If expats want to learn Norwegian, there are several books, CDs and other language programmes available in bookstores, at the library or in schools, not to mention online language-learning programmes, podcasts and apps.
Norwegian is a Germanic language and is known for its 'sing-song' intonation. Knowing how to speak Norwegian is certainly helpful when doing business and when socialising with Norwegians, but more importantly, it's a requirement for permanent residency and citizenship.
Expats aged 16 to 67 looking to become permanent residents are required to pass Norwegian language and social studies tests. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to go about learning the language, whether one decides to take up free government classes or enrol in private lessons.
Free Norwegian classes for foreigners in Norway
Skills Norway is a government organisation that provides eligible expats a minimum of 600 hours of free training, made up of 550 hours of Norwegian language training and 50 hours of social knowledge training. Expats have three years, beginning when they receive their first residence permit, to complete this training. If the three years elapse and the training is incomplete, expats are liable to pay for the remainder of the required lessons.
Not everyone is entitled to free lessons, however. This largely depends on one's nationality and immigration status.
For example, non-EU/EEA holders of Norwegian work permits may not have the right to free lessons. However, they are still eligible for permanent residence, on the condition that they complete at least 300 hours of tuition (250 in language and 50 in social studies). This means they must pay for their own lessons.
EU and EEA nationals, as well as those from Nordic countries, are exempt from the language requirement. This also means that they are not entitled to free tuition.
To find out about their eligibility for free language and culture lessons and the requirements for permanent residency, expats should contact the adult education centre in their local municipality (kommune).
Private Norwegian classes for foreigners in Norway
Some universities offer beginner courses for foreign-exchange students or expats, and new arrivals could enquire at a local university about what options are available. However, adult learning centres are the most common institutions to approach for a language course.
International company offering short group and individual courses for all ages, as well as business and cultural training.
Language Power International
Offers language courses for small groups or individuals, depending on level.
International Language School Norway
Offers tailor-made courses in most languages, including Norwegian.
Adult learning courses at hundreds of participating municipalities and institutions across Norway.