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Student Job Find

Cathy Said:

Can an American student find a job in Norway without knowing Norwegian?

We Answered:

It's very difficult to find work if you don't speak (and more importantly, understand) Norwegian. This is especially true if you're looking for part-time unskilled jobs that students usually want. Even though most Norwegians speak excellent English, the working language is usually Norwegian (except in some fields like science and engineering). Older people and other immigrants (that could be your co-workers) may not speak English at all. In jobs with public contact, Norwegian is always a requirement.

You should also be aware that some of the dialects in Norway (including the one spoken in Trondheim) probably don't sound much like the Norwegian you're learning from Pimsleur. I spoke fluent Swedish when moving here and had no trouble understanding the Oslo dialect (the one you hear most often). But Bergen was a bit of a shock, I only understood maybe 50%. The dialects are much more difficult for people that aren't native speakers of a Scandinavian language. It might help to listen to radio from Trondheim:…

On the plus side, once you speak Norwegian, Danish and Swedish are pretty easy to understand.

There's a chance of getting work through contacts, especially if you have certification in something. You don't mention what your wife does, so it's hard to make recommendations. Make sure you get papers from all your previous jobs that state how long you worked there and what your duties were, along with a reference contact. Jobs always ask for these papers. Get help writing a CV in Norwegian, as that will help you at least get interviews. And learn as much Norwegian as possible before you go. My British boyfriend was able to get restaurant work with slightly above basic Norwegian (he spent a year exchange here awhile back) and a CV in Norwegian. To teach English here, you need a degree in education.

This site is the most comprehensive I know of, it's written by a regular answerer in the language section here:

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