Tag Archives: living costs

International Relocation

Back in 2009, I was fairly confident that I wanted to move to Norway. I had visited, and accidentally fallen in love with, the country. I came home full of excitement…and precisely nothing happened. Life got in the way, and I was disappointed with my own complete inability to organise myself.

In retrospect, I was a broken person. At the time I was simply putting one foot in front of the other, and I was not capable of thinking any further into the future than finishing work that evening. As much as it was something I wanted, it felt very distant. It was something to dream about. The space it occupied in my head was the same space where I stored my ideas about what I would do with my lottery winnings, and how much money I would have left after I had paid off all of my friends’ mortgages.

Five years later, and things feel very different. It’s no longer just a dream, it is a reality that actually exists, and I just need to do the right things and then I can be a part of it. Granted, I am still at the stage of working out what those ‘right things’ are in the first place, but it genuinely feels like it is happening.

Before I went out to Oslo, I had been looking around for language classes, and there was nothing remotely near to where I lived. I pouted and looked at what online courses were available. However, being out there again really impressed on me the importance of language in being a functioning part of society. I got home, and promptly booked myself onto a language course in London. Yes, it’s an hours’ train ride into the capital, but it’s something I need to do, and I am prepared to do whatever I have to do in order to make it happen.

The course starts next Tuesday and I am both excited and nervous. I HATE being bad at things that I want to be good at. I experience a real gut-deep rejection. Think of a red-zone 4 year old child, howling in the middle of a supermarket; “I don’t WANNA!” and you’re getting close to what’s happening inside me. This time I am just going to feel the fear, and do it anyway. I’ll be shit to start off with. So what? Suck it up Princess, the only person judging you is yourself. It is that important to me that I am just going to push through it, humiliating myself whenever necessary to get it right.

There will no doubt be 101 forms I need to fill in, boxes I need to tick, and assessments I need to complete. However, there are two other key points that I have focused on. They are money, and getting a job. The two things are intrinsically  linked, because they each facilitate and dictate the other, but they are two separate concerns in their own right. I’ll start with money.

The first thing I need to know is what exactly it is going to cost me to be in Norway, and from there I can work backwards to how I go about getting that money. Now, while I appreciate that Oslo is the most expensive place in Norway in terms of rent, I think that it’s going to present my best opportunity for getting a job. It would also be very easy to live there.

I have spoken to friends, used some community forums, and read up some blogs and websites who focus on moving to Oslo. From everything I have been able to work out and the advice I have been given, it is very much in line with London prices. I have worked out best- and worst-case scenarios in terms of rent. I have then factored in scaled-up ideas of utility bills. Before I even think about food and beer (which is clearly a massive priority), I have calculated that living there could potentially cost me pretty much all of what I am currently earning in the UK a month, for rent and utility bills alone. Yes, that’s being dramatic, but it could be realistic and so I am keeping it in mind.

What I would want to do is move out there with sufficient money for at least three months, to give me time to get my feet underneath me without having to worry. I read on one particular website that in terms of a rental deposit, most places ask for 3 months’ rent up front, as opposed to the usual 1 month that you get in the UK. So deposit, plus three months rent and utilities, plus food, and beer, and surprises; I want to have £10,000 in my back pocket before I move. It might be overkill, and might last me longer than 3 months, but I want to give myself every chance to succeed so I’m going to run with it. Still…crikey. Gives me a greater incentive to work harder for bonuses at work.

The telling thing is that I don’t feel intimidated by that. I will just find a way to make it happen.

I am going to divert slightly to talk about my house. I own a good-sized 3 bedroom house in reasonable order, and I have no intentions of selling it. There’s a couple of reasons for that;

  1. It’s in a fairly shitty area, so the amount of profit in selling it is vastly outweighed by it’s rental potential
  2. It’s a safety net – if everything goes tits up, I am a notice period away from coming back to the UK.
  3. I can store all of the possessions that I don’t want to take with me in the roof.

Due to it’s size and set up, I could rent my house for quite a lot of money per month. What I have decided to do however, is rent it to a friend for a reduced amount. I won’t make as much money, but I will trust that the person who is living there isn’t going to fill it with dogs and vagrants, and if anything goes wrong from either perspective we can have an open dialogue about it. I have already had one person around to look at it, and while nothing is decided, it is definitely the way I am going to go.

So, I will get a small monthly income from the rental of my house. It takes a slight edge off of the pressure of the other key point under consideration – WORK.

In terms of work, I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do. I need to find a compelling reason why any Norwegian firm would employ me over someone who can actually speak the language. The difficulty I am faced with is that while I know how capable I am, and how quickly I learn, that does not really present itself well on a C.V. From what I understand, in Norway there is quite a heavy focus on education and qualifications… and the qualifications that I have are all linked to Sports Physiotherapy, which is not something I have any interest in doing these days. In the UK, I am fairly confident that I could talk myself into any job that I really wanted, but I cannot rely on that in a place where I know I will not have the same command of language and confidence that I do here.

What would be ideal would be a company that was looking for someone to provide English language customer service/support; if there are two things I am good at, it’s fixing problems, and talking. Getting paid for writing would be absolutely amazing, but that is a serious pie-in-the-sky idea. At best, writing will join house rent as a supplementary income.

Everything is even more inter-linked than I thought; I am going to need to seriously improve my language skills to get a job, and I am going to need a job to get money, and I am going to need money to live in Norway, and I am going to need to live in Norway to seriously improve my language skills…

The difference between now and 5 years ago, like I said earlier, is that as big as it is, none of this feels intimidating. It is simply what I need to do to make the things that I want in my life a reality.

Unless anyone has £100,000 that they don’t want…?

…no…?

Fair enough, back to Plan A!