Expats struggle

Norway is among the worst country in terms of making new friends

The Local

That’s the main take-away for Norway in the InterNations Expat Insider 2016 survey, released in full on August 29.

Although the Nordic nation was named the best country for work-life balance and excelled in areas such as security, health, and the environment, it was ranked just 43rd overall in the survey comparing expats’ quality of life in 67 different countries.

Like its Nordic neighbors, it was in the bottom ten in the category of “Ease of Settling In,” in which expats revealed how easy they had found it to adapt to their adopted homes. Norway was 63rd in that category, while Sweden was 62nd and Finland 59th.

Denmark is the hardest place in the Nordics for expats to settle in, coming in at number 65 and ranking dead last in the sub-category of making friends with locals.

Norway did not fare much better, as the survey declared it the second worst nation for making friends. It was also just the 63rd “friendliest” country for expats—the same lowly ranking it achieved for making expats feel welcome.

“When it comes to feeling at home in the local culture, expats in Norway feel the strain with 42 percent rating this factor negatively, almost double the global average (22 percent),” InterNations wrote in a press release.

“Making new friends also poses a challenge for foreign residents living in the Nordic countries. In fact, 43 percent of expats in Norway and 38 percent in Denmark agree that they have trouble making new friends in these countries,” it continued.

While expats in Norway report having a difficult time finding friends and feeling welcome, they are considerably more satisfied when it comes to their family lives. In a complementary Family Life Index released in conjunction with the survey, Norway was ranked sixth out of 45 included countries.

Norway ranked very high on both the affordability and availability of childcare and education, though foreign parents were less satisfied with the quality of education their children receive in Norwegian institutions.

“Those who live in the country are, however, happy with their children’s well-being and health and safety. In fact, 91 percent rate their children’s health as overall good and they have nothing bad to say about their children’s safety,” the Family Life Index read.

The survey by InterNations, which defines “expats” as people who live in a different country than the one they were born in or whose nationality they have, quizzed some 14,300 people of 174 nationalities in 191 countries about various aspects of their lives. Only sample sizes of at least 50 respondents per country were used in the final report.

This article was originally published on The Local.

It also appeared in the Sept. 9, 2016, issue of The Norwegian American. To subscribe, visit SUBSCRIBE or call us at (206) 784-4617.

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