked up on as a downside. 

"(Oslo is) expensive, maybe a little small and low population. It doesn't give you the big city feel, there's not much going on all the time, and usually post 8pm, there's nothing to look forward to," Alizera said.

Although not everyone was put-off by Oslo's small size, John from Ireland wrote that it was actually one of the city's positives.

"Safety (is a positive). (Oslo is) Small enough to walk around. Great transportation. Great place to raise children," he wrote. 

And while many people find the level of English proficiency in the city welcoming, others pointed out that it may hinder their ability to settle in the long term. 

"It's easy to get by in Oslo without ever learning Norwegian. I see this as a negative instead because you aren't being pushed to integrate," Abby wrote, adding that finding an apartment in Oslo could also be difficult. 

Finally, it wouldn't be a survey on the quality of life in Norway without people bringing up the high prices. 

The cost of living was the most common answer listed when readers were asked either what could be better or what made Oslo a difficult place for foreigners to settle. 

Tathagat, from India, wrote that the cost of language courses, rent and food was a problem in the city. 

"Dark winters can be harsh for some, home rental prices, food prices, not enough seats for the language tests, not enough adult language schools (and language classes are not free for most immigrants planning to work)," Tathagat wrote. 

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Frazer Norwell 2022/09/08 16:13

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