How To Be More Like A Norwegian

by Karrie Anne Ducusin

Norway isn’t the typical hotspot for a vacation.  It’s cold, it snows a lot, and they only have a few hours of sunlight in the winter.  However, Norway is actually a perfect destination because it encompasses everything you would want in a vacation: urban life, nature, beaches, a rich winter experience, culture, and delicious food.  Oslo, the capital, is only a 10-minute train ride away from vast forests where you can go skiing and sledding during the winter or hiking in the summer.  The Norwegian people are friendly once you get to know them and English is widely spoken. If you're planning to study abroad in Norway, you can immerse yourself easily into the culture and be like a Norwegian!

Oslofjord, Norway

Oslofjord

Below is a list of activities and delicacies that will entice you to visit the beautiful country of Norway.

1. Try Gjetost (brown cheese)

Norway has two types of cheese: gulost (yellow cheese) and brunost (brown cheese).  Brown cheese is a sweeter type of cheese that Norwegians add to everything! From reindeer stew (delicious) to waffles to open faced sandwiches, brown cheese is a delightful addition.  Some people consider it an acquired taste, but by the second or third try, it will become a staple in every meal.

Fun Fact: Norway invented the cheese slicer!  It makes sense because it is an amazing invention that definitely comes in handy when you need a good old slice of cheese.

2. Go Sledding at Frognerseteren

Korketrekkeren is a popular toboggan spot  in Oslo and one of the most beautiful and exciting adventures you will experience.  As soon as you exit the train station, you are greeted with an amazing view of snowcapped trees and fresh snow on the ground.  It is very peaceful and tranquil, that is until you hear the shrieks of delight from sledders.  You can either rent or bring your own toboggan or sled.  Then get to the starting point and it is 10 minutes of nonstop speed and fun! A definite must do during the winter!

Sognsvann, Oslo, Norway

Sognsvann

3. Grab an Engangsgrill and Barbecue by Sognsvann

Sognsvann is a lake located to the north of Oslo and accessible through public transportation.  During the winter, the lake freezes and becomes a popular spot for cross country skiing.  In the spring and summer, it becomes crowded with happy picnickers and barbecues.  An engangsgrill is a disposable grill that is very popular due to how convenient and easy it is to use.  All Norwegians use them because it can be brought to the park and the beach with no cleanup. 

4. Take a Tour of the Freia Chocolate Factory

Freia is the official chocolate of Norway.  Their factory is located in Oslo and is a must see for every chocolate lover.  The tour explains the history of the factory, includes tons of free chocolate, and you even get to design your own chocolate wrapper with a full sized chocolate bar inside! A tour of the factory is also given, including the cafeteria for Freia employees where they are surrounded by the artwork of Edvard Munch (one of Norway’s most famous painters.  He is known for The Scream).  

Fun Fact: Freia was the first company in Norway with its own health care policy and 48 hour work week.

Bergen, Norway

Bergen

5. Travel Across Norway to the Town of Bergen

If you are looking to venture outside of Oslo, the Norway In A Nutshell tour sweeps you across the country on trains, buses, and ferries through idyllic and beautiful sceneries.  If you book the tour in the spring, the weather will be sunny and warm.  However, once the train takes you into the mountains,  the snow is so heavy that Norwegians are skiing to get to the grocery store. The ferry ride journeys through Aurlandsfjord and Nærøyfjord surrounding you with clear blue water, green hills, and charming houses spread throughout the fjords. The bus ride twists and turns down one of the steepest roads in Western Europe and stops at breathtaking waterfalls.  Bergen itself is a beautiful town on the water with amazing sights and views of the city.  The food is delicious and the seafood is very fresh.  This trip lets you see the true beauty of the country from the east coast to the west.

These are only a few highlights of the many activities and adventures you can have while studying abroad in Norway. Whatever you choose to do, your trip will truly be a memorable and magical experience!