Student Life

Survive the City 

Be on time when going to work and school. Being late is considered impolite.

On social occasions Norwegians are more flexible. Being 10–15 minutes late is more common.

Norwegians are friendly, but you may find them reserved. However, you will often get a positive response if you initiate contact

Norwegians are also known for their directness. Some find this rude, but this is not intentional.

The egalitarian values at the root of the welfare state also manifest themselves throughout Norwegian society in many ways – for instance in the field of gender equality. Women expect to be treated with a more gender neutral attitude than in many other parts of the world. Also, be aware that what some might consider a light dress code is not necessarily meant to attract attention.

It is always nice to hold the door for someone, regardless of whether they are men or women.

Old people and pregnant women appreciate it if you let them have your seat on a crowded bus. It is also appreciated if you help people with a baby carriage onto the bus or tram.

Be discrete when looking at people and don’t stare.

Do not cut in line.

Do not litter on the floor or ground. You will usually find a garbage can somewhere nearby.

Do not chat with your friends during meetings and presentations etc., when the speaker is talking.

Switch your mobile phone to silent mode in the library, cinemas and lecture halls.

Norwegians are considered to be easy going and informal. First names are commonly used. Prefixes like Mr., Mrs. and Ms. are generally not used, only on very formal occasions.

You should shake hands in formal situations.

Among students and friends, hand shaking is not expected. However, when being introduced for the first time to someone your age it is common to shake hands and say your name.

You might find that some Norwegians may not agree with or follow these guidelines. However, generally observing these will help you integrate into Norwegian culture and survive the city.

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