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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Oslo, Norway

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Oslo

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

no

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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

Yes. Learned it here. Depending on your visa type, the course can be free. The courses at the universities tend to be better. I've heard good things about Oslo Summer School at the U of Oslo, but never went to it.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

No- too little time between decision and arrival

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How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

Sudden and strong once when tired. The rest is a decision you make.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

Not much because I came alone for my career. No complications of a relationship at the start. I've seen others go through more because of trouble getting a job, getting education recognized and expectations from a spouse who doesn't get it.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Again -- it's about making a decision to be happy where you are -- regardless. And if something isn't right -- do some problem solving. Sitting around whining or complaining only drives in the despair.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Challenging myself to make this move was exciting. Doing this makes you feel like you can try other things.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Cultural arrogance -- Notion that all things Norwegian are best, without testing the differences. Fear of confrontation and honesty.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

Asked waiters for the government instead of the bill for a couple years before learning that regeringen and regningen are different words.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

Embrace difference. Acknowledge that there will always be things you don't like. Look for what you can like. Learn the language, so you can connect with ordinary people of all ages and can find an independent life aside from your partner. Embrace the experience as an adventure. When culture shock hits, remember that things weren't entirely perfect at "home" either. Build a life based on looking for what is good.

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If you're not involved in our Norway Forum, it's a great place to meet others in your area, get answers to questions about moving to Norway or offer advice to a newcomer.

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Comments about this Report

guest
Sep 19, 2010 03:47

Great to read such a positive report and attitude to living abroad. All too often people seem to wallow in self pity instead of grasping the opportunities in front of them and making the most of their lives. :-)

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