Anonymous asked in TravelEurope (Continental)Other - Europe · 1 decade ago

norwegian culture shock for foreign exchange student?

my family petitioned to get a foreign exchange student from norway, who we will probably get. ive been trying to find stuff in the internet about the differences between american and norwegian culture. i want to know about what he will think is weird and what i will think is weird. what are some differences

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    It depends on a variety of things. Norway is more similar to the North East and states like Minnesota and Wisconsin than the South or West. That's a gross cultural simplification of course, but you get the drift.

    There are many different personality types, religious and political views, but here's what I regard to be "the average Norwegian". Other Norwegians reading this are welcome to correct me.

    1. Democrat. There are plenty of political parties in Norway, but I'd say 70% of them would translate to the Democratic Party. This means that the average Norwegian does support some socialist views (although I hear that's almost a curse word in the US these days) like universal healthcare, sponsored schools and colleges etc. Freedom of speech is a big one, I contend that Norway is a more open minded society than the US overall.

    2. Independent. Exchange students I've talked with who've been to the US, always find it odd that so few American teens are immature when it comes to taking responibility. In Norway, the age of consent is 16, and sexual responsibility is a personal matter. I've heard many American parents won't allow the bedroom door to be closed if they have a visitor of the opposite sex? Jobs on the side are not uncommon from age 15 and up. Drinking and driving (separately!) is legal at 18.

    3. Used to the outdoors. Most Norwegians walk or take a bike for short distance trips, and don't nag guardians for transportation.

    4. Liberal. Equality and freedom of choice is a cornerstone of modern Norway. This includes anything from choice of friends and partners to sports activities, education and career. Interfering parents are not appreciated, although that's pretty universal.

    5. World oriented. International history, politics and geography is more important to Norwegian students than American ones.

    Other things that are different: Commercials for cigarettes, alcohol or political parties are illegal. Television in general is more like the British system, but generally we get the same shows. Don't be worried that he or she will not understand popcultural references! Also, Scandinavian students are reportedly have the best proficiency of English (out of all countries where English is not an official language). Pronunciation varies, but he or she will have a much higher understanding than what it might sound like.

    All of this could be useless of course, you might get a bigoted right-wing city boy couch potato dependent on support to accomplish anything. We call it "Danish". (Kidding.) Don't worry, I don't think they'll send anyone over but a wholesome Norwegian. Although the probability of exchange students being religious are higher than with the average population I've heard.

    I'm sure other ACTUAL exchange students will share their insights on this question eventually. Good luck either way, exchange families do a great and meaningful job.

  • Erika
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Norwegian Exchange

  • 1 decade ago

    Even though, I'm not a foreign exchange student, I would like to express some. :)

    I have been in Norway nearly one year now. I am being a refugee here. I stumble upon this topic by typing 'culture shock' in google search. Yes, I'm getting a great culture shock here. Norway has completely different cultures if compare to the place where I was before. So, it's not odd that I am being a culture sick !

    I am attending secondary school in Norway. First, I feel really awkward for being such a different one from others. Skin, hair-color, look, etc.. 3 or 4 months passed, I just really wanted to go back to where I was. I can't get any norwegians friend even though being at school for some months. The advisor from the school said, 'Norwegians are difficult to become friends. But once they accept you as a friend, they are really good at all'.

    They talk to me today like a friend, like we know each other for a long time. But tomorrow, they will treat me like they have never seen me before. That is totally different from my culture. When you enjoy a very good pop song and want to share with them. They will say it's ******* boring. :) To get well with Norwegians, I have to adjust many things. I really fall in love with this culture now. I feel like a kite flying in the sky without the rope now. Norwegians are really friendly if you know how they work. :)

    Norway has a lots of countryside. It will make you bored if you're a person who enjoys city-lifestyle. Remeber, Oslo is not New York. :) But when you feel culture shock, I suggest you to read this website ( ). It has some great points. Come on ! Take the adventure. Life sucks if we stuck on the same place with same people for the whole life. Just try to dance with some waves in the new culture. It will give you a fresh look in your life. :)

    P.S be lenient with my english because it sucks :)

    Source(s): experience
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