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Expats and the job market: how to learn Norwegian language and boost your career prospects

Torleif Mæhre, teacher and founder of Norwegian With Tor, shares some tips to help you get your dream job in Norway

Norwegian with Tor - Language classes

In the past few years, Norway has become one of the most attractive European countries in the eyes of expats. Like many other capital cities, Oslo represents an excellent option when it comes to education. Every year universities and schools welcome thousands of students from all over the world. However, any desire to stay in Norway after graduating has to face one major obstacle: the Norwegian language.

Despite the international environment, finding the dream job as an expat seems harder than expected. Recruiters tend to avoid hiring people who can’t speak Norwegian at all, despite their high professional background. On one hand, this language is a necessity for shops and restaurants working closely with customers, especially with elderly people who might not master the English language. On the other hand, the linguistic competition between expats and locals will always be there.

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But there is good news: improving your career is still possible. Torleif Mæhre is the teacher and founder of Norwegian With Tor, one of the biggest communities of Norwegian learners that boasts more than 150.000 followers on social media, including Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and YouTube (@norwegian.with.tor).

After 5 years of experience, Tor has seen many students grow both from a linguistic and working perspective.

Three motivational tips:

He also has three motivational tips for you to start the path toward the job of a lifetime and become a fulfilled Expat of Oslopolitan, check them out below!

Tip number one: Take any job you can to begin with.

References are very important.

If you don't know how to start, start small. Even if it’s not exactly your ideal work sphere, pushing yourself outside your comfort zone is totally normal in the beginning.

Try any possible job that allows you to get to know the locals and become familiar with their behavior. Saying short sentences like “Hei, god morgen!” (Hello, good morning!) or “Hvordan går det?” (How are you?) is still a good starting point.

And if you have just arrived in Norway with zero experience and no idea of what to do, remember that volunteering is always an option. The goal here is to collect opportunities and references that will enhance your experience in different ways, especially from a relational point of view.

Norwegian With Tor with post-its of names in norwegian language class

Tip number two: Don't give up, it can take years to get a good job.

Even though it is very tough in the beginning, at the end of the day finding a good job is difficult for everyone.

It takes time to reach a significant professional level after graduation, but it’s all part of everybody’s career path.

Also, consider that major cities such as Oslo, although more expensive in some respects, can offer more job opportunities and higher remuneration than other areas in Norway. So, don’t give up: the mountain will be difficult to climb, but the view from the top will be worth it.

Tip number three: Reach the B1 level in Norwegian.

At first glance, learning the Norwegian language might seem an intimidating challenge, especially as a beginner.

In reality, it is quite straightforward compared to other languages. For example, the grammar of the A1-A2 level is surprisingly simple, with no confusing clauses or conjugations. Therefore, you should be able to get to the beginning of the B1 level with any particular problem. Also, an interesting aspect to experience is dialects.

To start simply, the Oslo dialect is a good one, especially by taking advantage of living in the city. Learn the basics here, and one day you will experiment with other dialects to use in your day-to-day life.

After all, speaking Norwegian can considerably improve your life in Norway, both from a personal and professional point of view.

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For this reason, Tor offers a variety of methods to learn this language in a fun and interactive way, for example engaging with social media posts just five minutes a day, joining his webinars, attending his online Master Courses from A1 to C2 level, or simply joining the wonderful community of Norwegian With Tor.

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