- Financial matters
Did you plan how to survive financially during your stay in Norway? Or, do you find it hard to figure out where to find information useful for this purpose? Here are some details that may be of help, and if you still have questions, do not hesitate to book an appointment
Unless your admission includes a scholarship, the university does not have covering scholarships available for international students. Depending on what you study or how long, there may sometimes be smaller scholarships or travel grants announced. If you are an international student in Norway, you normally do not qualify for scholarships through the Norwegian study financing system. Check the requirements here There is a scholarship book (Legathåndboken) published in Norwegian only, where smaller scholarships from private donors are announced. These are usually linked either to a topic you study or to a geographical region. It can be time consuming to read and apply but may pay off. The full version book can be purchased each year or borrowed at the university library, while a limited version is available online.
Unfortunately, there are very few employment opportunities in Narvik for people who do not speak the Norwegian language fluently.
Students from a non- European Economic Area country studying in Norway have a limited work permit included in their residence permit With this work permit, students from non-EEA countries are allowed to work part-time (up to 20 hours per week) and full-time during Christmas, Easter, and summer holidays. In order to be allowed to work during the semester, you must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress. Please note that some study programs may not allow their students to work.
Students from a European Economic Area country may work part-time without a work permit.
Finding a job
Generally, employers expect to hire people with fluent Norwegian language skills and it is very difficult to find work if you do not speak the language. Job vacancies are listed in the local newspapers, at the local NAV employment office(NAV TROMSØ, Grønnegata 122). University vacancies can be found on the university electronic notice board 'Tavla'. There is also a section for small jobs usually announced by private persons in need of a hand, click Ønsker/tilbyr hjelp. You may also log on with your student ID and place a small advertisement for what kind of jobs you offer to do.
You may also personally contact hotels, shops, and firms you think may be interested in hiring you. It is useful to prepare a Curriculum Vitae outlining your background and previous experience. If you need further advise, please contact you’re the Student Counselling Centre for an appointment.
If you are fortunate enough to find a job, you will need to apply for a tax card from the local tax office (Skatt Nord, which is located at Kaigata3-5). You are allowed to earn up to 50 000 kroner per calendar year without paying tax. However, you are obliged to obtain a tax card, and give it to your employer, prior to starting work whether you will be paying tax or not. Click the link to read about tax exemption.
If you will be earning more than this amount in one calendar year, apply for a tax deduction card for foreigners and a lower rate of taxation will be applied to your income than for Norwegians.
Budget/Cost of living
The cost of living in Norway is very high. As a general guideline, the Norwegian study financing Lanekassen estimates that the total monthly expenditure for students is on average NOK 10 395 (including housing and academic supplies). Furnished student accommodation is available from SWO for NOK 3 800 – 5 200 per month (+ a NOK 5 000 deposit when moving in), including heat and electricity. Private lodgings will generally cost more. Costs for food, recreation, and travel vary from student to student according to habit and priority.
Example for a modest budget for one semester:
Housing: NOK 19 000
Housing deposit (once only) NOK 5 000
Food, health care, etc.: NOK 19 925
Books and academic supplies: NOK 6 000
Transportation (under age 30): NOK 2 050
Total (5 months) NOK 51 975
Please note that other personal expenses such as clothing, much health care, medicine, leisure activities etc. are not included in the budget. During the first semester, students must be prepared to use a substantial amount of money for setting up their household and buying suitable clothing for the Norwegian climate.
In general, Norwegians tend to dress very casually. Students rarely wear formal or semi-formal clothes like suits or dresses unless it is a special occasion.
Weather in Tromsø is highly variable but one can count on high precipitation throughout the year. We recommend that you should have a waterproof/windproof jacket (and trousers if you are planning on walking a lot), wool sweater(s), scarf, gloves or mittens, hat, warm long underwear (wool) or tights, and most importantly warm/waterproof sensible boots. Mittens are generally warmer than gloves. Be sure to purchase boots with enough room to wear a pair of heavy socks. Your feet will quickly become cold in boots that are too tight. The boots should also have a low heel and be lined to withstand cold and snow, which can be wet and slushy.
Wool is the best insulator in wet cold conditions, although the newer synthetic fibres such as ‘Polar fleece’ are also quite warm. Jackets with gortex, or a similar breathable waterproof membrane, are expensive but most comfortable in wet conditions. In the winter period, you will need a heavier jacket or several layers under your waterproof jacket.
Some stores give a student discount. Ask before you pay and be prepared to show your student identification. Nearly all clothing and sports stores have sales periodically throughout the year where you may find a bargain. Prices may also vary a lot between cheap and expensive shops. You can contact the Student Counselling Centre if you have questions regarding this, and we usually run some information session for new students before the winter.
Second hand clothing, shoes, kitchen equipment and some sports equipment may be purchased from thrift shop Din agenda in town quite cheap. The Salvation Army runs another second-hand shop in town, a bit more expensive than the other one. HRS, the local waste management agency, runs a free second-hand container called “Bruktbua” at their facility in Djupvik. Here you may find bikes and other sports equipment free of charge.
Check the market place on the university electronic posting board, for second hand items. You can even post a request for items yourself, by logging in with your student web ID. The market place is available only in Norwegian, so ask a Norwegian neighbour if he or she can help you with your search.
Feel free to ask at the Student Counselling Centre, if you need help with your search or more tips
There are several grocery stores in town and in Skistua where you may purchase most food items. Stores are generally open from 07:00am to 11:00 pm (in some instances 8 or 9 am to 10 pm) on weekdays, and 07:00am to 10:00pm (in some instances closing at 8:00pm) on Saturdays. Grocery stores are universally closed on Sundays. Please note that grocery stores are often closed or have greatly reduced opening hours on and around public holidays. The stores in the centre of town are generally not open as late as in other places.
The larger grocery chain stores are: COOP, Rema 1000, and Eurospar. Rema 1000 is generally cheaper but all stores have weekly special deals on different items.
There is one international food shop located in the centre of town, Narvik Thai Takeaway. You can buy various international spices, vegetables, and other foods at a generally cheaper price than in the larger stores. Opening hours are generally shorter.
Health food store can be found at the Narvik Storsenter. Organic foods, specialty items, vitamins etc. can be purchased here. Prices are generally more expensive than in the larger grocery stores.
If you have any questions concerning food, nutrition or diet, you may also contact the student counsellor.
Beer and cider may be purchased in grocery stores from 9:00am-8:00pm on weekdays and 9:00 am to 6:00pm on Saturdays. Hard liquor and wine may only be purchased from the Vinmonopol. There is one located in Narvik Storsenter.
The Vinmonopol generally keeps shorter opening hours than the shopping centre, 10:00am-6:00pm on weekdays and 10:00am-3:00pm on Saturdays.
Norwegian law is very strict regarding the consumption of alcohol and driving. To be safe do not drink any alcohol if you are planning to drive.
Busses in Narvik are administered by the county administration through https://www.bybussnarvik.no/.Tickets can also be bought through the Billett Nordland app for smartphones and tablets.
It is very useful to have a bank account in Norway, particularly if you are receiving a scholarship or transferring money from abroad. Along with opening an account, most people order a regular bank (debit) card, or one with Visa privileges (also a debit card). Either of these bankcards may be used in stores to pay for items. The bankcard with Visa privileges may also be used as a Visa credit card both in Norway and abroad. However, this card is not strictly a credit card, as you must have the funds available in your account in order to use it. Banks also offer Internet banking. Generally, fees for paying bills and transferring money abroad etc. are cheaper with this service.
You must have a Norwegian identity number (or in some cases a D-number) to open a bank account in Norway. We recommend students staying at least 2 semesters to apply for a Norwegian ID number. Once you have received your identity number, go to the bank of your choice and open an account. All of the banks charge different fees and it is wise to shop around to find a bank that suits your needs. Some banks have more reasonable student deals than others, and more favourable opening hours.
Generally, international students choose to purchase ‘cash-card’ mobile phone solutions. You will be able to send SMS messages and call to other mobile phones in Norway cheaply. Go in to any telephone store for advice. There are several telephone stores and different telephone network servers to choose from. Shop around and ask other students what they use. Many services in Norway are cheaper to use if you download apps. One example is single bus tickets that can be purchased from the app TFT Mobillett.
If you have a mobile phone from home, you may be able to simply purchase a ‘SIM’ card to register your phone with a local Norwegian mobile system operator. Please be aware that in some cases, your home country telephone operator may have blocked your phone for sim-cards from other countries. Again, the telephone shop can assist you in finding out.
Financial support at difficult times or related to pregnancy/family
In general, international students are not entitled to economic social aid from Norway. One exemption is students bringing children to Norway for a stay of more than 12 months, or giving birth in Norway.
If you are in a financially difficult situation, or having family here - we advise you to have an appointment to discuss your situations and what options may be there.
- Climate / light conditions
Narvik is situated above the polar circle, but has a relatively mild arctic climate thanks to the Gulf Stream and its coastal surroundings. The climate and very special light conditions in Narvik may be very different to what you are used to at home and it may take some time to adjust. With the right clothing, a few tips from the Student Counselling Centre, and the right attitude, you will come to appreciate the relatively unique environment Narvik has to offer.
If you are having any trouble coping with the changing weather and light conditions, be sure to stop by and talk to the Student Counsellor. She can give you advice and tips on what to do if you are having difficulty adjusting. The Student Counselling Centre also has a number of Full-Spectrum Lights available for student use, during the dark season. These lamps simulate the full-spectrum light from the sun. Many students find that ‘light therapy’ helps them to cope with the absence of sun in the winter months. Talk to a counsellor for more information.
- Seasons in Northern Norway
Spring (March, April, May)
Temperatures range from –8C° to 20C°, with an average of 2C°. It is not uncommon to still have snow in May, and the early spring season is the most popular time of the year for skiing and winter activities in the mountains surrounding Narvik. Although cool, the spring season is marked by increasingly long sunny days leading up to the period of Midnight Sun. From May 25 to July 20, the sun does not set below the horizon.
Summer (June, July, August)
Temperatures range from 2 C° to 25 C°, with an average of 10 C°. The summer season can be wet, but 24 hours of daylight and the Midnight Sun make this a unique season.
Autumn (September, October, November)
Temperatures range from -9 C° to 18 C° with an average of 4 C°. There is high precipitation (mostly rain) during this period, and decreasing light. The sun does not rise above the horizon from December 2 to January 10. During the dark period there are a few hours of grey lighting, or twilight, in the middle of the day. When the weather is good, it can be quite light out.
Winter (December, January, February)
Temperatures vary from -12 C° to 9 C° with an average of –2 C°. There is usually a large amount of snow and slush during this period and the season for outdoor winter activities like skiing and skating usually starts in December with lighted ski trails and flood-lit slalom slopes. In wintertime, it is possible to see spectacular Northern Lights.
Buses in Narvik are administered by the county administration through bybussnarvik.no.Tickets can also be bought through the Billett Nordland app for smartphones and tablets.
Bus schedules are available online or in the app Billett Nordland. Be aware that schedules are different during the summer, when buses run less frequent. This is also the case during national holidays.
Single bus ticket
A single bus ticket bought on the bus is much more expensive than tickets prepaid through the Billett Nordland app, because the company encourages passengers not to buy tickets on the bus. Tickets are valid for at least 1 hour, so that if you need to change buses to get to your destination or if you have a quick errand you may use the same ticket.
Period Ticket for young adults (below age 30) or adults (+ 30)
This is often the cheapest alternative if you have a regular travel pattern by bus, e.g. if you use the bus to go to the university and back every weekday. You may travel as much as you please on all city buses. It is much cheaper for young adults below age 30 than for adults above 30.
The value card is the best option if you have an irregular travel pattern. E.g. if you most often walk or bike to the university and only wish catch the bus if the weather is bad or you need to do grocery shopping.
Bringing your car to Narvik
Some students prefer to bring their car with them to Narvik. Our student housing usually have sufficient parking spaces in connection with the homes. It is free to park for residents.
Taxis are generally expensive, with increased rates at night, on the week-ends and holidays. There are 1 taxi company in Narvik. You can order a taxi by calling: Narvik Taxi on 07550, or by going to a taxi stand in the centre of town.
Bikes, skis, walking
Students and staff members are encouraged to walk, bike or ski (depending on season) to and from campus every day rather than to drive. It's good for you AND the environment.
- Getting started
The start of a higher education can be an overwhelming experience. You start a new phase of your life, where you will face many new challenges. Perhaps you will move to a new place far from your family, girlfriend/boyfriend and friends. Here is some advice, which can help getting your student life off to a good start.
At the Student Counselling Service, we meet some students who find it difficult to start a programme of study, even though they have gained admission to their preferred option.
Read these seven tips to help you overcome the initial difficulties of starting life as a student.
1. Be social
Make a real effort to spend time with your fellow students and plan your studies so you also have time for a social life. Get involved in the social life within and outside your study. Take regular time off with good conscience, although at times this may feel difficult. When you are studying, it’s important to take time off from time to time.
If you have just started the programme of study, challenge yourself to try to chat with one new fellow student every day.
2. Join a study group
Study groups – also known as student colloquiums – of one or more fellow students provide a good base and are an excellent opportunity to exchange experiences and thoughts.
The leap from upper secondary school to higher education is huge. Being able to speak with others in your study group will give you an idea of how others are studying and understanding the syllabus.
3. Plan your time
Create a weekly plan and record all your:
- Reading times
- Group work
- Recreational activities
- Social activities with others
It’s a good idea to meet your fellow students in a different context than purely academic.
4. Accept that things take time
Give yourself time to be a novice and don’t expect to the full overview immediately.
You are here to learn – not to already be an expert. Making new friends won’t happen overnight either.
5. Expect challenges at the start
Starting to study at university may feel exciting, but don’t be surprised if you feel lonely or unwell a few times.
Your mood may fluctuate. One moment you may feel free and exhilarated, while the next moment you feel disheartened. This is quite natural when you are adapting to something new and at the same time leaving your comfort zone.
6. Register for a student organisation, a recreational activity, social evenings, etc.
Social challenges rather than academic challenges are often the reason that students drop out. Treat yourself to a social and academic network because it provides positive energy to participate in such activities.
7. Most will be feeling just like you
Remember that everyone else will be feeling nervous and anxious too. We all have a fear of being outside the fellowship or not being welcome in a group. If you feel that initial challenges last too long, contact the Student Counselling Service so we can help you.
Be realistic about what you can manage and remember to allow time for things other than study. Variation from the study is important. It offers a breathing space from your studies where you don’t have to perform in the same way.
- Master your studies
Student planning is not just about gaining an overview, prioritising and scheduling of your programme of study, but also about life in general. At the Student Counselling Service, we meet many students who find it hard to gain an overview of the programme of study. Get some tips about study mastery here.
Structuring your studies is something new students need to learn. You will acquire new methods continuously throughout the programme of study.
You will also learn to replace unsuitable habits with things better suited to the requirements of higher education.
Find the reason for any problems
Your problems with study planning may be attributed to:
- Having just started studying
- Not being motivated for the programme of study
- Not being able to concentrate
- Suffering from stress
- Having other circumstances in your life, which affect your concentration and energy - sick parents, breaking up with your girlfriend/boyfriend, feeling homesick, loneliness, etc.
You can gain control of your problems with study planning by focusing on the other circumstances that are distracting you.
Get the full picture – including things you don’t have time for
Use a form to plan your week to ensure you allow time for study, a part-time job and recreation. Planning your activities can also be a tool for reducing stress. Structure deals with getting an overall picture – including what you don’t have time for and must postpone until later.
You can ask your student adviser if your programme of study offers courses in study techniques. Alternatively, you can join a study group and teach each other good study habits and motivate each other.
- Group work
Some find group work rewarding, while others find it challenging. Discuss what you expect from each other when it comes to the balance between the social and the academic. Some groups are exclusively work-related, while others also develop into friendship.
Consequently, the balance between social and academic activities will differ from group to group. If the expectations are unclear, it can easily lead to frustration and confusion.
- Study doubts
Do you have doubts about whether you have chosen the right programme of study? Are you considering swapping programmes or dropping out? Consider the following three things before you reach a decision:
Find out why you have doubts
Most students experience that doubt creeps in at some point during their studies.
Any doubts that arise should not only be perceived negatively. It forces you to think carefully about your choice of programme. You may also reach the conclusion that you have chosen correctly.
However, if such doubts persist, you should take this seriously. Try to find out the reason for your doubts. Is it because:
- The programme of study is too challenging for you from an academic perspective?
- You are more interested in another course?
- You have personal issues that require a lot of your attention?
- You have problems settling in socially to the programme of study?
Your doubts don’t necessarily need to be related to the actual programme of study. If something else is creating your doubts, it’s important to sort that out first. Consider the various options open to you in terms of swapping to another programme of study.
- If you swap to another programme of study, can you be granted specific recognition for any of the courses you have completed?
- How is your financial situation, i.e. how much student loan do you already have?
Before you decide whether to continue the programme of study or swap to another option, it’s a good idea to make a list of the respective positives and negatives.
The student advisers at the university and websites can provide answers to many questions related to study doubts. Contact the Student Counselling Service if you require our help.
- Examination anxiety
Examination anxiety may be expressed in many ways and may be related to many different factors. If you are experiencing anxiety, it’s important to think that the anxiety is often a signal that the you are handling and interpreting a situation in an inappropriate manner.
Examinations and new students
New students may struggle to accept lower grades than they are used to, and consequently develop examination anxiety. Were you one of the top pupils in your class at upper secondary school, but are now just one of many clever students?
Some students may perceive lower grades as a personal setback and not an academic setback.
Examination anxiety and academic difficulties
You fear the examination because you are not properly prepared for it. Underlying causes for this may include:
- Wrong choice of programme
- Academic difficulties
- Lack of motivation
Examination anxiety and inappropriate study techniques
If you are fully motivated, perhaps you have not learned to acquire the relevant knowledge due to inappropriate study structuring and study techniques.
Examination anxiety, perfectionism and performance anxiety
Many students with examination anxiety are struggling with perfectionism, the result of which can be performance anxiety. If you place extremely high demands on yourself, this increases the risk of failure and consequently your anxiety also increases.
Low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence often hides behind perfectionism, so looking at examination anxiety in isolation is insufficient. You also need to deal with the way you view yourself and others.
Examination anxiety and major personal issues
Major personal issues in the lead-up to the examination, e.g. relationship issues or serious illness or death in your family, will naturally affect your preparations and the examination.
In such cases, the examination anxiety probably has nothing to do with your ability to take the exam, but rather that you have not had the necessary inner peace that an examination demands
- Studying for your exams
It’s very important to prepare properly for examinations. To achieve this, you need to find what works best for you. Remember that for your brain to function optimally it’s essential that you get enough food, drink and rest.
We recommend that you structure your reading during your examination preparation. How many hours can you and do you want to read each day? Prepare a plan and stick to it. That will help you create a good studying routine, and you will avoid constant negotiations with yourself about how to plan your day.
Try the following advice:
- Prepare a reading plan. Then add in time for repetition before the examination.
- Read during the day and have the evening off. Create a good daily rhythm.
- Distinguish between study and leisure. Use your free time on positive interests and creating good relationships with others.
- Plan how long you want to read not how many pages or chapters.
- Do not skip breaks while reading. We recommend interval reading/writing, i.e. read/write for 45 minutes, followed by a 15-minute break.
- Take your breaks away from your computer, other device and things that require your brain capacity. This includes Facebook, SMS, e-mail and the like.
- Get some exercise during your breaks. Get a change of scenery, go outside and get different impressions.
- Work out where you read best. Is it at home, at the library, in a café or somewhere else.
- How well do you cope with noise? Do you prefer reading alone or on a busy reading room?
- Find someone to discuss the syllabus with. We recommend starting a study group. This enables you to check that you have understood the syllabus.
- What do you want or expect from your family, girlfriend/boyfriend and friends during the examination period? Discuss your needs with them.
Before the examination
- Reading alone is insufficient to understand the syllabus. You must convert the knowledge into your own words and practice conveying this.
- When preparing for an oral examination, speak out loud to yourself and in your study group about the syllabus. When preparing for a written examination, practice writing and attempt to answer previous examination question papers. Get your study group to read and correct your answer.
- Take a walk and reflect on/marvel at what you have read.
- Visualise how you will answer the examination. Stay focused on what you know and not on any gaps in the knowledge that you know you have.
- Familiarise yourself thoroughly about the practical arrangements for the examination, such as where does it take place, what time does it start, how long does it last and do you have preparation time?
- Read the entire examination question paper. This will give you an overview of what you must answer.
- Start by answering the questions you consider easiest.
- Continue with the next question. If you get stuck, you can always return to a question later.
- Taking a break to stretch your legs and get some fresh air may help you to concentrate.
- Think of the examination as a conversation. The lecturer and examiner are there to guide you.
- Tell them if you are nervous.
- Ask for any difficult questions to be repeated or rephrased.
- If in doubt about what you think is correct, say it anyway. It’s better to try than not say anything.
- If you get a mental block during the examination, tell the lecturer and examiner about what is happening.
After the examination
- Praise yourself for your effort when the examination is over.
- Take the rest of the examination day off and make sure you eat, drink and rest.
- If you are worried about how it went: try not to think about it until you get your grade.
- If it turns out that you failed the examination: Even though it feels like the end of the world, that is not the case. Many students fail one or more examinations during their studies.
- Public speaking
From time to time during your studies, it’s necessary to make an oral presentation to a group. Do you find it hard to speak to large or small groups? If this is a challenge for you, read this page about daring to speak in public and you will get a wealth of advice to overcome your fear.
It helps to practice
For most people, nervousness and fear are a natural part of making an academic presentation to their fellow students. However, it’s often a matter of practicing.
The more you practice, the better it goes.
You learn to live with or handle your nervousness. As it fades into the background, you can concentrate on the academic content.
When anxiety takes control
For some students, their anxiety and fear can be so overwhelming that they stop attending and participating in their programme of study. They try to completely avoid making oral presentations and expressing themselves.
The fear is often associated with quite specific ways of thinking or perceiving one’s self, such as:
- I’m not good enough.
- I’m afraid that other people will see how insecure/stupid/nervous I really am.
- I don’t want to expose myself to criticism because it’s bound to be negative
- No one will be interested in my opinion.
- I will panic, do embarrassing things and burn my bridges so it’s impossible to attend again.
- If I talk very fast without breaks and almost without drawing breath, I will get it over and done with quickly before they discover that I have said anything.
- I will turn bright red.
It becomes a vicious circle
The fear can lead to your restraint becoming self-reinforcing. You don’t get the experience of how stimulating and affirmative it can be to express yourself. To overcome your fear, it’s a good idea to try to understand how everything is linked.
When you know the reasons for your restraint, you can break the vicious cycle by starting to practice and train your skills. Contact us if you need help.
- Completing your studies
- For some students, successfully completing their programme of study (writing their thesis or final assignment) proves extremely challenging. Some come to a complete halt in this process. If this occurs, it can be useful to contact the Student Counselling Service for help.