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Norway, a Scandinavian state in the Arctic Circle, is often compared to New Zealand – it is famous for its breathtaking glaciers and fjords. Norwegians are avid winter sport enthusiasts, and skiing is the national pastime. In the summer, they enjoy hiking through the forests and mountains under the Midnight Sun. And then, of course, there’s the Arctic, which provides a backdrop for some of Europe’s most charismatic wildlife – polar bears (in Svalbard), reindeer and musk oxen to name just three – and the setting for many a picturesque wooden village.

The counterpoint to so much natural beauty is found in the country’s vibrant cultural life, which celebrates local traditions and draws in the best from around the world. Norwegian cities, such as Oslo, are cosmopolitan and brim-full of architecture that showcases the famous Scandinavian flair for design through the ages. At the same time, a busy calendar of festivals, many of international renown, are worth sampling.

The people of Norway are some of Europe’s most progressive and peaceful. Most Norwegians live in small communities of less than 20,000 inhabitants. While Norwegians cherish their history as a nation of fishermen and farmers, they live life very much like any other industrialised Western nation. Norway is sometimes considered Europe’s biggest folk museum, but simultaneously it is a laboratory for the future.

Eligibility Requirements

  • You must be 16, 17 or 18
  • Enrolled in a NZ school
  • Getting ‘achieved’ or more in your school work
  • Language requirements: English

What's included in your experience

  • Airfare
  • Airport Pick-up
  • Host Family Placement
  • Housing
  • Meals
  • School Placement
  • Medical Insurance
  • 24/7 Emergency Support
  • Domestic Transport
  • Assistance with Application Process
  • Visa Application Assistance
  • Pre-Departure Orientation
  • Orientations during your time abroad
  • Access to Alumni Network
  • Continuous Support
  • Worldwide Presence
  • 70 Years Experience

What you are responsible for

  • Vaccinations
  • Visa and Passport Fees
  • School Uniform
Canva – Bergen, Norway_edited

High School

During your study abroad in Norway, you’ll likely be enrolled in the second year of Norwegian Upper Secondary School. These schools offer several areas of study and you’ll probably be placed in the general studies track. Norwegian schools don’t usually offer extracurricular activities but there are often options in the community for drama classes, choir, and sports. During your time in school you’ll really have a great opportunity to meet new people and expand your horizons.

You’ll have lots of chances to make new friends and socialize at school and during your free time. Young people in Norway tend to have lots of hobbies including sports, music, or arts and crafts. They also often take part in organized community activities like scouting and youth politics, or debate and discussion groups. Like teenagers everywhere, they also spend time going to the movies, having parties, and just hanging out in cafes. During the warm months Norwegians of all ages love to do things outside; hiking, fishing, boating, and barbecuing are all popular.


Accommodation and lifestyle

AFS students have lived all over Norway but most host families live in small rural communities of less than 20,000 inhabitants. Norwegian families tend to be small but relatives often live in the same town. Norwegian children help out around the house and you should expect to have the same kinds of responsibilities that you’re used to in New Zealand. People are often good friends with their neighbors, even in the cities, so you’ll have the opportunity to really get to know the whole community.

Norwegian food is nearly all rich and hearty. Meat, fish, potatoes, milk and cheese, are all very common ingredients. Open-faced sandwiches are extremely popular and are often eaten for breakfast, with hard-boiled eggs on top and maybe some fish. Dinner is the main meal of the day and a favorite dish is meatballs and potatoes with gravy. If you like fish, you’re really in luck because most Norwegians eat it every day!

Let AFS guide your intercultural adventure

Kick-start your future with AFS and discover who you really are, make new lifetime friendships and immerse yourself in a fascinating intercultural experience.

This programme begins at your home country with a pre-departure orientation and continues with orientations, other supported learning activities and facilitated conversations which will help you maximize your experience, cope with the challenges of navigating a new culture and community as well as gain knowledge, skills, and a global understanding throughout your time abroad, and as you return to your home country. AFS volunteers will be there to support and guide you and your host family the whole way through.

Find out more