From the days on ancient lore and Viking conquest through today’s rapidly globalizing and technologically advanced society, Norway has forever remained a land of great beauty and intrigue. Living amidst breathtaking wilderness under the majestic northern lights you will come to find working abroad in Norway to be a truly wonderful experience.
Why Work Abroad in Norway
Norway is considered to have one of the most successful state systems in the world. Ranked first among recognized nations in human development and quality of democracy, Norwegians enjoy essentially free education, healthcare, and social security. While taxes and overall costs of living can be a burden within this system (Norway is also one of the most expensive places to live in the world), working abroad in Norway you will earn a proportionally sufficient salary which will enable you to live comfortably.
Norway is one of the smaller countries in Europe, with a population of just over 5 million citizens. While small cities and towns speckle the countryside, much of Norway’s land remains as unsettled wilderness and sweeping mountainous terrain. Its tremendous natural beauty makes Norway one of the world’s best destinations for outdoor activities, just come prepared for the cold!
Oslo is Norway’s capital and largest city, making it the first choice for many individuals seeking work abroad in Norway. With just over 600,000 inhabitants it is the economic and cultural heart of the country and boasts many great museums, galleries, and historical attractions to explore. Lying near the southern tip of the country (where winters are not as cold as in the north, but still pretty darn cold), Oslo is located on a peninsula and surrounded by mountains on all sides, making it a great place for nature exploration too.
Other popular destinations for jobs abroad in Norway include Bergen, Trondheim, and Stavanger. While these cities are very unique from one another, each has in common that they offer a smaller, more relaxed atmosphere than the big capital city. Typically it is harder to find English speaking jobs in Norway away from Oslo though, so keep this in mind when deciding where you will look for work.
Jobs Abroad in Norway
Norway is a small country with a highly advanced economy. Its major industries are energy, mining, and fishing, with rapidly growing technology and communications sectors. Some of the world’s largest and most successful companies have headquarters located in Norway, so one approach to finding work in Norway can be transferring within an international business.
This can be a daunting prospect, however. But thankfully there are jobs in Norway provided by work abroad programs, which means you can secure temporary employment in a variety of fields. International workers are typically allowed to work abroad in Norway for anywhere from two weeks to 12 months as part of a work exchange program without having to apply for a residential visa. Finding a job in Norway in teaching or au pairing are two easy routes to take, as is working in agriculture or hospitality.
Due to visa considerations, it is harder to move permanently to work abroad in Norway than it is to go through a temporary work exchange program; but it is not impossible. Your opportunities for employment will increase exponentially if you can speak Norwegian, so if you are serious about the prospect of finding a job in Norway than you should make learning the local language a priority. Most companies will simply require a CV and cover letter for you to be considered for employment, but again it is typically expected that these will be written in Norwegian.
Salary & Affordability
Here’s the kicker: Norway is one of the very most expensive countries in the world to live in. A common complaint among expats is that the costs of commodities in Norway border on completely insane, sometimes as much as triple the costs of other countries on mainland Europe. Additionally, if you find a steady job in Norway, you will be paying back close to 40 percent of your salary in taxes.
The silver lining is that many expenses, such as healthcare, education, and social security, will be taken care of for you, and your salary will also be increased enough to get you by. Norway is one of the most equal countries in the world, so you will be hard pressed to find anyone that is super-rich or super-poor. Just don’t expect to save up much money while working in Norway.
Accommodation & Visas
As you may have guessed, real estate can be quite expensive in Norway too. Most foreign workers living in Norway’s cities tend to rent out single rooms or small flats for the duration of their employment. A word of advice: look for lodging close to public transportation. While the location might drive up rent a bit, you will save yourself daily long walks in the frigid cold, which many consider to be a worthwhile investment.
Obtaining the proper visa to work abroad in Norway can be a long and complex process. If you are working through an international exchange program then this will significantly ease the visa burden. If you are going it alone, then you will need to find an employer willing to endorse you work permit, and also may have to acquire a residential visa down the line. You can learn more about Norway’s visa policy through GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
Due to its sky high human development index and very progressive state system, Norway is a highly desirable place to live and work abroad for many. You will undeniably be challenged adapting to the Nordic culture, and the biting cold and unique language may make Norway seem as far-off a place as any in the world. But ultimately, working in Norway will prove to be an invaluable life experience that is well worth the big leap north.