Integration: How to Move to Norway

If you’ve moved to Norway, learn something about Norway. Then tell Norwegians what you’ve learned. As often as you can.

It doesn’t surprise me how little some newcomers know before moving here. I was certainly no expert on the ins and outs of Norwegian life before getting off the plane at the Oslo airport for the first time (which is called…?… – Gardermoen).

No, what surprises me sometimes is how little time/effort some newcomers who have moved here take/make to find out more about living in Norway that will help them build networks, make friendships, write good job applications, stand out at interviews, etc.

What would your advice be?

If you’re in this group, imagine what you’d tell someone moving to your country and looking for work. What would you say to them?

If you asked me this, I’d tell you to first jump online and find websites giving you useful information about what’s happening in the country today. For example, I’d say try this one: or this one:

Why? Because regular reading of what appears in this digital newspaper will help you connect with people, and this is what you need if you’re ever to ‘make it’ here in both a personal and professional sense.

Next, I’d tell you to find a native (or two) and have a conversation with them about something that you’ve read, with you asking questions like, ‘So what do you think about _____?’, ‘Why do you think that?’ ‘Can you tell me more about ____?’

It’s an easy way to start integrating, right? Yet you’d be surprised how many don’t do it.

Nobody cares?

Next, a cynical observation based on experience: people only really care about what’s going on around them.

Example: When I moved over, I went through a long period where I couldn’t seem to get through even a couple of sentences without either telling something about the US or making a comparison between something about the US and something about Norway.

It was my conversational security blanket. But after awhile I noticed that my conversational partners were only giving me a lukewarm response to all my American information. As if they were saying between the lines of politeness, who cares?

And why should they care? Newcomers need to adapt to their new land, and one way of doing this is to demonstrate that you can focus on something important – meaning not on your past life in ____ but rather on your present one in Norway.

So let others know that you know what’s going on around you in this Land of the Midnight Sun. Ask them questions. Listen to their answers. Enjoy the positive responses you get, and let them help you make the transition from old to new, if not easy, than easier.

4 svar til “Integration: How to Move to Norway”

  1. This is absolutely helpful! I’ve been living in Norway for more than 2 months and sometimes I tried to translate the norwegian newspaper (always ending frustrated with the complex vocabulary).

    Since I knew that there are English websites (thanks to this article) to read Norwegian news, I’m aware about what’s happening around and of course can notice that people enjoy much more my conversations and I feel more involved.

    Thanks Karin!

    Diana G.

    1. And thanks for your comment! Good to hear that keeping up with and sharing news here is helping you make the integration transition easier for yourself.

  2. My best advice is that you take the weather with you. Having lived in many places in the world I know that I always carry my preconceptions that I realised later are misconceptions.
    For Norway the most important advice from me or maybe for me is related to the actual weather, take your woolies. Woolen underwear does not work everywhere in the world, I was a walking electricity conductor in the dry atmosphere of the Beijing winter, however in Norway it is just perfect. Keep warm and dry and you can experience the best of the country.

    1. Thanks for your comment! You offer truly sound advice for making the most out of living here, as it’s part of the lifestyle to be outdoors quite a bit in all kinds of weather, including the cold and damp sort.

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