5 September 2016

Ian Anderson - Expat in Norway

Ian Anderson - Expat in Norway

We’ve had the chance to talk to Ian Anderson, 46, a British expat who has moved to Norway with his family. Mr. Anderson, who has been living there for four years, now works as a construction specialist.

Read more about his experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you originally from?



Q: What made you move out of the UK?

A: Originally to carry out humanitarian aid work.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: Norway.


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Met a Norwegian lady in Uganda and married. Decided to move to Norway to take advantage of good schools and health care.


Q: How long have you been living in Norway?

A: Four years.


Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in Norway?

A: Language.


Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance were particularly difficult in Norway? What was your experience with these?

A: Coming from another EU country it was easy.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? ) If yes: How are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: Wife and two children. No problems with the kids, my wife spoke her mother tongue to them from birth so they already understood the language.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Norway? How did you manage to find a social circle in Norway?

A: Wife came with ready-made friend network. Otherwise, here in Norway, some Norwegians can be slow to warm up, but most are at least initially interested in you because you’re from the outside.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: Outdoor stuff: walking, cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, sledging, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, lots of beaches, etc. Also take advantage of ‘cabin’ invites, many of them are awesome. Esp. trips up into the mountains.


Q: How does the cost of living in Norway compared to your home?

A: Ouch! Many small things are double, and second-hand cars are triple, and some everyday stuff is about the same. Overall, I recon it’s about 25% more expensive here. Salary does compensate a little. But you do need to be careful, especially eating/drinking out.

  • How much is a cup of coffee?

A: 20/25nok for a basic cup. 50+ for anything fancy.

  • How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: 140nok.

  • How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

 A: 275-350nok

  • How much is a bottle of wine?

A: Wine starts about 100nok and average is 125to 175nok.

  • How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Who can afford to smoke AND drink? (No idea by the way!)


Q: How do you find the local culture and people in Norway?

A: Quiet, non-controversial, try to be fair and fit in. Tolerant of others mostly.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Norway?

A: Negative: you always miss your home country (and it’s expensive, language, making new friends) Positive: it’s not your home country! (great schools, good health service, great countryside, great beaches, mountains, cabins, boats, high-quality services from trains to meals out.)


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: Of course.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: The Internet. TV.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: Yes, but not home.


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: Finances.


Q: What tips can you give other expats living in that country?

A: Sort out the job first. Have some savings. Expect to drive a much older car!


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Norway?

A: Altinn