Norwegian Culture And Public Holidays
Most British expats face a culture shock in Norway, albeit the pleasant kind that makes them wary about going back to UK again. Norway is colourful, lively, with a brilliant work-life balance that most advanced economies around the world lack. Whether it is the beautiful outdoors, the extremes you encounter in the climate (with 20 hours of sunshine in summer and pitch darkness for days in a row in winter) or the charming locals, relocating to Norway is a fabulous experience.
A Few Norwegian Quirks
Life in Norway can be really expensive and you will need to budget your consumptions in order to be able to save some money for an emergency. Thus, what most locals do is travel by ferry to Denmark or Germany or indulge in long road trips to Sweden to shop for cheap groceries and merchandise to last a whole month (or year). It makes sense for you to try the same!
Moreover, Norwegians are committed to equality, a trait they call the Janteloven, something the expats don't understand or accept very easily. Flashing wealth, showing off or flaunting social status and achievements are looked down upon.
In large conglomerates, you'll find that hierarchy is strictly theoretical. Your boss will seldom order you around and you are expected to motivate and discuss things with your sub-ordinates, instead of fuming at them all day! This work and life culture may be difficult for most outsiders to comprehend initially. But once you get the hang of it, you are more likely to enjoy life in Norway.
Understanding Norwegian Locals
Norwegians aren't very social with foreigners at first. But, once you get to know them personally, you'll find them to be wonderful people with cheerful disposition. Most Norwegians are calm, composed and thoughtful. But, they tend to get boisterous and vibrant while enjoying the outdoors and indulging in skiing and snowboarding in the snow. The locals make for excellent neighbours as well.
As an expat, you may want to acquaint yourself with as many locals as you possibly can. Sooner or later, they will open up to you, accept you and you'll make friends for life.
Norwegian is the official language you'll need to be familiar with. However, English is widely spoken (though, not fluently) and understood by most locals. Thus, the communication problem in Norway that most expats claim to have is overrated. There is no communication problem actually, as many British nationals in Norway vouch for!
Public Holidays And Religious Celebrations
Since Norway is composed mainly of Christians (both the Protestants and Catholics), every Christian festival is a paid public holiday. This includes Christmas Eve, New Year Day, Good Friday, Easter and All Saints Day. Moreover, there are national holidays celebrated with pomp and vigour too. Constitution Day on 17th May and Boxing Day are celebrated with a lot of colourful festivities in major cities, where there are song and dance programmes and public shows organized in town squares. Labour's Day is also an important holiday.
In case you'd like to prepare yourself for the beautiful cultural experiences in Norway, you might want to look at www.new2norway.no.