Interning overseas is one of the most challenging and rewarding ways to launch a career. Navigating the unfamiliar terrain of a foreign culture while taking your first professional steps can seem like a daunting task. But it’s one that will leave you with skills in cross-cultural communication and an international network that can attest to your professional abilities.
In the Scandinavian region of Europe, Norway is at the forefront of several industries, making strides in energy, technology, and human rights. Interns will have the chance to learn from industry leaders and fine-tune their skills. Not to mention, Norway’s cozy towns nestled among dramatic landscapes will provide a film-worthy backdrop for an overseas adventure. Your free time could be consumed by climbing steep peaks, cruising fjords, or chasing down the Northern Lights.
An internship sets the course for your future career, and starting with an overseas program in a place like Norway is sure to leave a lasting impact.
Whether it’s contributing to the emerging technology industry or learning how the Norwegian people balance oil exports with renewable energy programs, interns will gain insight into how one nation manages big aspirations.
Deep in the North Sea, oil and natural gas reserves have turned Norway into one of the largest fuel providers in the world. As such, students aiming for careers in the energy industry will discover plenty of opportunity in this Scandinavian nation. Companies like Statoi host interns across several departments to experience the internal workings of a leading energy company.
However, just because Norway’s slice of the North Sea happens to be sitting on massive oil and gas reserves doesn’t mean the nation isn’t invested in renewable energy sources. Water turbines turn out electricity in the country’s abundant hydropower plants, with solar and wind energy programs also on the rise. Students of the environmental sciences can apply classroom knowledge at an internship with one of Norway’s energy companies.
While much of Norway’s GDP comes from offshore drilling, dry-land industries like technology are picking up momentum. International companies, such as Google and Cisco, have Norwegian offices that oversee the region’s tech needs. From web development to mobile design, students fluent in software engineering can pick up internships in Oslo and other budding technological centers.
In addition to testing out their engineering chops, interns will also get to experience the business side of the job. Client interaction is crucial for applying feedback and learning how to manage projects. As an overseas intern, the experience will be invaluable for gaining skills in cross-cultural communication.
Norway’s world-renowned education, health, and welfare systems have been the subject of many studies and discussions on human well-being. The country has also accepted refugees from around the globe. With domestic programs like this, Norway has naturally become a champion for human rights worldwide.
For those interested in human rights advocacy, various programs dedicated to helping others, such as CROP or NUPI, will occasionally take on interns. Interns have the opportunity to both contribute to a cause as well as learn how to develop relief operations that effectively make an impact. Spots are competitive, and overseas students will need stellar applications to stand out against other hopeful interns.
Planning Your Internship
Best Time to Get an Internship in Norway
The optimal time to intern in Norway depends largely on your target program and availability. Some programs, like that of Statoil, are only available in the summer. However, since most of Norway’s top industries aren’t as restricted by season, you should be able to secure internships year-round. Recent graduates will have more flexibility with time of year, while those still enrolled will have to plan to intern over the summer or as part of a semester abroad program.
Entertainment should also be taken into consideration when deciding on a season to intern. Popular outdoor activities like hiking to Trolltunga or kayaking in Norway’s stunning fjords are best taken up in the summer. Though interning over the winter shouldn’t be discounted -- skiing, Northern Lights viewing, and the fairytale vibe of snow-covered Scandinavian towns make Norway’s colder months some of the best.
Once you know the location of your internship in Norway, you can begin pin-pointing a place to live. If you went through an internship abroad program, then the company should be able to provide housing or assistance securing housing. In cases like this, you’ll probably be in shared accommodation with other interns as your flatmates. Otherwise, if you acquired an internship independently, you can look into options like renting or sharing a flat and staying with a local family.
Cost of Living
Norway’s cost of living is higher than average, especially in cities like Oslo. Here, rent for a single person will start at around $1000-$1500 per month. While housing expenses decline outside of urban hubs, it’s likely that your internship will be in one of Norway’s major cities.
Basic essentials like food are priced equally high. An average meal out is about $20, and dining in isn’t much cheaper. You can expect to spend nearly 30% more on groceries in Norway than you would in the U.S. If your internship is unpaid, plan to have enough money saved up to cover the duration of your stay.
Though not an EU nation, Norway’s participation in the Shengen Agreement makes it possible for EU/EEA passport holders to work in the country for up to 90 days or file with immigration for longer stays. For non-EU passport holders, current students may be able to acquire a residence permit for vocational training and research in order to intern overseas in Norway. If you’ll be undertaking an internship post-grad, then you’ll need to apply for a residence permit for work.
Typically, Norway is near the top of the UN’s yearly World Happiness Report, so it should come as no surprise that those positive vibes extend into the Norwegian workplace. Unstressed, friendly coworkers make it easier to ask questions and get the most out of your internship experience. Not to mention, you’re likely to feel more obliged to kick back and enjoy life rather than stay late on a Friday.
Health & Safety
If you’re interning overseas in Norway, then you’re interning in one of the safest countries in the world. Crime rates and risk of natural disaster are very low. However, long-term visitors, like interns, should still be covered by medical insurance to prepare for the unexpected, like accidents or sickness. Since internships don’t typically come with health benefits, you’ll have to check if your current plan extends internationally or else purchase insurance separately.
Because hiking is a popular activity in Norway, pack appropriate gear for outdoors excursions. Sunscreen, bug spray, and sturdy footwear are a must, as well as clothing for every type of weather. Once you’ve checked everything off your list, it’ll be easier to fully appreciate your overseas adventure in Norway.