5 challenges of moving to Norway

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Are you considering Norway as your next destination for a fresh start? It’s definitely an enchanting country full of scenic landscapes and rich history. On top of that, it has a high standard of living. However, just like any other relocation, moving to Norway comes with its fair share of challenges. Before you contact international relocation companies you can trust, make sure to know about the challenges of moving to Norway. Let’s explore what you can expect with this relocation and some somewhat negative aspects of it.

The language barrier can be a problem when moving to Norway

Norway’s native language is Norwegian, spoken by around 90% of the population. While the majority of Norwegians have a respectable proficiency in English, with almost 90% of them speaking it, the language barrier can still pose difficulties for newcomers. Despite the widespread use of English, living and working after moving to Norway from US can be smoother if you have a basic understanding of Norwegian. Cultural nuances, humor, and some social situations may be lost in translation otherwise. Learning Norwegian certainly is a challenge, but it’s also an investment in your successful integration.

Two people talking about challenges of moving to Norway
Norwegian can be hard to learn, but it will be worth it

The high financial burden as a challenge of moving to Norway

Norway ranks among the more expensive countries globally. Particularly in Oslo, the capital city, the cost of living can be quite steep, comparable to major cities in the US like New York. From groceries to entertainment, the prices can take a significant toll on your budget, which requires careful financial planning and budgeting. Before you search for overseas relocation services to help you relocate, check out these aspects of the overall cost of living in Norway, such as:

  1. Cost of housing – includes rent or mortgage payments, property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, utilities, and maintenance costs
  2. Cost of living
  3. Entertainment costs

The cost of housing is different depending on the city

The cost of housing in Norway varies from city to city, but Oslo is considered the most expensive and usually the most popular city to move to. An average apartment in Oslo measures around 750 square feet, with a square foot priced at approximately $892. The rent for a modest 1-bedroom apartment in Oslo usually starts from $1,000, with the average settling around $1,200.

On the other hand, the average of Norway will be somewhat different, as Oslo is the most expensive. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Norway, when viewed as the whole country, will be around $950. However, you can also go for cheaper options and find rent as low as $750. While if you plan to buy in Norway, a square foot will cost you, on average, around $660. If you’re opting for cheaper cities, consider Bærum, Sarpsborg, and Kristiansand.

Take the cost of living into account

In Norway, an individual will need about $2,100 per month on average to cover basic living expenses. If you’re closer to the capital, the cost escalates. After tax, the average monthly salary in Norway is about $3,300. Essentials such as gas cost about $2.15 per gallon, bread is priced at $3 a loaf, and a dozen eggs cost around $5. Of course, similar to housing, there are cities where you can get away with living even under $1,800 and below. Overall, you certainly need to be good with budgeting and have a high salary if you want to enjoy everything Norway has to offer, which can be one of the challenges of moving to Norway.

A person calculating the cost of living in Norway
Get your calculator out before moving to Norway

Entertainment costs will also be part of your budget

When budgeting for life in Norway, remember to include entertainment costs. The average price for a lunch menu is $17, dinner for two in a restaurant could set you back $79, and a fast food meal like McDonald’s costs around $12. Enjoying a pint of beer in a pub would cost $9, a cappuccino is priced at $4.5, and a single cinema ticket is $15. So before you think about going out and having fun, make sure you know it will come with a significant cost.

Feeling at home in a new community is always challenging

Norway’s climate exhibits significant variation due to its geographical location. The presence of the Gulf Stream brings milder weather to Norway compared to other regions at similar latitudes; however, weather conditions still present challenges. Coastal areas generally experience mild winters, but inland regions encounter damp and cold winters with substantial snowfall, which might require significant adaptation for newcomers. For the sake of illustration, let’s consider the capital city, which tends to attract the majority of migrants, including those moving furniture overseas to Norway. In Oslo, the warmest month is typically July, with an average temperature of around 64°F, while the coldest month is usually January, with an average temperature of around 27°F.

The cultural adjustment will be hard

Adjusting to Norwegian culture can be challenging. The local diet predominantly features fish, seafood, and berries. Their fast food culture is less prevalent compared to the US, and the culinary tastes can be a drastic change. Holidays and festivals also differ significantly compared to the US. With St. Olaf’s Day, Norwegian Constitution Day, Bergenfest, and Northern Lights Festival, just to name a few. Norway’s high standard of living, wealth equality, free education, and healthcare are aspects that may take some adjustment but are generally regarded positively by expats.

Feeling at home in a new community is always challenging

Establishing a sense of belonging in a new community is a universal challenge. Immersing yourself in local activities, making Norwegian friends, and understanding the local culture are essential steps in feeling at home in Norway. Don’t shy away from local events and gatherings, and try to meet new people. At first, the locals might seem closed off, but after some time, you will feel truly welcomed in Norway. Meeting your neighbors is also a great step, even if it seems hard. They can help you immerse yourself in the culture of the completely new country around you.

The northern lights
The challenges of moving to Norway are easier to handle when knowing about the beauty that awaits you

Take Norway with the good and bad

After everything, it’s important to consider the challenges of moving to Norway before you make a crucial step forward. If you look closely at every challenge of moving to Norway we mentioned, you can find easy ways to adjust to even the biggest of problems Norway can throw at you. Overall, the beauty of Norway, both in its landscape and quality of life, makes it a rewarding choice for many expats worldwide. For that reason, we’re sure that you’ll be able to enjoy the country, even if you stumble upon some of these hurdles.





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