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READERS REVEAL: Is Norway really one of the worst countries for foreigners?

Frazer Norwell
Frazer Norwell - [email protected]
READERS REVEAL: Is Norway really one of the worst countries for foreigners?
Is life for foreign residents in Norway really that bad? Pictured is a person hiking on a Norwegian mountain. Photo by Filip Toroński on Unsplash

Norway has recently been ranked one of the worst countries for foreigners. Readers of The Local shared their views on whether life in Norway is really that bad.

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Norway has been rated the worst Nordic country and second worst in the world for foreign residents by the InterNations Expat Insider survey.

The country received its lowly ranking for being expensive, it being hard to make friends and challenging to settle in. Furthermore, many shared that the money they made wasn't enough to live a comfortable life.

READ ALSO: How much money do you need to earn for a good life in Norway?

Overall, just 61 percent of those who took part in the Expat Insider survey said they were happy with life in the country.

When it comes to The Local's own readers, 31 percent said that the country deserves to be ranked one of the worst in the world. A further 23 percent said that while Norway didn't deserve to be ranked so low, life in the country still wasn't great.

The remaining 44.7 percent disagreed with the ranking and responded to the survey by saying that they thought life in the county was pretty great.

Meanwhile, 53 percent said they were happy with life in the country, while the rest said they were unhappy.

Luk Warlop, a professor of consumer behaviour living in Oslo, said that there were a number of positive aspects of living in Norway which outweighed the negatives.

"Clean air, no pollution, few cars, beautiful nature, nice people leaving you in peace, it all makes us feel at ease and happy. It is, of course, expensive to live here, but it's worth it," Warlop said when asked what made them happy or unhappy with life in Norway.

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Nature and work-life balance were two of the most common pros foreign residents in Norway listed.

"Pace of life and work-life balance are great. Nature and the outdoors are beautiful. Norwegian people are actually friendly when you make an effort to befriend them. Norwegians not questioning the government's failures and uncontrolled housing and food costs are not good," A South African reader living in the surrounding areas of Oslo said when asked what the pros and cons of living in Norway were.

Anda, from Romania, said that moving to Norway allowed them to secure a well-paying job they had always wanted.

"I quickly received the recognition of my studies as well as the residence papers in Norway. More than that, I was helped by work integration programs. Personally, Norway gave me a chance to get the job I wanted, and I am also well-paid. What I don't like is that it's a bit cold and that some services are a bit expensive," she said.

Given that the cost of living was mentioned even by those who were happy in the country and saw their long-term future in Norway, it's no surprise that it featured heavily among those who were unhappy.

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"Compared to Australia, where I have lived, the living cost is higher, but the average salary is lower. Also, there are not many things to enjoy for free. Of course, nature is free, but public transport to reach this area is still expensive. To enjoy the Flåm Railway or (a trip to see the) northern lights costs more than going to Paris, for example," An Indonesian student living in Norway wrote.

Another common theme among those unhappy with Norway was that it was harder to progress your career and be treated on an equal footing to locals; this was also something that was flagged up in the Expat Insider report.

" (I am) unable to find work because I do not speak Norwegian and workplaces are discriminatory towards foreigners. In general, the society does not like or is suspicious of foreigners. I have volunteered in some workplaces in order to learn more Norwegian and subsequently had terrible experiences of exclusion and indifference," a different reader from South Africa said.

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They added that they also found it hard to connect with the locals and that statistics and the authorities ignored or didn't address racism.

Difficulty making friends was another issue that was common among those who weren't happy in the country and didn't see a long-term future for themselves in Norway.

"Norwegians are unfriendly to foreign people. It is very hard to make friends. The language is hard to learn. (The) food is not as good as other countries," one reader from Brazil said.

However, many of those who were happier with life in the country said that making friends with the locals was possible if one was willing to put in the effort and that Norwegians could actually be quite friendly.

Despite the readers who responded to the survey being split on whether Norway deserved its low ranking and whether or not life in the country made them happy, the overwhelming majority did say they saw their future here. Some 68 percent of respondents said they saw themselves staying in Norway for me than five years.

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Comments (1)

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Arjen 2023/07/13 18:17
Norway has many fantastic trades; gorgeous nature, people are very respectful of your privacy and space and a good social security system. I love living here and am very grateful for it. There are however things Norway should really address imo and one in particular; the protective attitude towards own farmers and as such the ridiculous prices of fresh food, the shortage of food offering (compare a Norwegian supermarket with one in Denmark or Nederland and you understand what I mean here).

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