Norwegians are avid winter sport enthusiasts and skiing is the national pastime. Norway is famous for its breathtaking glaciers and fjords. In the summer, it is popular to go hiking through the forests and mountains. There are even sunny beaches along the Gulf-Stream-warmed coastline. Also, Norwegian architecture is renowned for its stave churches which are among the oldest wooden buildings on earth.
"Hosting Martin was a life changing event for our family. Even though we had hosted several times before with AFS, we had never hosted a YES student. Martin grew up in the north of Ghana near the equator. His family, as well as his community, barely had enough money to buy necessities. He applied for the YES scholarship because he wanted to make a difference in his community in Africa. He has a special appreciation for the opportunity he was given to live with a family in the US. We were able to strategize with him about HOW he might apply what he learned to his life in Ghana. Now that he has returned, he is already affecting his community. He is teaching fellow students how to use the computer and how to apply the accounting principles he learned in his American school. When he left the US we knew his life would be changed forever. But Martin’s incentive to also “share” what he has learned with his own country and community has also had a transforming effect on us, his American family. We have also been given “new eyes to see” the world! The gratitude (and love!) goes both ways."
Dawn from Wisconsin, hosted Martin from Ghana in 2006
Family and friends are very important to Norwegians. Tolerance, kindness and independence are highly valued. Norwegians cherish their history as a nation of fishermen and farmers with traditional customs; in reality, Norway’s lifestyle is very much like any other industrialized Western nation. Norway is sometimes considered Europe’s biggest folk museum, but simultaneously it is a laboratory for the future.
Norwegians are rich in humanity and demand fairness and equality. Neighbors get along well and usually consider each other to be close friends, even in large cities. Children are fairly independent, and some teenagers have part-time jobs. Parents still expect to know when their children are going out and where they are going. Families get together on weekends; during the week, Norwegians are often quite busy. Husbands and wives typically consider each other equal in authority. Families tend to be small, and everyone shares in the housework
Most Norwegians are physically active and love nature. In winter, many people ski. In summer, they hike and spend time in the forests and mountains. Young people are involved in many activities outside of school such as sports, music, arts and crafts. They also take part in organized activities in the community such as scouting, political organizations and the Red Cross.
Food in Norway is rich in meat, fish, potatoes, vegetables, milk and cheese; and there are sweets in wide varieties. A common meal is meatballs, potatoes, brown gravy and vegetables. Open-faced sandwiches are also popular. Fish is part of the everyday diet. In this culture, most families eat the same food at meals together.
Norwegian is the language of Norway. It is a Germanic language related to Danish, Swedish and Icelandic and has two official forms of writing—bokmål (Standard Norwegian) and nynorsk (New Norwegian). The Church of Norway (Evangelical Lutheran) is the state church. Church of Norway 85.7%, Pentecostal 1%, Roman Catholic 1%, other Christian 2.4%, Muslim 1.8%, other 8.1%.