International Student Blog

Cost of Living

Today’s post was inspired by a question from a potential future student who took the time to leave a comment asking for a description of Norway’s cost of living. (Thanks for those questions about student life, everybody. Keep it up!) So, here we go, specific to Bergen, a bit of an idea of what you might expect to spend on your daily life here in Norge. Keep in mind, these are just rough ideas of different common costs, you may have to think through other expenses – such as if you’re bringing clothes, bedding, and other household items or if you’ll have to buy them here.



Sadly, Norway is not a cheap place to live. Image:



The University of Bergen (UiB) offers a page that details the cost of living, that helps give an idea of expenses. While Norway does have a high cost of living, the UiB page estimates NOK 9,785 per month (2014) would cover most expenses including books, study materials, food, housing, clothing, transport and social activities.

The UiB page also offers examples of Norwegian prices, I’ve updated some of the estimates given on their page for 2014 and added a few additions:

Monthly Expenses



Occasional Expenses

  • Textbooks (1 semester): approx. NOK 1,600–3,500 (from UiB’s 2014 information).
  • Dinner at the student cafeteria: the UiB page estimated NOK 55-100 for 2014
  • Dinner at an inexpensive restaurant: UiB estimated NOK 100-130 in 2014 (Keep in mind, it costs extra to eat at the restaurant rather than take food to go). I personally think those prices are more descriptive of fast take-out food, and dinner in a restaurant, even an inexpensive one is more likely to be around nok 170, give or take.








Some possible expenses that the UiB page didn’t address include:

  • Wine and Beer (but remember, with restaurants and bars, tips are not large and generally not expected): average around NOK 70-120 per drink (sometimes there are cheap options ranging from NOK 35-60)
  • Concerts: NOK 50-600




Reggie Watts at Nattjazz, Photo: Stand Hiestand










For another resource that gives estimates of typical costs in Norway, click here.

39 comments for “Cost of Living

  1. Ines
    3. July 2015 at 13:57

    Great website for all exchange students coming to Bergen 🙂
    You said there would be wifi at the student housing? I heard that there’s none in Fantoft? Did it change? would be awesome 😉

    • Stand Hiestand
      3. July 2015 at 14:28

      Hi, thanks for your comment! And, wireless is coming to student housing! But as far as I know it’s not in yet, sorry for the confusion (I changed the post to try to avoid teasing other students). Soon, though, it’s supposed to be coming soon!

  2. Doreen
    5. July 2015 at 11:28

    Hello, I am an international student admitted for the autumn semester, 2015.i have read that international students are allowed to work part-time up to 20 hours per week. I do not speak Norwegian and would like to know how much does part-time pay per hour.
    Thank you

    • Stand Hiestand
      7. July 2015 at 16:19

      Hi and thanks for commenting! You have a great question, and while I don’t know off the top of my head exactly how much a part time wage would be, working as an international student in Norway seems like a topic worth a blog post, so check back as I hope to address it soon!

      • Astrid
        3. August 2015 at 16:50

        Technically Norway doesn’t have a minimum wage. In practice we still kind of do, because we have a lot of labor organizations/groups that every year negotiate new agreements regarding among other things pay. One of the most common one is “Handel & Kontor” which is normally the agreement you would end up with if you were working in a grocery store. If you’ve graduated from high school you’re paid 155 NOK an hour according to that agreement. On top of that you have to add things like extra pay for working late hours, for working after a certain time on saturdays, for working sundays etc. However you’re not very likely to get a job in a grocery store or any other regular store without speaking Norwegian.

        It’s more likely for you to get a job in a restaurant or a hotel, and hourly wages there are also around 150 NOK (beginners wage). You could also try something in the cleaning industry. I’ve had some foreign friends that have tried to get jobs while studying in Norway, and it hasn’t been very easy for them to get one to be honest…

        I haven’t added in the taxes-issue in all of this, I don’t know how taxes work for foreigners. Personally I pay about 35% taxes, which is quite high for a student, but I work a lot 😛

        • Stand Hiestand
          4. August 2015 at 20:26

          Hi there, Thanks for taking the time to comment and thanks so much for this information! Helpful, detailed and much appreciated 🙂

    • Reber
      7. July 2015 at 17:05

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.
      Hi Doreen,

      Im norwegian and have had several part-time jobs over the years. I would say that it depends on your background and type of job, but a typical student part-time job like resturant, cafe, supermarket, marketing, hotel (you get my point) is between 110-150kr pr hour. But keep in mind that some of these employers (especially restaurants and the like) can try to get off foreigners on a cheap deal – wether it is on the actual pay or the hours you work. That being said I would highly recomend you searching for a part-time job when you get to Bergen and if you have any questions the labour union have great information about which kind of rights you have as a potential employee!

  3. Vanessa
    7. July 2015 at 15:20

    Nice post! But I have a comment about the monthly expenses for food. I’ve been in bergen for 5 months and in my opinion 1600 nok is not enough for someone who is used to cook. Maybe if you consider only the pre-cooked meals it would be enough, but not otherwise. Anyway this post will be a great help for any foreign student that will go to Norway! 😉

    • Stand Hiestand
      7. July 2015 at 16:07

      Thanks for your comment, I appreciate your insight! How much do you think you spend on average for food? I generally cook all my meals and don’t eat pre-cooked ones, and my estimate is based on my experience. But I could totally be off, or cook differently than you 🙂 and I’d love to hear your own estimate!

      • Linh
        17. July 2015 at 07:02

        Hi, I’m Linh.
        I am an Asian. The price for Asian ingredients may be more expensicve. How much does it cost per month? Can anybody share your experience about this?

        • Stand Hiestand
          18. July 2015 at 12:34

          Hi Linh!
          That is certainly a good question. While I don’t think I could give you an estimate of the costs of Asian ingredients per month, maybe another student who reads this could offer that. There are many international stores that have Asian foods and ingredients, and while by Norwegian standards they may not be terribly expensive and have reasonable variety, coming from Asia you may have a different perception entirely.

  4. Kris
    8. July 2015 at 08:37

    This is highly inaccurate! Not only is it assuming that you will be lucky enough to find student housing or something similar, which in todays renter’s market in Bergen is close to impossible, especially on short notice. Also notice that you won’t have any money for for clothing, which will be fun during the winter if you didn’t bring warm clothes 😛

    • Stand Hiestand
      8. July 2015 at 15:44

      Please feel free to share your experience of costs of living, it is certainly helpful to have more people’s experiences of costs in order to get a better picture of the range of budgets different people use. Regarding the housing, certainly finding housing can be difficult in Bergen. Of course, it’s important to remember that the majority of international students have a housing guarantee provided they meet the deadline for it.

    • Linh
      17. July 2015 at 07:03

      Well, I worry about the cost of warmcoat, too. Can you share more?

      • Stand Hiestand
        18. July 2015 at 12:31

        Thanks for your comments 🙂 It’s understandable to wonder about the costs of warm clothes. I’ll see if I can put together a post to help give an idea of those.

  5. Semione Abi
    8. July 2015 at 13:10

    Hi, please i have a friend who wants to study in Norway, i would like to know how much it costs in terms of international school fee. the person in question is coming from Africa. Thank You

    • Stand Hiestand
      9. July 2015 at 17:31

      Hei hei,
      Thanks for your comment. There isn’t an international school fee for UiB, only semester fees. Self-financing students, however, have to show they have sufficient funds to live on while in Norway. Read more about it here. I wish your friend the best with their applications in Norway!

  6. Indya
    12. July 2015 at 18:19

    Hi, thanks for all the information!
    With regard to a simcard/cell phone, I was wondering where I can buy a simcar. And if I take a subscription, is it possible to only have it for 5 months? Also, what are generally cheap ones etc?
    Thank you!

    • Stand Hiestand
      14. July 2015 at 15:14

      Hei hei,
      Thanks for your comment and you are most welcome for the information! You have a great question regarding simcards/cellphones. I am happy to write a blog entry about this to try to address some of your questions as much as I can 🙂 – keep your eye out for it next week or the week after!

      • Linh
        17. July 2015 at 07:06

        Your did a really good job. Thanks a lot. I don’t know how long does it take to get internet account and mobile number. How to get them faster?

        • Stand Hiestand
          18. July 2015 at 12:29

          Thanks for your comment! That is an excellent question. Let me see if I can find out more and write a couple posts to try to address the mobile number (I had another question about cell phones/sim cards so that one is already planned) and internet issues 🙂

          • Linh
            30. July 2015 at 03:24

            Dear Stand,
            Have you write the new post about internet access? I will live in Fantoft but do not know which room yet. Do you know they use Lan network or wifi there? Every single room has its own line or people have to bring the sharing internet tools (I do know what it is called). Thanks!

          • Stand Hiestand
            31. July 2015 at 10:59

            Hei hei! It looks like (from another comment you left) that you did find the Internet post. But the short answer is right now Fantoft should still have cable Internet (one cable hookup in each room, you have to provide your own chord), although Wifi is supposed to come soon.

  7. Costanza
    16. July 2015 at 08:39

    Hi! Thanks for all the informations!! I’ll attend the next autumn semester and I’ve a room in the Fantoft, do you know if I can accommodate someone for few days ,like my sister or my boyfriend, in my room?
    Thanks for the help!

    • Stand Hiestand
      18. July 2015 at 12:47

      Hi there, thanks for your comment! Welcome to UiB next semester 🙂 I’m not sure what the official SiB policy on short-term guests is, I know they were trying to make sure that students weren’t housing others in their dorms on a longterm basis. If you want, you could contact SiB housing directly to ask: E-mail: Phone: 55 27 60 04/05. All the best!

  8. Josephine
    26. July 2015 at 19:36

    Hi, Thanx for this very useful insight on the cost of living in Bergen! I am an African from a tropical country which is hot as you can imagine. What is the estimate for warm clothing particularly winter boots and winter coat/jacket?
    Please share with me your experiences because i feel a little anxious about the weather in Norway

    • Stand Hiestand
      28. July 2015 at 13:35

      Hei there! Thanks for your comment! Of course it is understandable to be concerned about the weather in Norway, even in Bergen (which is considered more “temperate” but the weather here may also be difficult to acclimate to). I have had several requests for estimates on costs of warm clothing, and I promise I will post about it! I brought warm clothes from home because I figured they would be expensive here, so I haven’t looked at the costs yet, myself. Hope I can put your anxiety at ease – or at least prepare you for the weather a little – in an upcoming post 🙂

  9. Linh
    30. July 2015 at 03:26

    Dear Stand,
    I forgot ask you about health insurance. How to get health insurance as you are student in Bergen University? Thanks

    • Stand Hiestand
      31. July 2015 at 11:04

      This is a great question and I think it might be worth doing a post on. But, if you can’t wait for me to write it up, you can find more information on the UiB site -> Education -> New students -> Before Arrival.

  10. Sharatkumar Shantaram
    29. September 2016 at 13:01

    Hey what about an International student with a family..? Then what would be the cost for taking care for his family..? Also heard that there is a work permit of 20 hrs per week, we could earn and cover our expenses with this ..? Kindly reply to my query. I am looking to enroll myself for Masters program. Please send the answer to my mail id

    • Stand Hiestand
      4. October 2016 at 14:50

      Hi there,

      I wish you the best in your application process, and while I do not have the resources to give you a definitive answer to your questions the following may be helpful:
      Start by taking a look at the financial information/costs of living in this page. Additionally, carefully look through the information on requirements for coming for a master’s that this page links to, choosing the appropriate link based on if you are a student from the EU/EEA or not. You are allowed to work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session on a student visa, but it may be challenging to find work if you do not speak Norwegian. You can take a look at this page for more information about searching for jobs in Norway as an international student. I cannot speak to how much you might earn if you do find a position and if that would be enough to support a family, but keep in mind Norway has a high cost of living. Finally, I would thoroughly explore UDI’s (Norway’s Directorate of Immigration) website to make sure you understand the necessary requirements for coming to Norway as a student, including the amount of money you are required to have to support yourself while living in Norway – you are expected to have this (generally transferred to a Norwegian bank) before arrival.

      Wishing you and your family all the best. Hope you find a perfect fit for your education and hope to see you in Bergen 🙂

  11. bahati
    18. February 2017 at 16:08

    hei my name is bahati from africa, i have liked the way you guys help other through your comments and am also intrested in joining my masters studies in norway; and felt like asking how much minimal price on rent over there depending on your universites, and another thing can one get a job without norwegian language, thanks

    • Stand Hiestand
      22. February 2017 at 09:36

      Hei hei Bahati! I wish you the best with your master’s applications, hopefully we will see you in Bergen in the near future! With regard to your questions:

      The very lowest rent for a room in student housing at the moment is advertised to be 2045-2835 on the website of SiB (the student welfare organization). While you may get lucky and get a room at the low end of that scale, there isn’t a guarantee, so whenever applying for housing I would assume the rent to be at the high end of the scale they give. You may want to take a look at this blog on cost of living for other typical expenses.

      It is possible to get a job without knowing Norwegian, yes, but it is more difficult. If you get admitted to UiB you will apply for a student visa from Norway, that visa allows you to work part time (20 hours/week) when school is in session and full time (40 hours/week) during school breaks/holidays. And, while some employers will hire people who don’t speak Norwegian, many more are looking for people who speak Norwegian as well as English (and possibly other languages). You can check out SiB’s information about job searching here for more information.

      Again, good luck with your applications, hope to see you in Norway!

  12. 25. August 2017 at 14:53

    I am a international student,hoping to gain admission in Bergen university,i really want to know how someone can secure a part time job in Norway and how much i can hope to have in my account before coming over to Bergen university?

    • Stand Hiestand
      16. September 2017 at 17:46

      Hi there,
      It’s understandable to want to know how to get a part time job here! It can be a challenge without speaking Norwegian, but of course with patience and persistence, it is possible. Approaching restaurants and holiday work opportunities is always a good idea. You might look here for some ideas. I highly recommend using to search for jobs. In order to find out how much money you need before coming to Norway, check out Norway’s immigration website and fill in the appropriate details (that you want a student visa, where you are from, etc), it will generate detailed information for you about what is necessary. Good luck!

    26. September 2017 at 01:54

    My name is Olisa may I know the amount paid per hour and suggest a Norwegian language tutorial platform online. this is to enable me prepare here in Nigeria before coming to Norway. I’m Olisa an electrical engineering undergraduate aspiring a masters program in Norway.

    • Stand Hiestand
      30. September 2017 at 12:32

      Hi Olisa!
      I don’t know the costs for Norwegian courses off hand, but take a look at this page as a jumping off point to try to find a language tutorial platform, it offers a number of different resources including online ones. I definitely recommend looking at Duolingo, University of Olso’s Online course and NTNU’s online course as free resources to start with. Also know that basically everyone speaks very good to excellent English, so knowing Norwegian ahead of time is not required. Hope that you are able to join a programme in Norway soon 🙂

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