30 Things You Should Know Before Moving To Norway

Planning a move or visit to Norway? We lived there. Check out our Norway stories and resources.

From time to time we get emails from readers asking us questions ahead of their own moves to Norway or because they are in the process of applying for a visa. Some are still making the decision on whether to move here at all. The other day I was chatting with fellow expat, Megan Starr, of A Suitcase and Stilettos, and we decided to put together a list of things that we wish we'd have known before settling in Norway.

17 may norway

Celebrations on Norway's National Day, 17 May. All photos in this post from morgueFile.

After being here a year I feel like I've gotten to know the place very well. That said, I also feel like I don't understand it at all. While on the surface Norway can seem somewhat similar to Australia or the United States, I assure you that the culture is quite different. I am constantly getting used to things here, which is, of course, the nature of the life of any expat. I have been working hard at seeing some of the items below as being neither good nor bad, just simply the way they are. Though some have definitely been more challenging than others.

1. The honesty policy is alive and well in Norway.

This is definitely one of the nicest things about living here for me. People seem to genuinely trust each other and sometimes I feel like I am living in a village instead of a city. Nowhere else in the world would I not hesitate to leave my purse at the table it a cafe while I go up to order a coffee. The other day we accidentally left an entire bag of groceries at the supermarket and went back two hours later to find it still sitting there. I paid cash at the dentist one time and they didn’t have any change. Instead of giving me a hard time about it, they took the largest bill I had and let me pay the rest on the next visit; I even offered to go and get some smaller bills from a shop nearby and that offer was dismissed with a smile and a wave of the hand.

2. Things can be very efficient here.

While some processes will seem slow or clunky, especially when dealing with government, many are fast, efficient and electronic. For example, Norway is quickly becoming a cashless society, where electronic banking and debit cards are fully integrated for easy bill payments. Many procedures are automated (imagine paying for your doctor's appointment via a machine at the office) and you can easily book services like hairdresser's appointments online. Because of the high cost to businesses when hiring employees, you'll find that many interactions are streamlined. Many practices won't have receptionists, for example - you simply seat yourself if you have an appointment and wait to be called. A place where this efficiency won't be found is at the supermarket, where you'll often line up for awhile because there are so few people working the checkout counters. I wonder when self-service checkout kiosks will find their way here - seems an anomaly that they haven't already been implemented.

READ  Four Things We Loved About Ireland

3. You may not be able to get a loan right away.

Norway has its own system of rating the credit-worthiness of individuals. If you are planning to buy a home here or need a car loan, you may find that you have to wait months or even years before you have established good credit. Check around with different banks because, depending on your situation, some may make exceptions or be able to accommodate you. In the meantime, be sure you have enough money to get your life in Norway started before arriving.

4. Taxes, taxes everywhere

In Norway you will constantly be paying taxes whether you are aware of them or not. This starts with the 25 per cent value-added tax (VAT or moms; 14 per cent for food and drink). Then there are property taxes, death (inheritance) taxes, fuel taxes, TV taxes, new car taxes, income taxes (at least 28 per cent) and the wealth tax (1.1 per cent on worldwide assets).

Norwegian outdoors winter

5. It can be difficult to be economical.

Forget about buying staple goods in bulk. Price competition is rare and importing things is not always a solution because of the VAT. Some things I really struggle with, such as the fact that many houses have electric heating instead of gas, which is more expensive.

6. Everything associated with cars and driving is expensive.

From exchanging your licence to the price of a car, to the taxes and fuel costs, driving is expensive in Norway. You have the annual motor vehicle tax, periodic road-worthiness tests, different tyres for different seasons and large fines for speeding. Despite having a good income, we have decided that it's too cost prohibitive to purchase a car given the relatively short amount of time we will spend in Norway. When you really need a car, there is always the option of renting one from Europe Car for example.

7. Trade unions and collective agreements make a difference.

Norway does not have a minimum wage. Instead, numerous trade unions exist across many professions and enterprises. They look after their members' interests and fight for improvements in pay and working conditions by creating collective agreements. If your workplace is bound by such an agreement, you will generally get paid more and have a better work environment. If the agreement has been given general application, its provisions will also apply to foreign workers and non-members.

8. You have to stay with a company for more than 12 months to keep the pension money you earned.

Should you change jobs before a year passes, the company has the option to have the private pension money returned to them.

READ  A Weekend In Turku: Saturday

norwegian train

9. You will want to learn Norwegian.

Many Norwegians speak English, but that doesn't mean they all want to. You won't have much trouble at the shops or when obtaining basic services if you speak English, but you won't get much further than that. Much will depend on where you work and the culture there. For example, if you work for an English or American company, you will probably be fine with English. In a Norwegian company, however, most of the employees will expect to speak Norwegian in social situations, even perhaps in meetings. This is true even when the work is done in English.

Your mail from companies in Norway will be in Norwegian. You will also encounter other non-English speaking foreigners to whom you may only be able to communicate in Norwegian. If you attend parties and social events, many people will be speaking Norwegian even if there are large numbers of English speakers present. So be sure you are happy to learn.

10. Sunday truly is a day of rest.

Most Norwegians do not work on Sundays. Trading hours are generally Monday through Saturday, with only the odd supermarket open on Sunday. Most offices are closed on Saturdays as well.

11. You will pay more for vitamins. A lot more.

Norway has extremely restrictive supplement regulations. High-dose vitamins require a prescription and the prices for the ones that are sold over the counter are exorbitant. If you're like me and take a lot of different vitamins, it's going to hit your pocketbook. A normal sized pack of 200 mg Vitamin C tablets, for example, will cost around US$25. On a positive note, the quality of the supplements sold in Norway is tightly regulated and supposedly high.

12. Norway is a great place to be a parent.

If you are paying taxes in Norway, the government will look after your children from the moment of conception. All your doctor's appointments for pregnancy will be free if you see professionals in the public system. A variety of benefits are available, including the pregnancy benefit and the parental benefit that provides you with income during maternity and paternity leave. These are generous - 100 per cent for 47 weeks or 80 per cent for 57 weeks, and they can be shared between the parents. If you don't qualify for that, there are lump sum benefits for maternity and adoption. Family allowances help to pay for the costs of raising a child until he or she turns 18. If you look after your young child at home, you may receive a 'cash-for-care' benefit. If you're happy with public schools, elementary education is free from birth to age 16. University fees seldom exceed 500 kr per semester (that's less than US$100). Additionally, a variety of free counselling, welfare, mediation and women's services are available. Of course, if you don't have children, you'll be paying for these services anyway through your taxes.

READ  How Long Does It Take To Get Settled In Norway? Part One

13. Getting correct answers to your questions can be difficult.

I have endless frustration when trying to find information, especially from government offices. This doesn't always happen, but often when I call to enquire, I get one answer from one person and, if this doesn't sound right or gel with other information I've heard, I might call back for a second opinion. This second opinion can often vary from the first; and sometimes it's a completely different answer. I've also found that you have to ask a lot of questions because people won't automatically tell you things. You may have a question about one part of something, but there will be additional information that could be helpful. Unless you ask about that information, however, it may not be given to you. This is not an intentional slight or anything like that, I've just noticed that it seems to be a cultural difference. I'm used to working with checklists when providing information and being very thorough. That isn't always thought of here in Norway so just be sure to be thorough yourself in your enquiries.

norway fjord

14. It’s expensive to travel within the country.

Hotels and flights in Norway aren't cheap, unless you are just flying back and forth to Oslo. We've found our desire to explore the rest of the country hampered by both these costs and those of restaurants and cultural activities. It just seems cheaper to head to the rest of Europe.

15. Holidays are taken very seriously here.

Employees get five weeks of holidays per year, three of which can be taken consecutively over the summer period (forget about getting anything done in the summer). There are a few school holiday periods throughout the year and sometimes it can feel like there is a lot more play than work going on in Norway. They even stagger the school holiday periods from region to region so that the ski resorts don't get overrun all at once. If anything else frustrates you about Norwegian systems, you'll smile at how organized vacation is.

For 15 more things to know about Norway, head over to Megan's blog...

What could you add to this list?

Planning a move or visit to Norway? We lived there. Check out our Norway stories and resources.


  1. Joelle 13 January, 2016 at 13:15 Reply

    Hi! I’m looking at moving to Norway from the US. I was wondering if a business would be easy to move there? I run a spa-like business. I do facials, microcurrent therapy, and halo therapy (Himalayan salt).

  2. kitta 14 December, 2015 at 12:52 Reply

    I am an American optometrist looking to move myself to Norway since I’ve heard there is a demand for optometrist and very few US or UK trained optometrist. I do still have student loans here in america to pay off–I just want to make sure I will be able to sustained my life there in Norway and also still pay my student loans in the states???? I am wanting a better quality of life in a smaller quieter better structured country. Thank you

  3. Rome Where You Want To: 4 Essential Tips for Living Abroad | InspiringTravellers.com 10 November, 2015 at 10:07 Reply

    […] Moving is one of the most enlivening and yet difficult events in a person’s life—right alongside a death in the family and divorce. It should go without saying that you’ve visited the place you’ve decided to call home, and have spent enough time in the area to get a sense of its rhythm, its people, and its pros and cons. Beyond that? Research, research, research. […]

  4. Frøya Hagebak 21 June, 2015 at 18:30 Reply

    I am twelve years old and in eighth grade, and I would like to move to Norway when I’m nineteen. I speak basic Norsk, and I’m learning more, and I would like to go to college there. Is this a good idea? I speak fluent English (I live in the U.S. currently), and I would like to become an artist and an author when I am older (big dreams, I know -.-“). Is Norway as good as this makes it out to be? I would love to go there, but I don’t know… you guys are the experts, is this alright? owo

    • Sabina 1 December, 2015 at 17:38

      Hi :) I understand your dream, this is the requirement to attend a bachelor (college) in Norway
      “High School Graduation Diploma + 1 year university / college studies in academic subjects OR High School Graduation Diploma og 3 Advanced Placement Tests with at least grade 3”

      So you must finish one year of university in order to apply for a bachelor here.
      However, I recommend you to give an exam of Norwegian in the usa, what I mean? you may know there are a lot of exams like “cambridge” or “trinity” to proof your qualifics in english, well is the same for Norwegian!
      I tell you this because if you will not do it before a bachelor you will have to attend at the university one year of norwegian (only studying the basic of this language) and not be able to give other exams!
      I hope I helped you :) you are so young and everything is possible for you <3
      I really wish your dreams will become true <3

  5. Hannah Harrison 19 May, 2015 at 01:42 Reply

    Hello! I think I’ll be moving to Norway soon with my husband as a PhD student. I’m curious how you find Norwegians to be socially speaking. Friendly? Outgoing? Closed? Hostile? I’ve heard mixed reviews, and would be interested in any tips you might have for an American attempting to integrate socially.

    • Sofie Stensby 22 May, 2015 at 12:15

      Hi! From my point of view, as a Norwegian, we kind of seem to be a little shy when it comes to speaking English with a person who’s fluent in English, we sometimes get a Norwegian accent , haha. But! Many people, including myself, love to speak English and think it’s great to know that people are interested in our good old Norway ???? I would suggest that you ask younger people, if you have to ask where things are and stuff. Since older people are most likely not that good at speaking English. Hope it helps! We welcome you to Norway! ??

    • Sabina 1 December, 2015 at 17:40

      Being honest, speaking english is awesome *_* however, of course you will be always slightly cut out from the society if you don’t speak Norwegian!
      Norwegians will never be hostile, only… you will see the difference! is soooo different when you are able to speak Norwegian :)

  6. sachin 7 May, 2015 at 05:19 Reply

    I want to work in Norway as a chef. I have opporpunity to work there .so tel me about weather. I m from india

    • Tyler Skotch 10 July, 2015 at 11:24

      You’re in for a shock if you live in India. Summers average in the 60s and winters in the 20s, in Oslo, one of the warmer places in Norway. I guess, though, if you live in the northern mountain areas, it wouldn’t be too bad.

  7. Pedro 7 April, 2015 at 11:09 Reply

    I’m in the eleventh grade (16 y.o) and I am thinking abou going to Norway for a few months when I finish high school. My ideia is to, when I finish high school, I find a job here, even if it is a low paid job, to save money (I am already saving money now). And then, I would go to Norway, just for a few months and if I managed to get a job I would stay (even if that is unlikely and not my objectiv). I’m portuguese by the way. So, how much money do you think I would need per month? And I’m a guy that can live with few money! For example: no car, just basic fodd, just basic stuff in a basic apartment or whatever

  8. yurgenskeet 3 April, 2015 at 17:26 Reply

    is it possible to get a teaching position in norway for foreigners?
    I have plans of visiting the country anytime this year. Find a job as a teacher.. a secondary school teacher Or as a special education teacher.

    • Sabina 1 December, 2015 at 17:44

      Hi I answer since is what I am studying for.
      No, you must speak norsk in order to teach, and follow your education here.
      However is possible for you to become an english teacher as I know xP

      But maybe if you follow a norwegian course during the afternoon would be an amazing idea, get the qualifications you need about the language and probably you will be able to teach whatever xP just you really need to document that you can speak norwegian

  9. inspiringtravellers 8 November, 2014 at 09:44 Reply

    I just wanted to take a moment and thank all the people that have been responding to the questions of our readers. I don’t always have an answer ready, so It’s just great that we can help each-other out.

  10. Egil 8 November, 2014 at 08:04 Reply

    To Karla.

    The Norwegian school system may be somewhat different that what you are used to.
    Bacically everything except private schools and universities are free, universities are not expensive, I think the term fee is around 300usd.
    In Norway there are no campus, like in the U.S. you live at home, or rent a small apartment.

    Our school system is bacically 1-10th grade which is the same for everyone, I guess this would be similar to en of high school. A 10th grader turns 16 that grade.
    At this point you decide what you want to do I.e trade school ( 2-3 years in school plus apprenticeship) or you can go in a direction focusing on financials (3 years), then take an MBA degree at a university, or just do 3 years of extending “common knowledge” and preparing you for any university, technical, financial, or whatever you choose.

    As for admission you need to prove that you have the grades to go to the school you want to. I guess your high school grades will determine what school you are admitted too.

    This link should give you some answers to a lot of things.

    And this for your question regarding school admission requirements

    You can work, however as long as you are under 18 the minimum wage is lower than for adults.
    However the language barrier will be your biggest problem with regards to work, but you could get a job that don’t require direct customer interaction.

    • Karla 10 November, 2014 at 14:02

      Thank you so much. These websites are very helpful.
      I do have one more question.. (You probably think I’m annoying.. Sorry)
      Is there a shelter or somewhere we can stay until we are economically ready to get a house? My Mom has a friend in Norway, he has a job waiting for her. My brother and I will be working too. But in the mean time, is there somewhere we can stay?
      And i read the article about the schooling.. im in 11th grade here. Does that mean I’m legally done with school? Do i go automatically to College? If so, im scared!..

    • Egil 10 November, 2014 at 15:40


      Not to worry, I’m used to questions, and you most certainly is not annoying.
      Besides, I like to help people.

      Somewhere to stay, no I can’t really say we have such things, you are pretty much on your own, meaning you need to rent an apartment or live in a hotel.
      The largest marketplace in Norway is called http://www.finn.no , I think it’s sort of equivalent to craigslist. On that site you will find places for rent, for sale, cars, boats, and pretty much anything people wants to sell.
      By far the largest housing market in Norway, also the place where you will find most of the nations job listings.
      Prices will depend on where you are moving, but a typical two bedroom apartment in someone’s basement will run you from $600 to several thousands a month, all depends on where you are moving to. In my area this is typically $1000-1500 a month.

      That said, your mom’s employer should be able to help you find a place to stay, this is quite normal, especially for foreigners moving here.

      11th grade means you are done with the mandatory school. You can go straight to college, trade school or something. This you have to apply for by the end of February.
      Some of the larger cities have international schools.
      Like this one in my area, this may be a better alternative than a regular Norwegian college where the language barrier will be an issue, not sure how our public schools tend to non-Norwegian speaking students.

      It might help if you know where in the country you are moving, as it is possible to give you more specific information.

  11. Karla 6 November, 2014 at 11:10 Reply

    My Mother decided to move to Norway. Im super excited. Im a 16 year old, i live in the United Sates and i have one more year of high school left. YAY! I was doing research about the Norwegian culture and to find out how the education system works in Norway; How does College work? Do i need certain requirements to get into College? How much does it cost? Am i old enough to work? I have many questions but this website was very helpful! Thanks..

  12. Carl 3 November, 2014 at 09:40 Reply

    Charles, I supported a family of six on a single income of 700000 NOK for the 3.5 years I lived in Norway. Our budget was pretty tight but we managed alright. I wouldn’t recommend trying to do it with much less than that. Unfortunately the tax structure is not well-suited to sole providers. You’re better off with two people who earn 350000 NOK per year, for example, than one person earning twice that. But on the bright side, there are quite a few jobs for people who don’t speak Norwegian very well, since almost everyone speaks some English. Just have your partner enroll in a course right away and look for an entry-level job somewhere until her Norwegian gets better. I think you’ll manage alright.

  13. Egil 2 November, 2014 at 13:28 Reply

    As a native Norwegian I always find these kind of articles interesting.
    Most of this is very correct, but to an expat there are a few things you need to know.
    What you did not mention is how difficult it is to get to know Norwegians, we are not as open as other cultures, but once we get to know you we are very nice, but to make friends here is hard.

    Another thing is that Norwegians do not have the habit of addressing people politely, and may to some people come across as rude, this is not intentional, we just don’t address people as sir or madam, or excuse everything.

    Tax is high, but we are so used to it that we really don’t know any better :)
    Salaries are generally higher than other countries, but may not outweigh the taxes as mentioned.

    I work outside of Norway, and my work has taken me all over the planet. And one of the best things about being Norwegian is that wherever you go it’s cheap.
    It has also taught me a lot about how different we Norwegians see things.

    On the automated supermarket, it is there, you bring your own barcode reader, scan your groceries and go to a self service checkout where you pay the total in your reader. Several of the stores in the Stavanger region has them.

  14. Mara Senese 2 November, 2014 at 06:01 Reply

    Great article – factual and helpful. The pros and cons of Norway! I have lived here over 30 years and would still call this a place to live that works. Of course there is always room for improvement.

  15. Elle 2 November, 2014 at 02:19 Reply

    I too had a constant struggle with my Norwegian doctor who admonished me every time I asked to speak in English until I eventually pointed out to her that I’d chosen her from the list as she was English! (her name was unmistakenly English) She was very unhappy as she had obviously been in Norway many years and considered herself Norwegian. She was quick to remark that no one had ever thought her name was English before, but it was and she was from Liverpool! It is however relatively easy to change your doctor and you can choose from a list. I recommend choosing an international doctor.


  16. Rob 1 November, 2014 at 17:13 Reply

    Pretty much on the money, except maternity leave is wrong, it’s only 100% up to around 480,000 NOK, if you earn more than that tough luck, unless you employer is nice and makes up the difference.

    @ Charles it would be very difficult for a family of 6 could survive in Norway on a single income, a jr docs income in Norway is about 500,000 NOK, even consultants with many years under there belt rarely earn over 1 million. Doctors in Norway aren’t well paid like they are in many other countries.

    • Geir S. Kilen 23 June, 2015 at 11:39

      You are telling the truth Rob!
      I am a Norwegian Citizen but have lived in the US since 1988. Back then, If you worked hard, you could get ahead. I was able to buy a condo in Kristiansand when I was 23 (in 1987) on a cooks pay. About 5 years ago, my parents sent me a news paper clipping where it showed similar condo to mine in the same complex that sold for 20 times of what I paid for it (!). After loosing my restaurant and getting divorced during the financial crisis in 2010, I returned to Norway, planning to rebuild and live the rest of my life there. That was a FAIL. In my last job in Atlanta (after the loss of my restaurant), as the executive Chef, I made 4 times as much as a cook. That was due to my level of experience I had built over two decades of an average of 80 hours per week as a chef in the US. Apparently none of that matters in Norway. Considering the high cost of living and the taxes, that would be the equivalent of NOK 1.7 million per year. The highest pay I could find there as a chef was NOK450 K per year (only a few kroner more than my unskilled Iranian breakfast cook). Obviously buying back my old condo would not be possible since it would take me 50 years to save up for the DOWN-PAYMENT alone. When family and friends asked me how I was doing, I expressed my frustration with the system, and several suggested I apply for living assistance (!). That’s when I realized that I did not belong there. There is nothing wrong with my body nor mind. Why should a fully abled person require government assistance to exist?
      I am back in the US, and hope the socialism is not going to destroy this nation too.

  17. Charles 29 October, 2014 at 12:41 Reply

    I am learning Norwegian and currently at the B1 level. I plan to take the Bergen test in the new year latest May 2015 and try to get into residency training in Internal medicine or Psychiatry. My medical education is from an E.U country
    Do you think a family of four six ( four kids, 12, 7, 2, ten months) can survive on a junior Doctors salary in Norway? I am a British citizen but my fiancee and kids will have U.S passports, What advice can you give me? I already know what to do with regards to getting into training. Just the day to day living costs with children and a partner who may not work for a while due to language barrier.

  18. Dylan 27 October, 2014 at 18:37 Reply

    Hey, I’m a studio Musician form SA and i was thinking about moving to Norway, but cant seem to find information on my profession. So i guess what my question is, is if there is a possibility that i could actually make money in the music industry living in Norway or not?

  19. nibu 23 September, 2014 at 04:01 Reply

    I am from Nepal. I have been thinking for my further study of bachelor in Norway. Would I be able to support all my expenses through part time job. Which country would u prefer between Finland or Norway??

    • inspiringtravellers 23 September, 2014 at 09:39

      I’m really not sure, Nibu – depends on many factors such as your qualifications, language knowledge and what type of visa you could get. I can tell you that I much prefer Finland to Norway.

  20. Syver 1 September, 2014 at 16:39 Reply

    I just came from Megan’s laughable list, and I just want to commend you for giving a more nuanced, and pretty accurate description of the country. Good job!

  21. Kosta 20 April, 2014 at 23:31 Reply

    I have been accepted to BI.NO for a B.A. degree in 2011-12
    Tuition fees were ranging from 10 000$ to 20 000$ for 1-3 years.
    I tried to call the loan company which supports students(started with L…) don’t recall the exact name.
    Just by waiting on the line and speaking to them , I got the feeling of bureaucracy.
    In addition 10 000$ is what I had to deposit to relocate to start with. :))))
    Not a surprise I did not do it due to lack of $$$. Even when I have it now , I wouldn’t do it.
    Tried for Uin too, got even more bitter response.
    Now I am applying for an internship with Opera soft. company which is based in Oslo.

    I guess it’s better to go abroad on a contract with saved money and not to rely on applying when you get there or relying on benefits to get by.

    Saying that , I lived in Austria ,the Gulf and come from Eastern Europe.

    I am and will be treated as a foreigner just like any other. Accepting that and trying to say simple phrases in local language like Good day, noon , thanks etc. will at least demonstrate a will to fit in while living abroad.

    In any country there is a discrimination in the job market towards foreigners, no doubt. Ask yourself if your own country isn’t the same?

    I know for sure a job will be given to a Norwegian if there is a foreigner for the same position.
    Why would it be different?

    Most countries employ professionals in industries that they lack labor hand. Nothing more simpler. Canada is one,USA too, all of Europe(even if they don’t disclose it officially , try to apply as a qualified worker in UK and see if there isn’t discrimination?
    Saying all that, bureaucracy aside, highest living cost aside,
    you need between 1500 and 2000 euros, too lazy to convert to NOK to get by in Oslo and live in a one bed apartment and afford a restaurant supper plus occasional dating.
    Bear in mind Norwegian girls drink a lot and winters are horrible.
    All in all, if you are not an oil engineer or a university professor, a musician you will have a hard time in Norway.

  22. amgeli cossid 2 March, 2014 at 22:31 Reply

    this blog is truly informative, thank you for sharing your experiences :) I am moving to Norway this May!

  23. Rene 17 February, 2014 at 11:54 Reply

    Very interesting blog. We are newly arrived to Stavanger, planning to live here 5 years. I have not experienced all the things you describe… yet 😉 But I do have some experience to add.

    as an aside, I do plan to take language lessons. The cost of this is covered by the company that is sponsoring us here, so… there’s no reason not to do it, imo. And learning a new language is something I enjoy. (I’m a native English-speaker who grew up in USA, studied Spanish in high school, worked in South America, then Italy, and lived in Australia for 4 years before moving to Norway.)

    My experiences so far… Ask a LOT of questions before you move abroad! I thought I had done this, but I was wrong. Our bank in the USA made it seem like it was no big deal to wire our money to ourselves here. Well, it is a bigger deal than they let on. I went there twice to make sure we could do it, and was told, “it’s simple. You just send a wire.” Well, what they didn’t tell us was that we had to appear *in person* at the bank to fill out a 3-page form to authorize wire transfers. Of course, that is impossible now that we are out of the country. We are going to have to change banks because of this stupid rule… Just be sure to ask a LOT of questions, try to actually do the banking transactions you think you are going to do… or just avoid banking with Wells Fargo if you are going overseas.

    Don’t believe everything you hear about the process of getting into the system here. We have 2 young children, one of whom has some chronic health issues. We were told that we needed to bring 6 months of his medicine with us, because we might not be able to get in to see a doctor before then. We were also told that we had to get our person number before we got our local GP assigned to us, and we couldn’t go see a specialist until we had all that sorted out. None of that is true.

    Firstly, there are private doctors here that you can get in to see within a day or two. Yes, they cost money out of pocket, but we are here with a large company that has insurance to reimburse most of that cost. (The costs are about like going to see a doctor in the US, without insurance. It’s not that much in the context of your child’s health.) Secondly, you don’t have to wait to get your GP to go see a specialist. We got in to see his specialist with about a week’s wait, mostly because of our schedules, not theirs. We got a letter from a private doctor, referring our child to the specialist. Thirdly, I love the fact that the Norwegian doctors are not in the pocket of any pharmaceutical company! The doctor we saw explained our choices of medications, and actually recommended what would be best for our child. It has been a long time since a US doctor has recommended anything to me! They seem to be afraid to do so. They just offer a couple options and ask what I want to do for my child, usually offering me a free sample of something. I’m not medically trained, so this has always been difficult for me. It’s refreshing to go to a doctor who seems to actually have an opinion on what is best for my child.

    We’ve been here for less than 3 months now, and are (I hope) at the deepest point of the down-cycle on the homesickness and dislocation feelings. I know it will get better. It’s also winter, lol! so we have more daylight to look forward to in the coming months.

    I would suggest anyone planning to move abroad keep a journal of your experiences, because things change so quickly and sometimes everything seems overwhelming. It’s helpful to write down those amazingly frustrating or incredibly beautiful experiences before they get swamped by other things in your mind. I find it very enjoyable to read through my journals from years ago, and think about how much this or that experience changed me. Anyway, that’s my 2-bits :)

    • Geir S. Kilen 23 June, 2015 at 11:53

      LOL. Wells Fargo is doing the same to me, but then I checked with bank of America, and they would charge me even more ($45 per wire transfer).
      I am a Norwegian Citizen that lives in the US. Transferring money to US from Norway is easy and cheap, but paying back is costly and difficult.

  24. baiba 15 February, 2014 at 10:13 Reply


    Today read shocking news regarding NORWAY and I would newer go there. It may be a nice and pretty country, but after information I read I am shocked that they are in EU.


    !!!!!!!!!Russian boy becomes sex slave to his own father in Norway !!!!!!


    !!!!!!!!An Indian couple have had their children taken away by Norwegian social workers because they were feeding them with their hands and sleeping in the same bed as them.!!!!!


  25. New Life in Spain 3 November, 2013 at 10:57 Reply

    Hi again. Isn’t it quite natural that someone from a cold country seeks a warmer climate? Cheap, I don’t know. Most countries in Europe (and the world) are cheaper than Norway, so it’s not really a “choice” in many cases.

    But do you mean that because many Norwegians relocate we should stop loving our culture and nature? That is a very strange point of view to me. Don’t you like your home country anymore because you moved away? I don’t know what you mean when you say it is “comfortable to love remotely”. I am starting to feel you are judging me without knowing me at all, and I wonder what I have said to make you say these things. I am sorry if I have come across any way that is interpreted in a bad way.

    About how much language one can learn in one year, or how long I would remember should I choose to leave the country was not relevant to me. I wanted to learn asap to be comfortable in my new environment from day 1 (or well as soon as possible). That was my only motivation. My language course was also expensive, and I only did it for a few months. After that I kept on studying on my own, and I have become close to fluent in Spanish that way. I know foreigners in Norway who have learned Norwegian only with books from the library. That is free and if you have the motivation, you can make anything happen. I am not really interested in defending myself to someone who doesn’t know me, but maybe my answers have answered your questions.

  26. Austin O. 7 September, 2013 at 23:27 Reply

    This was a great article, Thanks! I’m currently living in the U.S. (all my life, currently in Colorado). I’ve been dying to see the Norway/Sweden/Denmark/Finland area for a very long time now. Wanted to plan a trip backpacking or bicycle touring through the area starting sometime next year. With my brother living in Colombia for the last year or so it’s really making me want to try living in another country like Norway. How hard do you think It would be for someone to start from practically scratch?

    • inspiringtravellers 8 September, 2013 at 10:29

      Well, I think living in Norway is really different from just travelling through. Are you saying you want to move to Scandinavia or Finland, or just plan a trip? I think planning a trip is quite simple. If you’re willing to camp you’ll find it affordable as well. Let me know a little more info about what you actually want to do and I will tell you as much as I know =)

  27. Tlm 30 August, 2013 at 03:30 Reply

    Good article but I would like to commentmon some of your points. I’ve been living here for 14 teatralsk. I have seen a lot of changed.

    1. Honesty IS most often the rule, but I had a friend have her wallet stolen from a counter AS she was bagging her purchases, and pick pocketing in rampant in summer and around Christmas, so you have to be extra careful.

    Taxes.. Yes taxes are rampant (there is even a back seat tax for cars) but there is no property tax for homes. Not yet anyway.

    There is no system set up to use gas for energy here, so it’s not that people ‘choose’ electricity over gas. Electricity IS the system.

    Yes, you will want to learn Norwegian and SHOULD if you plan on staying. A big plus is that Norwegian Language classes are FREE! And not enough people take advantage of that.

    Norwegian are not generally friendly to strangers, at least not in Oslo, but attempting to speak Norwegian will get you a long way!

  28. Rainman 16 July, 2013 at 06:39 Reply

    It may not make sense to heat using gas in a rainy country with a lot of mountains where nearly the entire electricity production is hydroelectric… Do they even have a domestic gas network? Gas wouldn’t necessary be as cheap as it is in countries with lower renewable resources, and you have to think of the environmental damage of fossil-fuel based solutions too.

  29. Carl Youngblood 1 May, 2013 at 01:26 Reply

    Your experience with Norwegian has been somewhat different from ours. We’ve been living near Oslo for the last 3 years and haven’t felt much pressure from anyone to learn Norwegian, although we have learned it because we wanted to. But we often find people almost seem to want to speak English with us even when we try to speak Norwegian.

    • inspiringtravellers 1 May, 2013 at 09:27

      I have not spent much time in Oslo, just went there once for business. Perhaps it is more cosmopolitan than Stavanger? Being a larger city probably makes a difference. It is not everyone who does not want to speak with us, just more than we expected. And it’s often evident that this is not a preference.

    • Richard 2 November, 2014 at 04:01

      I’ve been in Oslo for four years now, and I’ve found a mix here. People are happy to speak English and it’s heard on the street almost as often as Norwegian. Even when you learn the language, as I took the time to do, the moment you say you’re a foreigner people switch to English and are hesitant to switch back. It’s also very unforgiving – the moment you make a major grammar mistake or forget one word in an otherwise flawless conversation, they also switch to English and keep going in that language.
      This pro-English environment changes at work, though. I work in an international, multicultural organization. where there are a number of foreigners who don’t speak Norwegian. You would think this would be a natural place to speak English, right? Wrong. Here the linguistic nationalism comes out. Some of our administrators feel it’s their “mission” to get everyone to speak Norwegian by holding all meetings only in that language. They believe it’s motivating, I guess. The actual result is that many foreign employees simply don’t come to meetings and therefore aren’t on the same page with everyone else. Officially this is an English-speaking organization, but in reality….
      This was my fourth time moving to a new country and learning the language, and I can honestly say Norwegian was the hardest to learn specifically because everyone does speak English so well. The abundance of English creates little need (or motivation) to learn, there end up being few opportunities to practice in real life, it is a basically useless language outside Scandinavia, and being anything less than fluent is often unhelpful since the only times the language is demanded is in complicated professional and technical situations which you probably won’t be ready for even after two years of study. My general advice is, unless you are connected to the country through marriage or family, or are planning to live here the rest of your life, don’t even bother with the language – at least in Oslo.

  30. Vit 29 March, 2013 at 22:56 Reply

    As mentioned above, it would be a very nice country to raise a family given all the benefits provided by the government — just my girlfriend dislike the cold weather and they seems to have only 2 month of warm weather :(.

    • inspiringtravellers 30 March, 2013 at 12:13

      In Stavanger I wouldn’t call the two summer months warm at all, haha. Definitely not a place to live if you don’t enjoy the cold…

  31. Lisa 27 March, 2013 at 14:20 Reply

    I didn’t realize it would be so expensive to travel within the country. I was wondering why I hadn’t seen you doing more posts on travel within Norway. Oh my gosh, I feel for you on the stores being closed on Sunday and much of Saturday. That would be difficult and wow the vitamin prices are shocking!

    • inspiringtravellers 28 March, 2013 at 10:56

      Yes, that is definitely the reason we haven’t done more Norway posts. And writing about Stavanger all the time gets boring. We had hoped to do lots of weekend trips but it would just eat up all our savings. Too bad!

  32. New Life in Spain 20 March, 2013 at 10:49 Reply

    What a fun read! Me being the Norwegian that I am I have some thoughts if that’s ok :)

    Number 1- I LOVE THIS. I grew up with this, my friends leave their houses open when they leave, and leave the car key in the car. Just after having been in Spain a while I realize how crazy this is, but it’s also sad (haha, yes I said sad!) that here, and many other places, its not like that. This is actually the one thing I hear the most from Spaniards having visited Norway, they love the respect (of other people’s property) and honesty. Stuff I never thought about while living there of course.

    I can’t help but missing number 2 as well. There is a LOT of bureaucracy and papers in Spain, for any- and everything. Sometimes I wish I could just log on to the web and get what I need without having to stand in a line for 3 hours :)

    About the prices and taxes there’s nothing to say really. Things are expensive and I feel my pulse racing every time I am in Norway buying groceries. When I complain however people remind me that I am on a Spanish salary and that it’s not THAT bad when you have a decent income. But it must be a shocker for a foreigner I have thought many times, and it would certainly take me some time getting used to again.

    Number 9. Ahh the language thing. I can relate! Oh my how many times I have wished that people at public offices, doctor offices etc spoke some English as it’s really hard to explain certain things with limited language skills. It would just be EASIER. But at the same time, although I am not one to judge anyone and I can only speak for myself- I started my stay in Spain learning Spanish and I feel it’s the only way of living in a foreign country and I have always tried to get by only with Spanish. (But I did go to a doctor once where I had to come back with someone who could translate for me cause it was too hard, I didn’t have ‘doctor vocabulary!’) I just never expect anyone in their own country to adjust to me, the foreigner. I feel it’s me who need to adjust and try to speak Spanish. I know many foreigners in Norway think it’s not necessary to learn Norwegian as you can get by with English, but I still think in any country you go to live, it’s about respect and that it is important to learn the local language to get included in the society. But this is simply my opinion and we may all have our different reasons for learning a language or not.

    This is turning into a book, I think I’ll stop here with wishing you a lovely day!

    • inspiringtravellers 20 March, 2013 at 17:38

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts =) About #9 — as I was saying to Emily in my other comment, I agree with your point of view completely. Though I have to say one of the things that hasn’t had me racing out to become fluent quickly in Norwegian is the fact that we aren’t planning to stay here long and, really, I don’t believe I will get any sort of practice in the language once we leave here (like I could with Spanish, which I did learn for our travels in South America). I started to learn Norwegian at the start but it’s tough – and there’s a waiting list for classes plus they are very expensive. I included that point more as an observation than a complaint…I think others should know that they really do need to learn if they want to live here long term and assimilate. If we were staying longer I would definitely have taken classes by now. But at the moment, while I know some Norwegian, I am by no means fluent. It’s just economics for me…

      As for taxes — we just did them and found the tax burden, while a bit high, to be not much higher than in Australia. And given the healthcare and other benefits, which are available to everyone (not means tested as in Australia) – I’d say that Norway is a better deal! =)

    • New Life in Spain 21 March, 2013 at 10:19

      I think it’s great that you include the language in this list. It’s also great that one actually can get by with English in Norway, but in the end it’s useful to learn the language. I have met many people here in Spain who want to go try live in Norway now due to the hard times here with the financial crisis that seem never ending. I have also read countless newspaper articles about others, and many don’t even speak English, but don’t see that as a hinder. I wonder why it seems as if some people (also from English speaking countries) don’t realize that Norway is in fact a country, with a language 😀

    • question 28 October, 2013 at 17:40

      Just short questions for the “New Life in Spain”.
      1. If everything is so perfect in Norway – why did you move to Spain?
      2. Regarding respect etc. – don’t you think Spanish people are very warm and friendly (not like cold Norwegians). It explains a lot. You’ll learn Spanish much faster only because of Spanish culture, where even strangers are willing to talk to you.
      3. Regarding the doctor behavior – it’s absolutely unprofessional. Doctor MUST help people if it’s possible and do not search for a personal reason. What this Norwegian doctor would expect for example in Japan on his holiday if something happen to him? Of course he will ask for help in English (not in Japanese).
      Resume. I agree that it’s necessary to learn language of the country where you live. But if I’m in Norway just on job contract, or I’m not sure I’m going to stay here – I don’t see the reason to learn Norwegian. And the course is VERY expensive. So if Norwegians are so interested in foreign integration in Norwegian culture – make this course free or at least low price.
      P.S. I remember the time when Norwegians were very happy if labors from Eastern Europe could speak some English. But now labor must speak Norwegian to clean the floor. And I think it’s only getting worst.

    • New Life in Spain 29 October, 2013 at 13:19

      Hi there “question”. Your questions make me curious as to who you are and the reason for your questions to me… but here are my answers.

      1. Why do people go abroad? Many reasons. I was seeking adventure, with a very open mind, and found that, and a million wonderful experiences. Although I love my own country, does it mean I should always stay? By the way I believe I have never said “everything is perfect in Norway”…

      2. I actually do not find people in Spain warm and friendly on a general basis. In some parts of Spain, people are more friendly than others, but in Barcelona where I spent the longest time, it was definitely not the case. If you go to a tourist resort, people will be overly friendly to get you to buy things and spend all your money, maybe that is the kind of Spanish people you have interacted with? (I don’t know your reason for saying Spanish people are warm and friendly so I am only guessing.) And I haven’t experienced strangers (normal people with no ulterior motive) speaking to me randomly, ever. I have had to make an effort to learn the language.

      3. When I mentioned doctors in my first comment I hadn’t even read the Andrea’s comment above about her experience with the doctor. (Which I sympathize with, she wasn’t treated right.) I was simply talking about language, and mentioned an example of my own. Maybe my doctor was unprofessional in your opinion, but many people in Spain do not speak English, so who am I to demand being treated in English in a country where English is not the language? I did not take this personal on any level.

      I didn’t go to Spain with an expiry date, I didn’t know how long I would be staying, but my first goal when arriving was to learn the language so I could feel more integrated, and be able to get around, understand what I was ordering at a restaurant, be able to ask for things in shops etc. Like I said earlier, we are all different and have our different reasons for learning or not learning a new language, but for me I know I would feel very uncomfortable not learning the language that is being spoken in the country I reside, no matter if I plan to stay one year or ten. (MY personal opinion)

      The language course in Spain was extremely expensive as well, but I was interested in doing it and willing to pay the price. (And yes maybe Spanish is more useful than Norwegian in a longer perspective, but that wasn’t my reason to learn) I know foreigners in Norway who have learnt Norwegian on their own with a book and CD from the library as well.

      Can I ask you something as well? How long have you lived in Norway?

    • answer 31 October, 2013 at 14:47

      Hi there New Life in Spain!
      Yes, sure. But it’s strange I cannot find “reply” button under you post, so I’ll answer here:
      1. I know a lot of Norwegians who just left Norway and relocate to other countries. But you know what is strange? All of them relocate to the warm, cheap countries. But still loving Norway and Norwegian nature. Adventure you mentioned about is something temporary, it’s something what people want to experience shorty, it’s mostly to shake them up. Don’t want to judge anybody, but I can see duality here. It’s very “comfortable” to love remotely.
      2. I can see your point here. But I didn’t mean resort’s area or big cities. I was in Asturias and Galisias areas. It was not commercial relation and nobody wanted me to buy stuff from them. They are just friendly, warm and willing to chat.
      3. Yes, I agree with you, in Spain doctors don’t speak English. But subject was different. In this particular case Norwegian doctor KNOWS English but WISH to speak Norwegian, it’s quite different. Again, I’m not judge, but any remark about the language could be done after official visit (like author mentioned).
      Yes, it’s a good attitude, but I don’t think you are ably to learn anything important within 1 year (IMHO). It could be first step which help you in further learning, but if you plan to leave after 1 year – it’s useless. You’ll forget everything without using language everyday.
      By the way do you know the price of Norsk? It’s more than 5000 NOK (with books) for 2 months course (twice per week). With expat low salary (I assume ~10000-17000 NOK), and paying about 10000 NOK for rent/bills, + food about 3000 NOK per month, I would say we get nice picture how it’s easy to integrate.
      I spent in Norway almost 2 years. And yes, it’s my shame I didn’t start learning Norwegian from first day (I wasn’t sure I stay). Do I regret? – Yes, of course. But I cannot explain everything in a two sentences.
      This author’s post was about to help people decide if the want to move to Norway. And I like this kind of post, it describes real things and provides information, while in other similar posts you can find only “advertisement” how is wonderful to live in Norway. Usually these people prefer to talk generally, without any facts, numbers and any officials links.
      A lot of people coming to Norway after reading these wonderful fairy tails. And a lot of them just loosing their life’s savings and are very disappointed. I find these post not negative, but objective. Giving real information.
      P.S. good luck to you in Spain.

  33. Tia 19 March, 2013 at 09:05 Reply

    I just found your blog and it is so helpful – especially this post! I am living in Stavanger with my husband. We actually just flew in on Sunday and will be here for 1.5 years so maybe I will be hitting you up with any questions I have : )

    • inspiringtravellers 19 March, 2013 at 09:16

      Welcome, Tia =) Feel free to email me with any questions, of course…

      We arrived around this time last year – get ready for big time boredom over Easter…the place will feel like a ghost town for about a week!

  34. Arianwen 17 March, 2013 at 21:40 Reply

    What a great set of tips! That’s tough about the pension. I guess it looks better to stay in any job for at least a year, but that’s harsh if you discover it’s not for you.

    • inspiringtravellers 18 March, 2013 at 08:26

      Well, that’s money that you earned – and for most people, part of the remuneration that was negotiated into the job contract. So to me it’s stealing, but hey…

    • Chris 1 April, 2013 at 04:06

      You might want to point out that the gov’t pension remains yours no matter what, it’s the employer-paid private contribution (OTP) that can be retracted.

    • inspiringtravellers 1 April, 2013 at 14:58

      Thanks for the information, Chris. But we have never received any sort of statement from the government informing us of the earned pension money…so we wouldn’t even know how to go about claiming it.

    • Chris 4 September, 2013 at 13:48

      You can’t expect them to send you information about pensions until you’re actually eligible to receive them. It’s not a 401K. You can’t withdraw the funds until you reach a legal pension age. The account information is available online. You have to log in using your citizen identification number at NAV’s website (public pension) and any additional private plans. It’s all available on minpensjon.no (in Norwegian).

    • inspiringtravellers 17 March, 2013 at 12:43

      I speak enough French to get around and always thought I’d love to live there. But I have heard from several people now that it’s one of the most difficult places for an expat. We’ve looked at jobs there but the visas can take six months so it has never seemed a viable option…

  35. Andrew 16 March, 2013 at 11:21 Reply

    So much of this seems so similar to Germany. At least 12 of those are nearly identical to Germany. The modern European state is very different than the US has become.

    Not that much of that is bad. A lot of the oddities and annoyances are govermental and involve getting integrated into the “system”, but once there things run more smoothly. Maybe there is something weird about that, but the system certainly takes more care than I remember from the US.
    I have seen selfcheckouts at Ikea, but at no grocerystore. I expect it has something to do with the workers unions. Even though labor is expensive, they wouldnt be able to let people go.

    • inspiringtravellers 16 March, 2013 at 12:35

      I agree completely, Andrew – once we were both in the system, everything does run smoothly. I’m not thrilled with the “Big Brother” aspect of it all but I can see the appeal of the conveniences inherent within a state dominated system. Good point about the unions! Though they could add one or two self-checkouts and no one would notice. In Norway there are rarely ever more than two people working in a supermarket at any one time at the cashier’s counters…

    • Espen 13 April, 2013 at 16:33

      There are selfcheckouts in several shops. Both the OBS chain of stores and Bunnpris chain of stores comes to my mind, but I am sure there are more shops with them

    • inspiringtravellers 14 April, 2013 at 14:49

      Good to know, Espen – maybe we’re just behind where I shop in Stavanger…

  36. Christine |GRRRL TRAVELER 16 March, 2013 at 02:26 Reply

    Wow, $25 for vitamins? Actually Korea felt around the same. I’m a big fan of efficiency though and I love that you can do things online. In a way, Korea was kinda similar and I miss that. A lot of online shopping and my ATM would update my bank book for me.

    But Norwegians win hands down with the vacation perks! Holy cow, 5 weeks is like a landmine of vacation time and in Korea, you can only really get that kind of vacation time if you teach on a university level.

    Forget about the U.S. which is where I’m in at the moment. It totally blows chunks.

    • inspiringtravellers 16 March, 2013 at 12:32

      John almost interviewed for a job in Seoul many years ago, but we have yet to visit Korea. I would like to! I have heard it’s expensive.

      These days I think everywhere is becoming more expensive. It depends on what aspect you’re looking at. Cable TV and Internet here is very inexpensive. Food is expensive but not more than say, Australia — unless you eat in a restaurant…then forget about it. The costs rise dramatically because of the labour costs. So we rarely go out to eat. That I miss.

      Agree with you completely about the vacation time. We’ve been investigating a move back to the States at some point, actually, because that is where I am from originally. Vacation time and healthcare costs are two of the biggest negatives weighing on that decision…

  37. Dallas @ GTE 15 March, 2013 at 23:51 Reply

    I’ve been reading a lot of good things about Norway over the past couple of years, so I put Norway (and Finland) on my short list of countries I’d be interested in moving to, especially if I have kids. This post made me realize everything I’d read about Norway has been the “good” stuff. Thanks for writing this – it’s good to hear some actual experiences and heads-ups from an expat.

    • inspiringtravellers 16 March, 2013 at 12:29

      I found Finland to be quite different to Norway – I haven’t lived there but my initial perceptions were that I prefer Finland. I think there are good and bad points to living anywhere. And it also depends on what you’re accustomed to. There was a time when, because I grew up in the US, I thought that living there was the end all be all — but it has been many years since I lived there and now the US is a very different place than it was the way I remember it. I would need to move back and spend some time there again before reverting to my old attitudes. That said, I don’t think anywhere I’ve lived to date has been my “ideal.” We just keep on searching =)

  38. Emily in Chile 15 March, 2013 at 23:44 Reply

    It definitely sounds like it’s expensive in many different ways! While I’m sure it would be hard to start from scratch with Norwegian, I can’t say I disagree with locals for expecting expats to learn their language. In Chile it’s less of an option and more of a necessity since most people don’t speak English, but I do think that even in cultures where everyone can communicate in English (or another language, but you know what I mean) it’s appropriate to do your best to learn the local language. You might not become fluent, but a bit of effort will hopefully go a long way in terms of fitting in socially.

    • inspiringtravellers 16 March, 2013 at 12:25

      I completely agree with you on that point, Emily. Where I do take issue with some Norwegians on this, however, is they can be a bit overzealous on the national pride front when it comes to language. For example: I went to the doctor last month and had a very unpleasant experience related to the language issue. My GP’s office website is bilingual and she and I had spoken English at my last appointment. I started to learn last year but then when we had a lot of issues and didn’t know whether we were going to stay, I stalled. Even if I had been taking classes and studying rigorously over the last nine months, there is no way my Norwegian would have been up for a complicated discussion about this particular health issue. And the doctor speaks fluent English. Anyway, she started off our appointment by admonishing me for asking if we could speak English (I asked in Norwegian). It made me tremendously uncomfortable and I had to sit through the rest of the conversation very upset and with a lump in my throat. I get where she was coming from – she said they have a terrible problem here of foreigners coming in and thinking that they don’t have to learn. After I explained to her my situation and how we may not even be staying here two years, she calmed down, but, you know what? It was terribly unprofessional. If she felt she had to say something, she could have easily said it as an aside at the end of the visit as I was leaving. I also felt like she was out of line considering the fact that she was running almost 45 minutes behind schedule. She had also made a mistake with my medication at the last appointment. My point is that sometimes Norwegians let their aggravation about the language issue and what I think is sometimes a general wariness of foreigners to come before more important matters – like doing their jobs properly. (You may be able to tell that this was not the first time we’ve run into issues…)

    • Emily in Chile 17 March, 2013 at 22:22

      Ok, that’s very unprofessional and just rude then! If a doctor doesn’t speak or doesn’t want to speak a foreign language, she shouldn’t have a bilingual website giving the impression that she’s able to treat patients in that language. I’m sorry you had such a crap experience.

    • inspiringtravellers 15 March, 2013 at 16:54

      It really depends on where you live, Jess. Stavanger has generally good public transportation, but it can be frustrating because sometimes to get from one place to another, you have to go all the way to the town centre and change buses. They could definitely use more lines. And it helps to live within walking distance to a good set of shops and supermarkets. Our bus line goes to the city and has good eastern connections, but I never go anywhere in the west…

  39. Maria 14 March, 2013 at 23:13 Reply

    Great post. Yes, it is expensive… I’m OK with that so long as there’s a balance.
    Many places have high taxes but the residents paying those taxes generally get something in return that benefits everyone – highly efficient public transport, fantastic public spaces or beautiful schools with the latest tech gear, etc… and the country is gorgeous! Worth at least a peek.

    • inspiringtravellers 15 March, 2013 at 16:45

      I need to live here longer to decide if there is a good balance. I have only Australia and the US to compare it to – there are pros and cons for any country, I think…

  40. Krista 15 March, 2013 at 00:57 Reply

    This is so interesting to me, and sounds very similar to situations I encountered in Denmark and Germany. Australia has entirely different set of things to get used to. :-) Isn’t it funny how things that make perfect sense to one culture, are completely bonkers to another? :-)

    • inspiringtravellers 15 March, 2013 at 16:48

      Yes, I agree about Australia – took a lot of getting used to for me. I think that’s true of anywhere. I am constantly comparing Norway to Oz because we last lived there…I find some similarities to Norway for sure!

    • inspiringtravellers 15 March, 2013 at 16:42

      Indeed – I think more for some people than others. If you have a big family, for example, it is probably a better deal.

    • inspiringtravellers 6 July, 2014 at 19:11

      Thanks for your comment, Gaute! Just curious – have you ever lived/worked anywhere else?

    • Carl Youngblood 7 July, 2014 at 04:56

      Speaking as one who has lived and worked in various places in the USA, UK and Norway, my earning power was significantly higher in both the US and UK. Salaries are around 20% higher in Norway but the cost of basic necessities, food, staples, and pretty much all consumer goods is at least 50% higher. It ends up being a net loss. However, there is no denying that the social safety net and general sense of societal cohesion is a lot higher. There are tradeoffs.

Leave a reply