This post is written by Ásdís Sæmundsdóttir – Nataliia Petromanova – Carlos Enrique Chavez Mendizabal, first year MSc students.
Moving to Norway can seem pretty overwhelming, especially as the first week quickly approaches. In order to reduce the stress, it is best to be well prepared. To help upcoming students, we have compiled a list of important things to consider before coming to Norway and also what we recommend doing in the first week. These are some tips we wished we had known when arriving last year.
What to do before coming to Norway:
- Make sure your passport is valid through your whole stay.
- Bring European Health Insurance Card (if you are from EU/EEA country) or other valid health insurance card.
- Make sure you don’t fly to Oslo on the Sunday before school starts! Almost every shop is closed, even food stores.
- Learn some basic Norwegian phrases by using apps like Duolingo.
- Download a few, very useful apps on your smartphone (see list at the end).
What to bring with you to Norway?
As Norway is one of the most expensive countries in the world, some of these might be cheaper in your own country, and it might be a good idea to bring them with you.
- Warm winter clothes – including coats, jackets, scarves, mittens etc.
- Water resistant winter boots
- Router and Ethernet cables
- Adapter for electricity
- Make sure to bring a debit/credit card that can be used in Norway.
What to do in the first week in Norway:
- If you are staying in Norway longer than 3 months, you need to apply for a residence permit if you come from outside the EU as quickly as possible. It can take a long time to get it.
- Make sure that you arrange an appointment at police office as early as possible.
- After you have your residence permit or you come from EU/EFTA countries, you need to apply for an ID-number at the Tax office (Skatteetaten) as soon as possible! It can take weeks to get the number and without it you are not able to apply for a bank account. You must bring:
- Registration certificate (EU students) or Residence permit card (non-EU students)
- Housing contract
- Admission letter to BI
- Get familiar with the transportation system. It is quite easy once you get a hang of it.
- First of all, please be aware that taxis in Oslo are extremely expensive (a ride from the airport to the city center can be over 1.200 NOK. Flytoget is the most convenient and affordable way to get to the city from Gardemoen airport (95 NOK for students).
- Buy a Ruter-kort at convenience stores (Narvesen, 7-Eleven, Deli de Luca and others). It is a card you can use on all the transportation modes in Oslo. Alternatively, you can download the Ruter app and have a virtual card on your smartphone.
- Get a 30-day ticket for a special student price (approx. 440 NOK).
- Take the underground metro to BI campus by lines 4 and 5. BI stands just outside of Nydalen station.
- Check which line you should take in order to get to your dormitory in advance (see the map) and you can screenshot it to have it on your phone before you come.
- Sign up for Norwegian language courses! It is extremely important to know some Norwegian if you want to adjust to the Norwegian society. Even though most everyone speaks English, Norwegians prefer to speak Norwegian.
- Be aware that in Norway, 99% of transactions are made with credit or debit cards or with online banking platforms (Vipps, etc.) and you cannot pay your bills or services at the bank. Instead you can go to the nearest post office and pay it there, although it costs additional 100 NOK.
- If you want sign-up for a gym membership, you can choose either Athletica (SiO gym, situated at the BI campus) or SATS Elixia. For Athletica, you can apply with “exchange student membership”.
- To get a Norwegian phone number, you can buy a MyCall sim-card for the first weeks and once you get an ID-number you can switch service provider if needed.
- It is unfortunately not easy or fast to get a Norwegian bank account for international students, so if you were planning to open one as soon as you get here, unfortunately it won’t be possible. So, make sure to have access to your personal account in your home country.
- Go to IKEA if you need affordable furniture, kitchen cutlery and other essentials for your housing. Just be aware that IKEA is closed on Sundays!
- Get to know your surroundings! Go downtown, to the numerous parks in Oslo and explore the area around the BI campus. The first week is the best time to do that, as the weather is nice and school hasn’t yet started.
Apps to download:
Here are a few apps that can come in handy:
- Duolingo (To learn some basic Norwegian)
- Google Maps (Download offline map of Oslo)
- RuterBillet (To buy the city transport tickets)
- RuterReise (To plan trips within the city commuting network)
- NSB (To buy train tickets and check their schedules)
- Flytoget (To buy the express train ticket from Gardemoen airport to Oslo Central Station)
- NorgesTaxi (If you really need a taxi)
- Uber (Again if you really need it!)
- TooGood-ToGo (Cheap meals)
- Mattilbud (Check out the current discounts in the different supermarkets and convenience stores)
- CokeCash-less (In case you want to get a refreshment in one of the BI vending machines)
We sincerely hope your first week in Oslo will be great and that you will be able to use some of our tips to make your move a little bit easier!