In this post, I am not intending to show you how to learn a new language. Just want to share you some good resources for learning Norwegian.
But should I learn Norwegian?
A big YES, even Norway is one of the few countries where people can speak English fluently, just like their mother language – Norwegian. That’s why I have some friends who have been living in Norway for six, seven years but they rarely use Norwegian. Just English. And they blame to Norwegian: it’s their fault to keep talking to me in English 🙂 Ok, that part we can have fun later.
Besides, things have been becoming more difficult in Norway if you don’t speak Norwegian. Due to the recent oil crisis, the unemployment has increased. Without knowing the language, it’s not easy to get a job, if not saying impossible in many sectors. When I moved to Norway, my dad told me, try to learn their language first, if you can join the conversation, you will be a part of the society. But I didn’t follow that wise advice!
Well… I did complete some Norwegian levels. However, I have to admit that it was not my first priority. As an international Master student, I could not have permission to be in a Norwegian class right in the first semester at the University of Oslo! What a rule!!! I was waiting until the next semester for starting. For new students coming to Norway, I would advise you NOT to wait. There are multiple options for you. It’s expensive (welcome to Norway!!!) but you should invest your time and money into it.
OK, how do I start?
It depends on how you come to Norway.
There are more and more young people coming to Norway for studying. As a student, you can learn Norwegian in university for free. But again, as I wrote above, I could not join to Norwegian classes from the first semester. I hope they really consider to change the rule.
If you are coming to Norway as a member of a family, you will need to pay for Norwegian courses, unless your sponsor has a permanent visa already.
The cheapest way is learning online.
- NTNU has a free Norwegian course. It’s from the beginning. I have some friends who practised with this course first, and they were really good when joining our class at university.
- Another free source is Karin’s YouTube channel. She explains Norwegian by English, so it’s really good for starting. In one video, she said there are some people complaining her, saying that Norwegian don’t speak as slow as she does in her videos. Her response is that she’s trying to help people to learn, so she is speaking as clear as possible. Helping, teaching are her main purpose, not showing off how fast she can speak. I totally agree with her. I still have trouble myself when hearing Norwegian speaks together, I cannot follow 100%, so I could understand both points of view. But again, Karin’s channel is really a good resource.
- Norwegian Teaching – NoTe with Karense Foslien. Both paid and free. Karense offers online courses, which are cheaper than other schools. The good thing is that her courses are certified, so you can use credits for permanent residency application. Unfortunately, I neither have the first-hand experience with her courses nor have any friend who is her student. But I just followed her YouTube channel, and it’s really practical. Pay attention that she is speaking Norwegian in her YouTube videos, so you should have basic skills already. Karense also speaks clearly, so you will not have any trouble to hear her.
Another good option is having fun with volunteers.
- The Norwegian public library, Deichmanske bibliotek, has been holding meetings for people to practise Norwegian together. Check it here.
- Red Cross also has similar meetings. Many times the meetings happen in locations of the Norwegian public library.
- Working in volunteer organisations. I highly recommend this way. Since I have joined to Aktivitetshuset-Prindsen, friends there helps me a lot in practising Norwegian. It’s not only a good way to learn Norwegian practically, but it also helps you to expand your networks. In addition, it can show your potential employer that you are trying to integrate into the Norwegian society. One of my Norwegian friends said that her company doesn’t employ someone who has not any activity besides studying. If you are working in a volunteer organisation, remember to mention that in your CV, even it’s not related to the job you are applying for.
Last but not least, if you practise any kind of sport, try to communicate with people there. In my training sessions at Sentrum Aikido, I ask people to talk Norwegian with me. I guess they need to speak slower, use simpler words. Few times they needed to repeat. But thanks to my friends, it’s really helpful 🙂
So, good luck friends. Those are some helpful resources for learning Norwegian. For myself, learning a new language is not easy, but I am trying to make it fun 🙂
P.S: I thought German can use English very good as Norwegian too. But when I temporarily lived in Frankfurt in few months, I really had trouble in communicating with people. Few times I received phone calls in my Aikido dojo, when I asked them if they could speak English, either they dropped the call, or just spoke very little. I went to supermarkets or a cafeteria, I asked in English and they answered me in German! Might be I need to learn German too 😉