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After a year of living with a Norwegian family and attending a local school, you might never want to go home. Experience the Norwegian values of friendship, tolerance, independence, and equality. You’ll find that because of the long winters, spending time outside is a high priority for Norwegians and you’ll get lots of opportunities to explore their breathtaking glaciers, mountains, waterfalls, pristine forests, and coastlines. If you’re into skiing, it’s tough to do better than Norway, where it’s actually the official national pastime.

Things to know

Norwegians tend to have a strong sense of history and civic engagement and on special occasions you can expect to see many Norwegians wearing traditional clothing, or bunad. Vegetarianism is not common in Norway but fish is a major part of the diet, so if you’re flexible and ready to try new things, a study abroad in Norway is a good fit for you.

What's included in your experience

  • 70 Years Experience


Graduates Eligible? No, participants cannot have graduated prior to the start of the program
Minimum GPA 2.5
Age Range
16yrs, 0 months
18yrs, 6 months at start of program
Language Skills Preferred, but not required
COVID-19 Vaccine Not Required

Based on differences in culture, strict government regulation of medications, and other local customs, it has been our experience that not all of our international AFS partners are able to support students with certain diagnoses, including but not limited to, severe allergies, strict dietary restrictions, ADD/ADHD, and those currently taking or who have taken psychotropic medications and/or received counseling for mental/psychological issues within the past year. If this applies to you, please get in touch with an AFS Study Abroad Specialist early so that we can determine the right experience for you.

Your Journey to Norway

In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact, maximizing the outcomes of the AFS learning experience. 

AFS-USA will coordinate and share your international travel with you. You will need to coordinate your own travel to the point of international departure. From there, your journey in Norway will begin when you land, where you’ll be met by staff and volunteers …and meet your fellow AFSers from around the world! Shortly after arrival, you will attend an arrival orientation and get a crash course on Norwegian culture, living with a host family, safety, and support structures.

On your way to orientation or to meet your host family, you might get to see a traditional folk festival or one of Norway’s famous stave churches, which are among the oldest wooden buildings on earth. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the spectacular aurora borealis, the northern lights. They’re a much more frequent site in Norway than in the U.S., because of how far North it is.


Meeting Your Norwegian Host Family

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 the U.S. 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.


Settling into daily life in Norway

Teenage Life

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.


Your Accommodations While Studying Abroad in Norway

Food you’ll encounter

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!


Your 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.

Scholarships and Aid

We believe that studying abroad should not be contingent on personal finances. When you apply, we work with you to understand your family’s needs and match you with available scholarships and aid. 100% of accepted applicants with demonstrated need receive funds.

Learn More

What's Included

  • 75+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 32,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Visa Info

Do I need a visa/residence permit for Norway? YES. Residence Permit
How do I apply for the visa? (By mail, In-person, In host country) In-person
Visa/Residence Permit Process Difficulty Level (Easy, Average, Complex) Average
Estimated Visa/Residence Permit Expenses
($ – $$$)
Frequently Asked Visa Questions Visit our general visa FAQ page for more information.

Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home from your study abroad in Norway, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Norway.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.