Norway is a country of breathtaking glaciers and fjords and avid winter sport enthusiasts. Check out a traditional folk festival or one of Norway’s famous stave churches, which are among the oldest wooden buildings on earth. You might even get to see the spectacular aurora borealis, the northern lights.There is a strong sense of history and civic engagement and on special occasion some Norwegians wear traditional clothing, bunad. During the warm months Norwegians of all ages love to be outside, hiking, fishing and barbecuing are popular.

Young people in Norway are often involved in after-school activities such as sports, music, arts and crafts. Community organized activities, scouting, politics clubs and the Red Cross are also quite popular. And like most teens everywhere, weekends are for movies, parties or hanging out at cafes.

Culture & Community

You will most likely live in small rural communities with a population under 20,000. Your host parents will probably expect you to be quite independent, and your host siblings might have part-time jobs. Weekends are often family focused. 

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School

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You will probably attend the Norwegian upper secondary school in the general studies track. Even though Norwegian schools don’t usually offer extra-curricular activities, many of your Norwegian friends will take part in drama, choir or sports outside of school. Norwegian teachers value initiative so you should be quite independent and don’t expect constant reminders to do your assignments. You can expect to have a relatively informal relationship with your teachers, and address them by their first name.

Language

Norwegian is the language of Norway. It is a Germanic language related to Danish, Swedish and Icelandic and has two official forms of writing—bokmål (Standard Norwegian) and nynorsk (New Norwegian). Some schools might include you in the Norwegian classes for immigrants and AFS will share links and materials with you to help you learn the language.

Food

One of the most popular foods in Norway is fish, but people also eat lots of meat, potatoes, vegetables, milk and cheese, and there are various sweets. Open-faced sandwiches are also popular and are often eaten for breakfast. Dinner is the main meal of the day and a favorite dish is meatballs and potatoes with gravy. Even though Norwegians still appreciate traditional Norwegian dishes, the international cuisine has had a lot of influence the recent decades. Try out the pizza, pasta and Norwegian “tacos.”

Explore the Programs Available in Norway