Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in Norway:
Plan a short visit before you arrive to check out areas to live in and find your way around. We spent a weekend in Norway before making the decision and we came during winter months which can be a tough season. If you like Norway during winter then you’ll love Norway during summer.
Go into the country with a blank slate, think for yourself and don’t let anyone scare you into thinking the general population is a certain way. If you hear someone speak badly of the country, put that in the back of your mind, experience it for yourself and then come up with your own opinion.
This makes for a boring answer but as I said above, both my husband and me had a very good idea of what awaited us; hence it was easy to settle in. After all we were finally fulfilling our dream!
Moving to Norway has felt a bit like coming home. Things are developed, rules are followed and the outdoor lifestyle feels similar to Canada. The biggest challenge has been our inability to speak or read Norwegian. While most people speak English here, all signs, websites & labels are in Norwegian and it’s been a difficult learning curve.
I suppose one finds their own path to a “new normal” over time, without a magic cure for things like homesickness, loneliness and various waves of culture shock, but those of course take time and a lot of effort to manage through. Learning to make my favorite Mexican dishes helped me considerably – especially during the long and cold winters.
Shortly after we moved here we left our stroller in a little town names Baerum’s Verk. We left the stroller outside a restaurant, or I thought I had. I went back to the restaurant a couple days later and the stroller wasn’t there. All of my Norwegian friends said the stroller would still be there and I was so disappointed that someone had taken my stroller. I looked into buying a new stroller, but with the higher prices here in Norway the stroller would have been double what we paid in the US, over $400. We decided to hold off buying another stroller for the time, but we needed one for our trip in February. Today, 3 ½ months later, when I was back out in Baerum’s Verk I went into a café to see what their specials were and there was the stroller sitting right there. The hats and mittens that we had left in the stroller were even still there. I could not believe it was still there. I felt bad for doubting the honesty of the Norwegians.
Despite the Norwegians much touted English language skills I would recommend learning some of the lingo before coming here (or as soon as possible after arriving) as you should expect to do when moving to any new country.
It was definitely an adjustment moving to Oslo, I think my experience moving from Ohio to London a few years back prepared me for Norway. Being my second international move I had a better idea of what it takes to get settled, although Norway is a bigger adjustment. There was definitely some culture shock during those first few months, but nothing I couldn't handle.
I am still discovering and learning about new aspects of the Norwegian culture as a resident, a mother, a wife, a tax payer, a professional, a friend, etc. That is what I love about being an expat!
I had not been living in my home country for 6–7 years when I came to Norway, so my whole life was a big culture shock. Norway was just the last one.