Developing your social circle in Oslo

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Updated 2019-10-09 07:23

Norwegians are not known for their eagerness to befriend newcomers. Most locals have well-established social networks comprising primarily of Norwegian friends and family members. Luckily, technology has made it possible for expats to connect and find new friends in Oslo. 

Join a club in Oslo

A great way to meet new friends is to find common ground; a general hobby or interest will help you search for clubs with like-minded people. Expat groups are filled with helpful people who will be able to answer any questions you have about settling into Oslo and the surrounding areas. There are even groups like the Oslo's Introverts Meetup Group for people who aren't crazy about socialising in big groups.

Here are a few of the most prominent expat groups in Oslo that hold regular events:

The Meetup website is also an excellent place to search for specific hobby groups in your area, whether you like cooking, music, or any other area of interest. Facebook is another great networking tool to help you track down potential friends.

Learn about the culture in Oslo

Norwegians are proud of their heritage. If you plan on making any Norwegian friends, you'll have to put aside some time to adjust to the local culture and traditions. Since Norwegians are quite closed off, learning more about the culture will help you find common ground with the locals.

Immerse yourself in the culture by asking colleagues or other local acquaintances for recommendations of things to do, see, and eat in Oslo. Who knows, they might just invite you along on a weekend hike!

Learn the language

Norwegians are equally proud of their language, regardless of which dialect they speak (there are several regional dialects, in addition to the two major dialects of Nynorsk and Bokmål). Even though most Norwegians have a firm grasp of English, they prefer to converse in Norsk and shy away from conversations in English.

Most public libraries offer a language café or ‘språkkafe' where foreigners can practise their Norwegian language skills. Check online to find dates, times, and locations of language cafés in Oslo.

There are also paid Norwegian classes available at several institutions in the city. Often, employers are willing to pay the class fees on your behalf – ask your employer about the possibility of subsidised Norwegian language learning. Kompetanse Norge has a list of approved courses available for expats.

Volunteering in Oslo

Volunteering is another way to meet new friends while giving back to the community. International

NGOs like the Red Cross (or Røde Kors in Norwegian) always welcome volunteers.

The Frivillig website regularly updates their page with upcoming volunteer opportunities. Although many volunteer positions require spoken Norwegian, you can always contact them to ask for assistance in finding English opportunities until you have practised your Norwegian skills.

TEDxOslo is a vibrant English community with foreigners and locals that get together to spread information and ideas. Register for volunteering opportunities on their website.

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