Volunteering in Norway

Volunteer in Norway

What to Know Before Volunteering in Norway

Volunteer in Norway will be the best option once you learn some facts about Norway. Physically Norway is one of Europe’s largest countries in the area, but one of the smallest in terms of population, this makes Norway Europe’s second least densely populated country. Norway, then, is very empty compared to most countries. The climate ranges from warm-summer humid continental in the southern regions to sub-Arctic areas in the far north.

Politically and culturally Norway is a country that strongly emphasizes economic equality and personal freedom. Rural areas and small towns are homogenous and dominated by people that describe themselves as ethnic Norwegians. While large cities, in particular Oslo, are demographically diverse due to the large increase of migrants over the last half-century. Today’s Norway’s foreign-born population is about 14.7% of the overall population, with the majority of them living in Oslo and other major cities.

The economy is a highly developed mixed economy. State-ownership in strategic areas is high. The country’s largest companies in the petroleum-, energy-, metal-, banking-, and telecommunications- are all owned, to varying extents, by the state. However, the state operates as a shareholder with an owning interest in a company, not as a state actor directing the companies controlling these companies. As a result of the active role of the state in the economy, the welfare state in Norway is very robust.

 

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The nature of Norway is unique. Its long coastline offers deep fjords, alpine landscapes jutting into rugged coastlines, and varied archipelagos shielding the coast. Its mountains rise far beyond the treeline offering glaciers and all-year-round skiing. Interior forests offer wilderness empty of people and filled with wildlife. And, lastly, Norway’s long history has produced varied picturesque cultural landscapes reflecting the long human use of Norwegian natural landscapes.

The history of Norway is very much intertwined with its geography and climate. The first Neolithic migrants arrive in what is today Norwegian territory after the icecap starts to recede about 12000 years ago. From the very beginning, most people gathered along the coast and fjords as this is where most resources could be found. The ocean remains central to the lives of people there throughout its history: Fishing from the rich ocean, sailing on it to explore, trade and raide in the era of Vikings, building a large merchant fleet to sail the oceans in the modern era and, and drilling the bed of the ocean itself in pursuit of rich deposits of fossil fuels. Even the name Norway itself reflects the close connection these people have to the coast and the ocean. The etymology of Norway literally comes from The Northern Way, an ancient description of the sailing routes along the coast of Norway. Volunteer in Norway gives many more interesting things to know.

Volunteer work in Norway has a very strong tradition. In 2004, in a popular vote organized by NRK (Norwegian Broadcasting) the word dugnad, the Norwegian word for volunteer work won as the most Norwegian of all words. Volunteer in Norway is full of opportunities and learnings.

LANGUAGE

The language of Norway is Norwegian, which is divided into two different written forms: Bokmål and Nynorsk. Bokmål is the most commonly used form. It dominates entertainment, mass-media, and academia. Nynorsk is common in western Norway, with some towns and municipalities having Nynorsk majority.

The Norwegian state also recognizes Sami and Kven as official languages. As a volunteer you will be exposed to these languages in the northern parts of the country.

The majority of Norwegians have a strong command of English. Most Norwegians understand, both spoken- and written, English very well. And most Norwegians speak English well enough to communicate clearly, and many speak close to fluent English

WEATHER

Norway’s climate ranges from a sub-Arctic (very Northern as well as mountainous regions) to continental humid (most of the populated areas of southern Norway).

 

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If you’re afraid of its climate then don’t worry your Volunteer in Norway journey will be fun, because the climate in Norway is tempered by the Gulf-current. So, despite its northern latitude, winters are relatively mild along the coast. The summers in eastern Norway, in Oslo and adjacent regions the summer is relatively warm interrupted by period spells of colder weather. And, keep in mind that despite being on the same latitude western Norway is colder and wetter during the summer, but conversely, it is warmer in winter and receives very little snow.

Currency

The Norwegian Krone is the national currency. The Norwegian monetary system is completely independent from the European Union. The value of the Krone is highly impacted by the value of the American dollar and the crude price of oil.

 

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Timings and weekends

Most commercial operations close every Sunday in Norway. As a visitor or volunteering worker, you will notice how everyone slows down their pace several notches each Sunday. 

Outside of urban areas and gas-stations it is rare for businesses to stay open 24 hours. Even in cities, only smaller convenience stores will stay open 24 hours.

 

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Markets and bargaining

Bargaining in grocery stores, restaurants, and retailers is not practiced in Norway.

For accommodations you might ask about discounts depending on how long you are staying.

Markets operate similarly to a grocery store or a retailer, but it is fine to discuss the prices. Norway is famous for its high-income jobs, working as a Volunteer in Norway opens a new path for your professional success as well.

 

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Religious Diversity

Today Norway is a secular state with full freedom of religion.

 

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However, Norwegian society is heavily influenced by its largest religion: Christianity. Until very recently the official state religion of Norway was Lutheran Christianity. Society is still very much influenced by this heritage. Easter is for example celebrated by the vast majority of Norwegians, and a full 50% of Norwegian babies were in 2018, for example, baptised in a Christian institution.

Islam is the second-largest religion in Norway. Figures vary, but the Pew Research Center estimated that 5.7% of Norwegians in 2016 were Muslims.

Beyond the cultural practices that are rooted in Christian history, most visitors will experience the majority of Norwegian as being secular or atheists. Only about 10% of the entire population visit a Church in any given month. Though the majority are not atheists, the largest group identifies as not being certain.

FOOD

Well for foodies, Volunteering in Norway means new food. But the food at restaurants is more expensive in Norway than in comparable countries.

As a result, it is very common for Norwegians to gather socially both to eat and especially drink alcohol in their homes. Where other cultures tend to meet friends at a public house or restaurant for drinks, Norwegians tend to do the same in their friends’ homes. If the weather permits, public parks and nature are popular gathering arenas in place of people’s homes or restaurants.

 

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As a volunteer or visitor, if you are on a budget, it is recommended you get most of your food from grocery stores. While grocery stores in the country are dominated by low-price chains, the quality of the food you can find there is overall good. In particular bread, cold cuts, and produce.

Norwegian cuisine is similar to its Scandinavian neighbors. The main difference being more mutton, lamb, game, and seafood than Denmark and Sweden.

 

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Pizza is arguably the de-facto “national” dish of Norway, as no country on the planet eats more frozen pizza per capita than Norwegians. However, the official national dish is Fårikål. Literally it translates to Mutton-in-Cabbage, the dish consists of cuts of lamb slowcooked over several hours along with cabbage and served with boiled potatoes.

The most commonly eaten fast-foods, beyond pizza, are “pølse” (sausage served in a potato-flatbread or bun) and kebabs inspired by the “Döner-kebab”-style.

Clothing

In winter time prepare for snow and freezing temperatures.

For summer, prepare for mild weather with occasional warm days,

In all of Norway, regardless of time of year, y be prepared for a windy and wet climate. If you are staying for a longer period of time you will need waterproof clothing.

 

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TRANSPORT

Public transit is well-developed in all cities in Norway. Do you only plan to stay in cities, you do not need a car to live in or visit Norway.

But, Norway is very large geographically. If you are staying in a small town or rural area, it will be challenging, and expensive, to commute to other places via public transit. If you will be living and travelling in such settings, make sure you plan well ahead of time, or have the use of a personal vehicle.

 

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HEALTHCARE

Norway provides a universal public health system with some limitations. Notably dentistry for adults and optometry is not covered, and must be paid by the patient.

Urgent health-care access, including medication, is free for anyone visiting Norway. However, visits for non-urgent matters to medical providers are not. If you are staying for a long period in Norway it is recommended you sign-up for a traveler’s type of health-insurance.

 

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Safety precautions

Norway is safe. Rates of violent crimes are among the lowest in the world.

 

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Do use common sense about your valuables. If walking alone at night urban areas use the same precautions you would in any other major city. For foreigners the Norwegian drinking habits might be surprising. Alcohol consumption is high on weekends and holidays among Norwegians, and might lead to challenging situations.

Accommodation

Accommodation is typically only offered for work-holiday types of volunteerism in Norway. Like we explained in the United Kingdom volunteering If you do not fall into that category, it is likely you will have to provide your own lodging.

The tourism industry in Norway is well developed, the following types of accommodation range widely.

Compared to the cost of living in Norway, hotel-rooms are relatively cheap in Norway, and comparable to typical prices in North America and western Europe. The presence of Airbnb is strong in Norway, and will be a useful tool for finding lodging in small towns.

 

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Do you enjoy the outdoors do bring camping equipment in Norway. Highly individualistic Norway has a strong emphasis on Allemannsretten (Freedom to roam). This means that anyone is allowed to set up camp anywhere they please in the outdoors. This includes private property. If you do camp on private property, make sure you are at least 100 meters away from the closest built structure and try to avoid being a nuisance. Volunteer in Norway is far more fun

Read: Volunteer in France

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Comments

  • Lawrence Ihans
    June 1, 2020 3:50 pm

    We want to volunteer in Norway , or Northern Macedonia and Canad , we are here in the Gambia West Africa can we apply

    Reply
  • berkcan03
    July 3, 2020 1:36 pm

    Hey i am from Turkey.. can i come there ?

    Reply

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