Home Norway Forum Norway Guide Moving to Norway Real Estate Healthcare in Norway
Norway
Resources
City Guides
Cigna International Health Insurance
JoinSign In
Cigna International Health Insurance

Stavanger >

Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Stavanger, Norway


Stavanger, Norway

One expat faced culture shock and sticker shock moving she moved to Stavanger, Norway. She said that the Norwegians are not outwardly friendly and that everything is so expensive you just don't want to buy anything or do anything.

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

Stavanger

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

Yes, but only a short session after the move at the foreigner center.

Expats living in Norway interested in expat health insurance should take a minute to get a quote from our trusted expat health insurance partner, CIGNA.

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?

I have a very limited understanding of the language. It is difficult. I am slowly trying to learn the language on my own so I probably never will speak it with confidence but hopefully can read it.

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

Not for this move.

Moving to Norway

Moving to Norway soon? AGS Worldwide Movers is a leader in the international moving industry. Their experience and expertise allows them to guarantee their clients the best quality moving services. Get a moving quote today.

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

Actually living in Stavanger is a culture shock. The Norwegians are not outwardly friendly so you do not feel welcome. Everything is so expensive you just don't want to buy anything or do anything. It takes quite awhile to get over the sticker shock. Then, the medical care is substandard from what I am use to receiving. Also, everything is in Norsk which is a challenge. There are very, very few options to "press 1 for English".

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?

I never had a honeymoon phase. I spent more than a couple of years in the irritation-anger stage. I wouldn't say I rejected the culture but I don't prefer it. After almost 5 years, I may finally be in the adjustment phase. I still shy away from the price tag on things I really don't need.

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.

We had baptism by fire in the medical system. Too many trips to ER plus I had a baby. None of these experiences were good and that really turned me off to the whole experience.

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

I have felt very safe living here and I have been able to let my children enjoy freedoms that I probably would not be giving them anywhere else. I appreciate the recycling system and how the Norwegians can run, bike or take there baby for a stroll in any kind of weather....which is mostly rain in Stavanger.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

The medical system. Medical care is very important and I pray that nothing more serious than what we have already gone through happens to us while we live here.

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

No.

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

I think it is important to realize that things will be different and not what you are use to. You can not change the culture - you can only change yourself. If you want to be happy, don't sweat the small stuff. If you are an expat, you will only be here for a limited time. Do the fun things, travel someplace else over Christmas and shop outside the country whenever you get the chance.

Read Next

10 Tips for Living in Norway

Expats in Norway often have a hard time adjusting to life there. Expats share their tips and experiences living in Norway -- from the high taxes and difficulty making friends with locals to the beautiful scenery and outdoor living.

5 Tips for Living in Stavanger, Norway

Life in Stavanger can be complicated for expats. By most accounts, it is a difficult culture to get accustomed to, but with the right frame of mind and a willingness to adapt, it can be a rewarding expat experience.

Moving to Norway

Expats in Norway report a life abroad in a country to which it can be difficult to adapt. However, if you have the right situation and persevere, the natural beauty and hard won quality friendships can be quite rewarding.

Cigna International Health Insurance

Write a Comment about this Expat Report

Sign In to post a comment.

Comments about this Report

guest
Nov 15, 2011 02:31

Wow, sounds really rough! You were in the irritation stage for more than a couple of years? I was afraid that I may be in the irritation-anger stage for a year or more. So far, it's only been a year of that and I feel I'm in the adjustment stage now. I do hear from other expats that the adjustment phase lasts a few years. I hope things go better for you and that you can enjoy your time there. I think learning the language is a major key to success.

Expatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Norway from our partner, Cigna Global Health.
Get a Quote

Culture-Shock-in-StavangerAn Expat Talks about Culture Shock & Living in Stavanger, Norway

Get some great insight into what it's like to settle into expat life in Stavanger, Norway. Learning the language, what native Norwegians are like, and getting by with English are all covered in this expat culture shock report.

Get some great insight into what it's like to settle into expat life in Stavanger, Norway. Learning the language, what native Norwegians are like, and getting by with English are all covered in this ...

10 Tips for Living in Norway

Expats in Norway often have a hard time adjusting to life there. Expats share their tips and experiences living in Norway -- from the high taxes and difficulty making friends with locals to the beautiful scenery and outdoor living.

Expats in Norway often have a hard time adjusting to life there. Expats share their tips and experiences living in Norway -- from the high taxes and difficulty making friends with locals to the beaut...

5 Tips for Living in Stavanger, Norway

Life in Stavanger can be complicated for expats. By most accounts, it is a difficult culture to get accustomed to, but with the right frame of mind and a willingness to adapt, it can be a rewarding expat experience.

Life in Stavanger can be complicated for expats. By most accounts, it is a difficult culture to get accustomed to, but with the right frame of mind and a willingness to adapt, it can be a rewarding e...

Moving to Norway

Expats in Norway report a life abroad in a country to which it can be difficult to adapt. However, if you have the right situation and persevere, the natural beauty and hard won quality friendships can be quite rewarding.

Expats in Norway report a life abroad in a country to which it can be difficult to adapt. However, if you have the right situation and persevere, the natural beauty and hard won quality friendships ca...

Norway Guide
Other Links
Our Story Our Team Contact Us Submit an Article Advertising Travel Warnings

Copyright 1997-2019 Burlingame Interactive, Inc.

Privacy Policy Legal