Sunday, September 30, 2012

Across the Ocean to Oslo: Part 2

September’s Viking cover story had some great advice from five young North American professionals who have moved to Norway. Earlier this month we shared Kara Eliason's extended interview with Elizabeth Moorhead Halvorsen. Read on to learn more about Lixian Cheng.

Lixian Cheng

Hometown: Vancouver, BC, Canada

Where she works in Oslo: I currently work as student advisor for the Department of Sociology and Human Geography at the University of Oslo. In addition, I work with international student exchange and the department’s Ph.D. program.

Why she moved: I moved to Oslo in 2007 to do a Master’s at the University of Oslo, where I worked on issues of multiculturalism and integration in the Norwegian theater sector.

The best part about living and working in Norway: There’s a great respect in the Norwegian workplace for having a healthy work-life balance that I really appreciate. As an outdoors junkie, this means that I get ample opportunity to take advantage of Norway’s beautiful nature.

The most challenging part of relocating to Norway: As a foreigner one often arrives with few contacts—it’s integral to spend time getting yourself out there and building your network.

Favorite place to spend free time in Oslo: On a sunny day, the islands in the Oslofjord are the best place to be. You can swim, barbecue, even camp on one of the islands—all this just a short ferry ride away from downtown Oslo. If the weather’s bad (and hey, this is Norway after all), you can find me playing backgammon or curled up with a book in one of the cafés in Grønland, central Oslo’s most vibrant and diverse neighborhood. 

Advice for others considering a move to Norway: Learning Norwegian is key, even though the majority of the population speaks English at a high level. Much of the private sphere operates in Norwegian—so you’ll need the language as your ticket in! Learning Norwegian is also essential in increasing your job prospects. Lykke til! (Good luck!)

Photo by Nancy Bundt.

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