The HVL will not give you any student card, but still as a PhD student you are recognized as a student internationally. You can order online a student card called ISIC. It costs 100 kr per year (+50kr if you want to get your card also physically) and it allow you to get discounts in many places (both in and outside of Norway).
The Bybanen 30 days ticket has a difference of around 300kr between adult and student price, so just for one month ticket the year ISIC membership pays off.
You can order the card here. You will be ask for proof of being a student, for this you can upload the first page of your job contract.
Weather in bergen is many times unpredictable (unless you predict rain! haha) so the forecast is not as precise as in other places. Anyway the best forecast is in Yr.no
Like any city in Europe, you can find H&M and similar stuff in the city of Bergen. For sports and outdoor equipment, XXL or fjellsport.no.
You will probably know about this already, in Bergen rains A LOT. Keep it in mind when deciding what clothes you will bring here.
Ordering something online from another country
When importing products from outside of Norway, if you buy something with a value higher than 350kr (including shipping) you will have to pay some taxes and sometimes cover the whole shipping expenses. You can read more about it here.
Books, comics and reading material in general are exempted from this rule.
With a D-number you can already open a bank account in some banks. Most of them will also ask you for your employment contract when opening an account. At Sparebank I was able to open a bank account in two days with a D-Number and short visit on the second day after applying online here. But there a lot of good banks in Norway which can be compared here.
You can also get a Norwegian bank number (not account) as part of a multi-currency account. For this, you can have a look at the next section.
International money transfers and currency exchange
If you do not have a Norwegian bank account yet, but have to pay your rent or something else you can look at Transferwise as a cheap way for international money transfers. Another option is using a multi-currency account and exchanging your money to NOK through this service.
One example of such a service is Revolut which will let you exchange up to 10.000 NOK for free each month (as of 9.december 2020). The service will allocate you a Norwegian bank number and for example, a European bank account for your €’s. Transferwise also offers similar functionality (but all transactions to the account have to have a specific message).
In the long run, you should get a Norwegian bank account and just use these services to exchange money to other currencies if needed.
Getting a phone number
If you want to get a contract you can get one at Telia or Telenor. ( Telenor requires that you have to stay in Norway more than 3 – 6 months in order to get their phone numbers even you have got work permit and national ID, also is more expensive)
If you prefer a prepaid SIM check this wiki. You can get a prepaid card without any documents.
If you make a lot of international calls, you can be interested in MyCall.
A Norwegian phone number is the key to enter in many administrative systems, so prioritize getting one!
Buying groceries in Norway is expensive, so it’s good to know each supermarket, their offers and which are the cheapest.
- Mattilbud is an app that will show you the best offers in different supermarkets.
- Rema 1000 and Kiwi are the cheapest supermarkets. The Rema 1000 brand offers a good price/quality, First Price is even cheaper and is a good option for some things, although the quality of certain products is not the best. Rema 1000 have an app called “Æ” where you can get discounts each time you buy. Kiwi offers you Trumf card, working in a similar way.
- Coop also have a nice own brand and good discounts.
- Meny and Bunnpris are more expensive, but they offer a higher variety of products, so the best option is to buy there only if you need something specific.
Only the cold tap water can be drinkable directly! Warm tap water cannot be used to drink or cook!
- For electronics Power offers good prices, so does Elkjøp and Komplett
- No Amazon in Norway… but your national alternative is CDON
- Two price comparers, really nice when you want a product and want to find out where is cheaper: Prisjakt and Kelkoo
- For books you can check Ark, Norli and Akademika
- For media stuff (music, books, films, videogames) check Platekompaniet
- For “nerdy” stuff, board games, videogames, comics, manga… check Gamezone and Outland. You also have Gamestop, but it is always more expensive.
About alcohol, tobacco and sugar
In Norway, grocery stores sell beer and cider but are not permitted to sell anything above 4.7% alcohol content, and are only allowed to sell alcohol before 8 PM on weekdays and before 6 PM on Saturdays and not at all on Sundays. Also in most public holidays alcohol is not sold.
Liquor, wine, strong beers and ciders (i.e. anything stronger than 4.7%), is sold through the state-run Vinmonopolet (literally, the wine monopoly) shops. The monopoly shops generally close at 6 PM on weekdays and 3 PM on Saturdays. There are several around Bergen.
If you want to save A LOT of money in your alcohol, tobacco (and snus) and sugary products (especially chocolate and gummies, in Norway there is a special tax for sugar) always remember to get them from the airport Duty-Free store when entering in Bergen (remember you can only access the Duty-Free if you come from a flight from outside Norway, for example if you get a connecting flight in Oslo, you will have to get your alcohol there).
Sports and Gym
- Skiing: there’s a HVL group for skiing, you can check it here.
- Sykkel Senteret: situated near the bus station and HiB, they sell Cannondale, Scott and Everest;
- Sykkel Butikken: a very big shop behind the railway station, they have Kona, Montana, Specialized and Commencal. The guys are very helpful and professional, plus they’re a dealer for Ortlieb in Bergen;
- BoA Sykler: a shop south from the city centre, they sell Trek and Gary Fisher;
- BSI is a student organization that offer different sports and activities.
- For cheap sport clothes and equipment check XXL in Lagunen, GSport in Bergen Storsenter and Intersport at Nesttun.
- You can get a cheaper gym membership with Sammen by showing your student card (semestral membership) or employee card (one year). The membership will give you access to all their gyms in the city (there is one at 2 minutes walking from the HVL), group classes, swimming pool and sauna.
- For outdoor activities check BSIFriluft, their mailing list is really useful.
Interesting stuff at Social Media
- Most events around the city will have a Facebook event, so setting your living place in Bergen and checking the events from time to time will give you the chance to find out about many things that may interest you.
- Some interesting Facebook groups:
- Bergen expats
- Bergen expats classifieds
- New friends Bergen
- Study Bergen
- Look for your nationality + in Bergen, probably there are other people from your country here and they may share similar experiences.
- Fantoft Market
- There are many groups, so if you just write Bergen in the search bar you will probably find groups related to your interests.
- Bergen’s subreddit can sometimes have interesting posts.
- The startup community in Bergen uses meetup.com a lot. Here you can find a lot of different social activities, interest groups and cool events to go to. Find your flavor!
- Currently the HVL offer free classes for employees, you can ask Kristin about this.
- You have this introductory online course from the University of Oslo, lot of resources, it will leave you with a good basis of the language.
- Duolingo is a free app/website for learning languages, their Norwegian course is usually praised.
Also! Norwegians are really bad at talking Norwegian with foreigner people. Especially young people will quickly switch to English. A good practice here can be to simply ask them to keep talking Norwegian.
Restaurants, cafe and Pubs
- Naboen Pub/Restaurant
- Cornelius Restaurant
- Enhjørningen Fiskersetaurant
- Restaurant 1877
- To kokker
- Marg & Bein
- PizzaBakeren (pizza): PizzaBakeren
- Bella Paris (pizza/pasta): BellaParis Located 3 min from HiB at Nygårdsgaten 84 Street photo. The menu in the PDF file is correct, while the prices are outdated: a big pizza (for two) costs kr 115,-, but on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays it costs only kr 99,-. The guy is flexible, sometimes he takes kr 99,- no matter what day it is! 😉 He speaks French, Norwegian and English.
- Det Lille Kaffe Kompaniet
- Bergen Kaffebrenneri (BKB)
- Sweet Rain
- Klosteret Kaffebar
- Dromedar Kaffebar
- Espresso House
- Skostredet street
- Areas next to cinema/theaters