Whether you’re a current student looking for a change of scenery or a future student searching for housing from afar, determining where you’re going to live is vital part of the school-abroad experience. There is a need for the right space: that sense of home. In 2015 I moved from Fantoft – student housing about 20 minutes outside the sentrum (city center) by bybanen (light rail) – to the sentrum itself. While my experience in Fantoft was positive, especially with my flatmate, my classmates, and other friends I found living there, I’m extremely happy with my move. So how do you decide what’s right for you?
Student housing may be a great choice for you:
Sammen (the student welfare organization) offers housing for students in Bergen. You can apply for and book your housing online before you arrive in Bergen.
- If you want to feel confident you’ll have a place when you arrive – if you’re an international student you get a housing guarantee assuming you follow the instructions and meet the housing deadlines.
- If you want to save money – it is definitely less expensive than finding a place yourself.
- If you want to make friends – you may be grouped with a charming flatmate or group of students sharing a kitchen, this can be an opportunity to make new friends in a new country. Also, Fantoft is large, that means there is quite a lot of students around to socialize with.
- If you want to feel clear about what you’ll get – it is easy to navigate choosing a place online with Sammen’s site, the site is in English, and you can trust that Sammen is offering what they display online.
- If you want many reasonably priced choices – Sammen Housing offers 4396 units, ranging from student villages (such as Fantoft and Alrek) with large student populations, to smaller housing units in neighborhoods in the sentrum.
Read more about applying for housing with Sammen here.
What if you’re interested in something other than student housing?
The reasons for my move were very specific to me. I love to walk, I will walk as my commute, as well as my entertainment, that is how much I love to walk. I prefer to get everywhere I can on foot.
- Will you walk up a mountain? Yes I will. Well, that’s not impressive, every Norwegian, their toddler and their grandma does that! (Grandma runs it.).
- Will you walk in the city? Absolutely.
- Will you walk in the rain? Come on, it’s Bergen. I will walk in the rain.
- Will you walk in the snow? In the snow, feeling low, all aglow, with a bro, stubbed my toe… on my feet I will go, I will walk. Let’s all go.
There were great places to walk around Fantoft, but I really wanted walking to be my primary mode of transport, without having to rely on bybanen to get me home. While bybanen is rather reliable, I just prefer to leave it to my feet. So I moved into the sentrum in 2015, I lived near Korskirken for a couple years – now I live behind Bryggen at the base of Fløyen where I can walk up a mountain any ol’ time I please. I’ve been very happy with the apartments I have lived in in the sentrum. So how did I find them? Or, more importantly, how do you find one of your own?
The following websites are similar to cragislist (if you have that in your country, if you don’t… they’re like classified ads online). Finn.no and hybel.no are both in Norwegian, so have the translating add-ons for your browser fired up and ready. They both offered tailored searching, you can look for a specific price range and choose specific neighborhoods.
- finn.no offers not only apartments, but also goods for sale – from guitars to boats, and it even has a free section, check it out!
- hybel.no offers housing only.
Additionally, it may be worth posting or scrolling through posts in expat group pages on Facebook. Here’s one for expats in general. You might look for groups specific to your country of origin, as there was an American one, for example. Most of these are closed groups, ask to join to see what they have to offer!
And you might even try asking your Bergen buddy from Buddy Bergen if you signed up for one. Buddy Bergen does not say they can assist with finding a place to live, but you never know what your Norwegian buddy might recommend (they know the good stuff)!
Did I miss a way to find a place to stay? Have your say… below!