Or, all’s well that ends well. It’s hard to believe that my Fulbright is really over, and that it’s already been about a month since I’ve left Norway. Time really has flown by, and I’m very thankful that I was given the opportunity to spend the past year in Norway and to get to learn more about myself and others. I’ve been asked a few times whether or not I’ll continue to blog, and thus far my answer is still maybe. I don’t return to the States for about another month, and while I plan to continue updating my blog with my remaining European adventures, I have no guarantees as to what I’ll decide to do after that (to be honest the fact that I even made it to 150 posts defied most people’s expectations, especially my own). Regardless of what happens, I hope you’ve enjoy reading my thoughts on Norway and on a few other European countries.
I thought I’d group my tips for living in Norway with some general tips that I have for moving abroad:
Living Abroad (in Europe)
- Bring proper electrical equipment, adaptors, and converters if necessary.
- If you have preferred cosmetics, toiletries, or pharmaceuticals stock up before leaving. Finding American brand medicine in Europe can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.
- If you have one, definitely bring your student ID. Student discounts exist pretty much everywhere in Europe
- Definitely notify your financial institutions that you’re moving abroad, and if you’re planning on dipping into your US accounts I would highly recommend getting a:
- Charles Schwab Debit Card – The biggest perk of this debit card is that you pay no ATM fees worldwide. If a fee is charged it is reimbursed to your account. There are also no monthly service fees, you earn interest on your balance, and your account is FDIC-insured.
- Chase Sapphire Credit Card – This card is my travel credit card and I love it because it has 0 foreign transaction fees (so when I buy things in a foreign currency it doesn’t charge me extra) and has a chip so I can use it abroad. It offers fantastics points on things like travel and restaurants, but the best thing is the way that you can use these points. Chase has a pretty good rewards system already, but with this credit card when you buy things like flights through Chase you get a 20% discount automatically. You can also convert your points 1:1 into most of the major frequent flyer programs. The one downer is that it does have an annual fee.
- There are a variety of US websites that won’t work abroad or will have limited access. In order to get around this I’d recommend using the browser extension Hola Unblocker (Fulbrighters seem to almost universally use this for Netflix).
- If you’re coming from the US and have a Kindle I would highly recommend getting a local library card. Many local libraries have ebook collections on Overdrive and this allows you to check out books, even when you’re abroad.
Living in Norway
- The preferred weather site in Norway is yr.no
- The new Craigslist is finn.no. Posts include everything from an online marketplace to jobs to apartments.
- Mattilbud is a handy app that tells you what’s on sale at all of your local grocery stores.
- Let’s Deal is the Norwegian version of Groupon.
- It’s easy to sign up for a library card in Norway, and the libraries actually have a surprisingly good selection of English language books. If you happen to be a teacher you can check out books for longer than the standard library card.
- Buying things secondhand is a good way to save in Norway. Flea markets are popular and Fretex is the Norwegian version of the Salvation Army.
- This is fairly random, but I liked signing up for email updates from the store Kitch’n. Kitch’n is definitely overpriced, but I enjoyed occasionally buying some of their products (specifically their Marius themed kitchenware), and they’ll even give you a free packet of tea/coffee on your birthday.
- Buy candles for winter! Oddly enough they’ll make you feel better in the midst of all of the winter darkness.
- You will probably pick up knitting. It pretty much qualifies as a national pastime.
- Provided that you’re far enough North, keep your fingers crossed for the Northern Lights. Websites that you can use to check for them are the Aurora Forecast and the Geophysical Institute, though there are a number of Norwegian Facebook groups that can also keep you in the loop. The one I used for Trondheim was Nordlysvarsel for Trondheim. When you can see the Northern Lights they tend to last for a while, so don’t worry too much about missing them.
- You’re going to want to buy some sort of crampon type things for your shoes in winter. I know a lot of Americans invested in Yaktrax.
- There aren’t a lot of great options for English language news on Norway, but I ended up liking Life in Norway. I signed up for their weekly news email which gives a good overview of what’s going on in the country.
- Lastly here are some old blog posts that you might find helpful. Some are on more practical elements of living in Norway, while others focus more on different aspects of Norwegian culture:
- Alien Life
- Cell Phone Plans
- Health Care
- Grocery Shopping: Or Things That Make Me Sad
- “Asian” Markets in Trondheim – although this post is Trondheim specific, you can generally find more exotic food options at “Asian” markets throughout Norway
- The Bacon Bus: Or Grocery Shopping in Sweden – although this post is Trondheim specific, I know that other Norwegian towns, specifically Oslo, have their own equivalent of the bacon bus.
- Vitamin D, Where Did You Go?
- Norwegian Culture