General Question

flo's avatar

How good are things in Norway?

Asked by flo (12974points) June 14th, 2012

Do they have ideal system over there? What do you think is great about Norway?

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15 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

Ask @cazzie. She lives there.

What specific systems are you interested in?

flo's avatar

I knew someone from Fluther does live there I couldn’t think who it was. I’m asking as many people as possible @gailcalled.

zensky's avatar

Education. Read about their celebrated system both for the teacher and student.

YARNLADY's avatar

They have their share of notoriety, and it is very cold there, but overall, I’ve heard mostly good things about it. The economy is thriving, and education is free.The Norwegian tax system is based on the principle that everybody should pay tax according to their means and receive services according to their needs.

As a result, the tax level is one of the highest in the world.

cazzie's avatar

The education system isn’t all that great. Finland is better, and it depends on where you live. Things are bogged down in an amazing amount of red tape and administation levels that are hard to manoeuvre because of the amount of paper and number of people you need to deal with and SOMEONE is always on sick leave or holiday, so things take a long time to happen sometimes.

The health care system is GREAT. No one dies here because they can’t afford a procedure. Psychiatric care and management of long term disability are both bogged down in red tape. A friend here with spina bifita calls himself a ‘professional patient’ because he spends heaps of time working on paperwork to get to the right specialists and benefits. I am totally convinced he would have been penniless and homeless years ago and be dead by now if he lived in the US.

There is a great safety net here. Oil was struck in the 70’s and they Nationalised that industry for the benefit of the entire nation. The first person the government contacted when they found oil was not an economist or a banker, it was a philosopher. I think that says a great deal about the country.

They have a great deal of National pride, but they don’t let it get out of hand. The nationalistic fervour of Nazi Germany and how they took over Norway for 4 years is still very much in the national psyche. They don’t like ‘pledges of allegiance’ nor do they fly their flag all over the place every day of the year. They put their children though a program to become good citizens with a conscience and they have a party to celebrate it. It is called ‘Confirmation’ and it is not always a church thing. If you and your kids aren’t Christian or religious at all, there are secular programs for it. It is a program outside of school where, for about a school year, I think, they take a class once a week about civic duties, being involved in their local community and the world community as young people and that everyone is an activist. They are made aware of just how good they have it here and that there are children in the world their age who are force into prostitution, violence and starvation and live with war on a daily basis or are in relocation camps and live on a small bowl of rice a day and have to dig their own toilets. At the end of the course, they’re are given a huge ceremony and party and are given gifts of money and such and are then-on considered ‘young adults’ and enjoy special privileges, like staying up with the grown ups after the smaller children go to bed, or being allowed to stay at home for a weekend without adult supervision. Generally the kids are 14–15 years old.

The oil money, btw, is invested and the country, by law, is only allowed to live off a certain percentage of the interest the fund earns. Here is what our oil fund looks like:

Here is a Norwegian Newspaper in English if you would like to read our news.

Here is an old article from 2008 about how the Norwegian oil fund works. It is old, because Norway has now surpassed the UAE (as of June last year) and sits on top of the list for value in the fund.

tups's avatar

Things are very expensive in Norway. Sweden is the cheapest country in Scandinavia, Denmark is somewhere in between (although it’s getting more expensive over here :(). Anyway, Norway is nice. Beautiful nature, and if you like cold winters and semi hot summers, they also have nice weather.

cazzie's avatar

Saying the weather is nice here is like saying every American is a nice pleasant individual. No, the weather varies. Greatly. The nature is beautiful, but you may not want to live there, if you get my meaning. We have a saying, Ikke dårlige vært, bare dårlige klær, which means, It is not bad weather, it is bad dressing. If you dress appropriately, you can go out in most conditions.

Yes, things are expensive here, but people are generally paid accordingly. Being at the top of the ‘food chain’ in Europe means that taking a vacation anywhere else is cheap. We went to Malta one year for two weeks and it was so cheap to pay for the airfare and hotel and then eating out was absolutely dirt cheap. (especially because I was 6 months pregnant and not drinking any alcohol.) Vacations, even to the US, are cheap. Because we don’t have to pay for accommodation, it means I can spoil my family a bit and buy dinners out and treats at the grocery story they would only think a luxury. I like to buy the little ones a few toys when I am there. Not having to pay postage for a gift means I can spoil them extra much.

However, visiting here as a foreigner and trying to take into account the exchange rate, you will be gutted and shocked at the prices.

flo's avatar

Soooo interesting. Thanks @cazzie and everyone else.
Re. ”…or being allowed to stay at home for a weekend without adult supervision. Generally the kids are 14–15 years old” They should bottle up whatever makes the 14 and 15 year olds mature enough to be left alone for the weekend.

cazzie's avatar

I love shopping in Sweden. It is like everything is permanently on sale. We have a cabin waaaay up north (haven’t been there in ages) but it is up on the Norway/Finland border. A short car ride to the grocery store means going over a bridge to Finland where we can buy cheap beer and groceries, but the language there is so amazingly difficult, I have no idea if I am buying cottage cheese, yoghurt or sour cream. It is a fun, fun challenge for a girl from a hick town in Wisconsin. Most of the Finlanders speak a form of Swedish, so we can sort of understand each other if they lack English, but there are still many differences in what things are called. I go a bit nuts and try different foods there because it is so cheap.

Oh, the food here is not only expensive it is icky. It makes me miss New Zealand. Most cafe’s don’t know how to serve good food and you pay through the nose for it, so it is rather heartbreaking. My idea of ‘going out to lunch’ is buying a salad from the grocery store in a ready-pack and sitting on a park bench or on a bench in the mall when the weather is bad. I won’t buy a stale over priced sandwich just so I can sit in their section of seating. Also, be prepared for some form of food poisoning. We had bad-burger at a place I went for ‘Mothers Day/Valentines Day with my little man. We both got sick. Little man insisted he ‘take me out’ for Mother’s Day, but I think we leaned our lesson. My wallet and our intestines both felt overly relieved that day.

Not all kids would be mature enough to leave home alone, but some are. My neighbours have left their 17 year old son home alone this week. They have been playing loud music, but they turn it off at or before 10pm. There is one kid that comes around and has one of those horrible stereo systems in his car that shakes our windows. Hubby went out and had a chat with them, and now, if they see our heads in the window when they pull up, they turn it down. The kid had no idea out plants and windows were shaking and he looked proud and horrified all at the same time. They are pretty respectful, nice kids.

I think kids grow up a bit faster here. There is sad amount of material spoiling that goes on and those kids are starting to grow up pretty materialistic. There is an odd thing here in the culture. If someone has on a new jacket, they tell you and if it was expensive, they tell you how much it cost. Where I grew up, that is rude, but here, it is what they do. People like to tell you what kind of house they have, what they spent on improvements, how much their boat cost, how many cabins they have… it sounds odd to me.

Little man and I like to do the opposite. We like to brag about what a good deal we got on something and how it was 50% off the 50% off tag, that sort of thing. That is how I grew up. I found him a brand new jacket at the Sal. Army store that was 70% it’s already low low price. 17kr for a brand new jacket in the right colour and right size! Score!

flo's avatar

Hiow about accesibility to university? Are they the strictest?

gailcalled's avatar

There are, in addition to the eight flagship universities, dozens of other universities and colleges. Source

All bachelor’s programs at the U. of Oslo are taught in Norwegian; here are the requirements for matriculation."Admission requirements”:

Admissions to the undergrad programs is competitive.

cazzie's avatar

Most people I know have gotten into a Masters program of their choice.

There are no tuition fees. You pay for your books and that is it. The bachelors degree you must have completed prerequisite education to be accepted and, if you didn’t grow up here, you have to take a Norwegian test called The Bergen Test. It judges if your spoken and written Norwegian is good enough. An American High School Diploma is not enough to get you into University here. You need to have completed high school plus one year of University in the US AND show that you have Norwegian as a second language if you want to enroll in the University here.

flo's avatar

Thanks. @cazzie @gailcalled.
I heard that your grades have to be really really up there (not like in most N. American Universities) in order to be accepted, not only in Norway but wherever it is free in Europe.

cazzie's avatar

No, @flo. You just have to have passed the pre-requisite courses & show up for class.

flo's avatar

@cazzie Okay, thanks for all the info.

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