Overview of Norway
Usually, colleges and universities have housing facilities for their students, from students village and dormitories to single house on the campus or right next to it. There are even some universities that guarantee housing for students coming from non EU/EEA countries, due to visa regulation. If this option doesn’t work for you, you have different choices and different range of prices for your accommodation. If you prefer to be alone, you can find a studio apartment but the number is limited and it might be less expensive to live in a shared apartment with other students: you should have your own room but the other parts of the house are shared with the others students. Start searching for your apartment as early as you can because. usually, it is easier finding a room in May/June than later in the summer/fall. Finally, you can try to find a host family: it is interesting from a financial point of view, and it is also a good opportunity to discover the Norwegian way of life.
■ Transportation system
The transportation system in Norway is quite efficient and reliable. Public transportations are available in every city. As a student, you will have discounts in the majority of public transports. You can find subway maps and timetables (NSB Togruter) at every train station.
The Norwegian State railways lines are efficient and well-developed but you might have to take buses or ferries if you want to head to the far-north. Boats and buses shuttles will change timetables according to the season.
The currency used in Norway is the Norwegian crown. Norway is one of the richest countries in the world and with a strong currency so prices can be rather high, and buying things might be very expensive. For instance, even international brands such as McDonalds are slightly more expensive there. For the food, it is definitively cheaper to eat at home, but you can manage to find affordable lunch set for 20-30kr at the next convenience store or grill, but usually fast-food start from 50kr and you’ll have to pay at least 200kr in a decent restaurant. For the everyday grocery-shopping, you will find small chains of supermarkets such as 7-Eleven, Deli de Luca, Mix or Narvesen. The shopping experience is not cheaper. Mainly, Norway has huge department stores, where you can find pretty much whatever you’re looking for, but it might rapidly become very expensive.
Usually, the food matches the people’s habits and the country’s specificity. Well, Norway is no exception. Traditional Norwegian food is rich and warm, and made from everything that grows on the land and that can be fished from the sea. Basically, you’ll find potatoes, bread and some vegetables siding meat of fish. One of the specialities of the country is dried and salted cod (actually you can find them hanging in front of every house in the northern villages). Here are some Norwegian specialties: fårikål (stewed casserole of lamb's meat and cabbage, the national dish!), ukket valnøtt (marzipan-covered whipped cream cake), geitost (goat-cheese)...
Norwegian like to say this: cold country, warm people. Indeed, Norwegian are said to be very friendly and welcoming.
Norway has acquired international recognition in the field of arts: in music with famous composer Edvard Grieg, in cinema, fine arts (The Scream by Edvard Munch) and architecture. Also, if you’re there in summer, you will have the opportunity to witness the incredible midnight sun. Due to the inclination of the Earth, during the Norwegian summer season, the sun never sets north of the Arctic Circle and for a couple of months the sun is visible 24 hours a day! And finally, Norway is the country of the Vikings, fearless and fierce warriors. They were also great travellers and many historians say that they might have been to America long before its official discovery by Christopher Columbus. You can experience a bit of the Viking life by visiting museums or sailing in an authentic Viking ship.