The best guide for a successful relocation
Although mastering Norwegian is not essential to survive in Norway, being able to communicate in Norwegian can be of great help if you wish to integrate with the locals.
Before deciding on an official language course or self-tuition, you need to know what you want to learn and achieve (e g. do you want to speak Norwegian fluently or just have the ability to hold a basic conversation? Do you need the language for work purposes or just to improve your social life?). Once you have set your goal you can choose the method that suits you most.
Learning Norwegian before you move
If the thought of stepping foot into Norway without being able to speak a word of Norwegian fills you with dread, don't worry. There are various options you can consider to avoid feeling lost during the first weeks of your stay.
One of the ways to learn Norwegian in your own country is to practice with a native speaker who is learning your language through an online language exchange programme. Lots of language web sites can help you find a Norwegian partner with whom you can exchange e-mails, chat, speak in a video-chat etc.
Another option is to subscribe to an online course. The choice in this case is wide: you can simply consult a free online grammar book, language blog or web site, or purchase a proper complete course kit (normally consists of a book, CD-ROM, and in some case online tuition).
Learning Norwegian in Norway
Once you are in Norway, learning Norwegian will become a lot easier. As with any other language, one of the most effective ways to learn Norwegian and to get in touch with the culture is to watch local TV programmes. This method is particularly recommended if you already know some words or grammar structures and this will significantly improve your listening skills. There are various channels with a national coverage, some of them financed by licence (NRK1, NRK2 and NRK3) and some others financed by commercials (TV 2 and TVNorge).
Language schools and private tuition
An official in-class language course or private classes are both great options if you intend to speak and write Norwegian fluently and correctly. Language schools are quite common in large cities like Oslo and most universities have free Norwegian courses for foreign students.
Private classes are a great option if you find that language schools do not provide enough individual attention. The best way to find a private teacher is to look online at expatriate websites, and you can also look on university boards, or in expatriate cafés.
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