“I’m glad you moved to Norway, I’m guessing they treat their immigrants worse than their own people, life must be great there.” While on the phone with my grandparents earlier this week, they jumped on the subject of immigration and refugees, and how, in their opinion, immigrants shouldn’t receive any benefits, forgetting that their own granddaughter is an immigrant somewhere.
Today has been a sad, weird and surreal day. Ever since Trump announced he would run for president, everyone has been saying he would never be able to win. Didn’t stand a chance. I was scared, but believed them. Trusted the polls, trusted the American people. Today, they proved me and the rest of the world we overestimated their kindness and compassion. They elected someone who doesn’t believe climate change is real, and who hates women, immigrants, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, the muslims and basically every other minority out there.
I’m originally from a small town in Belgium, but in 2014 I immigrated to Norway. Since then, everyone has been asking me in what the cultural differences between Norway and Belgium are. I see a lot of differences when it comes to politics, public services, and healthcare. For example, I pay fewer taxes now, but my asthma medication is free. But both countries are Western European, so living in Norway is generally pretty similar to living in Belgium.
I don’t want to go into politics with this blog post, so I wrote down the five biggest cultural differences when it comes to how people live and behave in both countries.
This is my third summer here since moving to Norway. During the last semester of university, almost three years ago, I was an intern at a design agency in Oslo. I lived here for three months, from February to June. And I liked it a lot. SoI started searching for a proper job and immediately after graduating I moved back here. Moving to Norway was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I still enjoy living in Oslo. Last month I wrote a blogpost about questions related to my immigration. This time, to celebrate my 2 year anniversary here, I’m writing a post about what my first three summers looked like.
About two and a half years ago I made the big move from Belgium to Norway. I love every part of living here, but some of the (recurring) questions I get from Belgians and Norwegians are pretty annoying. So I decided to share them with you.
1. “Are you used to living abroad already?”
I didn’t mind that question the first few times people asked me, it’s a normal question after all. However, I’ve been living here for MORE THAN TWO YEARS now. You can drop it. Stop asking me. If I wasn’t used to it by now I would have moved back already. The cultural differences aren’t that big either. Stop asking me. Please.