According to Insider, Norway is one of the 5 countries with the highest cost of living in the world. Thus, one of the primary questions in planning a trip there is the costs to be taken into consideration. While it’s advisable to get some goods before entering the country, there will still be many expenses that you can’t avoid once you are there.
Please note that this article has no official scope and is only the result of my experience as an Erasmus student in Bergen.
Here are the cost estimates in details for a student exchange in Bergen, based on my experience and feedbacks from relatives who have been there.
Please note that all prices given are in euros and that the Norwegian currency is the NOK (1€ ≈ 10 NOK).
Budget to plan before departure
- Base layer clothes (very useful against cold): 10€ (at Decathlon)
- Winter shoes (or winter hiking shoes): from 100€
- One-way flight ticket to Bergen: 100€ to +∞, depending on where you come from
- Housing deposit: from 500€
- Warm and waterproof jacket (important if you don’t have one): from 100€ – 150€ to +∞
You may book your return flight ticket when you are in Norway rather than when booking your one-way ticket. Indeed, you may want to extend or shorten your trip.
- What could also be useful for you: sleeping bag, hiking bag.
As Bergen is not the capital, most flights to this destination are with a stopover. If you book your return flight ticket a few months in advance, you may have direct flights to some countries.
Also read : What clothes to bring in Norway?
The budget for 1 semester/month
- Course books:100 to 300€
- Student gym: 115€
- Transportation card: 250€ (or available at 50€/month)*
- Transportation before making your card: 20€*
- Kitchenware, bed linen: between 50 and 150€ (depending on your accommodation type)
* These prices will strongly depend on where you live in the city. If you choose to reside in downtown Bergen, transportation costs will be pretty low.
- Rent: 300 to 500€
- Shopping: 200€ (minimum 160€)
- Transportation card: 50€ (if monthly billing)
- Laundry: 15€
- Mobile plan: 25€ (depends on where you come from
- Outings (if you like hanging out at night and/or drink: alcohol, parties, clubs): from 50-80€ to +∞
- Travels (essential): at least 100€, at best 250€ to more
- Unexpected costs: 100€
At least plan about 800€/month to live properly, but without fantasies
Why is the “Travels” line important?
Because if you decide to go to Bergen, despite the beauty of the city, you may grow frustrated if you don’t visit the rest of the country. Especially because most of the people you’ll meet during your stay will travel a lot. It would be a pity just to miss the West part of the country.
Some people prefer to spend money on alcohol and parties (which is also a big budget). It’s up to you and what you want to put first.
What about the unexpected costs?
I strongly advise you to keep at least 50€ aside every month in case of unforeseen situations: emergencies, doctor, housing repairs, Securitas call in case of forgotten keys and more…
But still, a trip at an attractive price (often offered by Study Bergen) may occur.
As a reference, note that the University of Bergen and the Immigration Service require students from countries outside the European Economic Area to provide proof of funding of 116 369 NOK (12 000€) for one year of study in Bergen.
Also read : Tips and advice for a successful Erasmus experience.
Here are some average prices for the expenses you may use to have in your home country:
- Cinema : 15-20€
- Theatre: from 30€, 40€ on average
- Museums: 10€ on average
- Concerts : from 50€
- 1 day in Bergenfest music festival (2018): 80€
- Lunch in UiB cafeteria: 7-11€
- Restaurant : 17€ minimum
- Kebab : 6€
- Beer: 10€
- Fish market: +∞
- 1 bus/light rail ticket: 4€
- Taxi from Airport to Fantoft: 45€
- Car rental: 70€/day minimum
- Hairdresser: from 20€ for men / from 30-40€ for women
- Norwegian mobile plan: from 25€. The equivalent of an unlimited call/SMS package with 50GB data is more than 70€ per month
- General practitioner (for students): 15 to 20€
Note that all prices given are approximate or are an average of what can be found from one merchant to another.
With all of these expenses at your costs, know that you will benefit from one or many scholarship grants, depending on your institution and/or the country you come from. There may also be some local organisations helping international students’ mobility. Search for more about this.
Among these aids, count on:
- The Erasmus grant +/or your regular stipend (if you have one);
- Any other assistance that may come from associations or from your country.
However, these financial aids won’t be enough to cover all of your expenses in Norway.
You can also make a student loan to go on Erasmus. However, I discourage you from taking this way. The best, if you can, would be to save up as much money as you can via student jobs during your firsts bachelor’s degree years for example.
Also read : Good deals.
Some tips for saving money there:
- Avoid eating out and instead cook your meals.
- Limit your alcohol purchases.
- Faites vos courses à Kiwi ou Rema 1000.
- Fantoft residence has shared apartments for 2 people that costs 280€/month.
- You can borrow some books at the university library or buy them at second-hand at half price or even cheaper.
- Hunt for a student job (an article will be available about this subject soon. In the meantime, I invite you to read: Tips and tricks for the Bergen job hunt). However, it will not be an easy task if you don’t speak Norwegian.
- Some mobile apps can help you manage your spending budget and keep an eye on what you can or can’t afford.
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Sources : Erasmus Bergen (my own experience), testimonials, internationalstudentblog.w.uib.no, Skyss, UiB, Insider, Telegraph, Telia, Telenor, Ammo Kebab, Bergenfest and Storetveit.