When you’re coming to a new place from far away, you may be wondering, as one recent commenter on this blog did, where you can purchase items for your new residence. It’s important to feel at home, especially if you’re coming to stay for a semester or even longer as an international student! But, let’s face it, the life of a student is not generally filled with money and glamour, and Norway may have a high quality of life, but it also has a high cost of living. So, if it’s not raining NOK (Norwegian Krone) on you, where should you go to outfit your new abode? Here are some options where prices may be less likely to make you laugh dryly and walk away.
1. Student Markets
There are a couple Facebook student markets set up, which can be a great way to gather necessary supplies, and maybe even connect with other students. Fantoft’s Little Market Student Group is a closed group; if you are a UiB student, just ask to join. You can start taking a peak at some of the items for sale as soon as you become a member, or check out Alrek’s Little Market right away:
Accessorize your dwelling by joining the Fantoft Little Market. Image: https://www.facebook.com/groups/311448252373478/permalink/425727197612249/
Keep in mind, it may be easiest to buy near you (such as, in the student housing you’ll be living in), especially furniture.
2. Online markets
Another online option, this website is equivalent to the U.S.-born ‘Craigslist’, maybe your country has a similar site? Basically, it is a repository for online classifieds. There’s even a ‘free’ section! It’s another place to poke around before you’re even in town, to see if someone’s selling what you need. Of course, it may be hard to transport larger items without access to a car. Also, this site is in Norwegian, so you may need to equip your browser with a translator if you haven’t already. I use chrome; if you do too, here’s how to enable translation. At times the translation can be comical, or just confusing (I prefer it when it’s comical).
Finn’s ‘stuff for sale’ landing page.
Oh no, a schooling fall! I do not know what that means, thanks Chrome Translate! While Gerbils are not allowed in student housing, they sure are ridiculously cute. Image: http://www.finn.no/finn/torget/annonse?finnkode=60377598&searchclickthrough=true
In case you don’t yet have it memorized, the area of Norway you’ll be in is Hordaland, make sure to check that box so you’re looking at nearby items.
3. Student-friendly prices in town
Nille, a chain found all over Norway, is more for small items, bath towels, candles, disposable party plates, and the like.
Clas Ohlson, also a chain that may be found at several malls in the Bergen area (Lagunen Storsenter, Bergen Storsenter, etc.), offers a variety of household and outdoor goods. It may be helpful to note that they have electronics of many types, including kitchen appliances.
Fretex, a second hand store, may also have some furniture and household items. There are several locations in the Bergen area:
- Fretex Lars Hilles gate: Lars Hilles gate 14, 5008 Bergen (has more furnishings)
- Fretex Strandgaten: Strandgaten 90, 5004 Bergen (has lots of clothes, and some dishware)
- Fretex Lagunen: Laguneveien 13, 5239 Rådal
- Fretex Åsane: Liamyrane 6, 5132 Nyborg
If you like to hunt for treasures, you may also want to explore some flea markets, check out this past blog post for more information.
4. Household Superstore
Where else but Ikea, of course? I must admit, Ikea’s Gratis Buss (free bus) is one of many things that makes me genuinely excited about this labyrinthian work of consumerist-genius. While, I try not to be all about consumption and Ikea seems to have mastered ways to nudge you to buy more, (it helps slightly if you take the shortcut and skip the show-room maze) I have to admit, I do frequent Ikea now and then. I even do so pretty happily (although I may feel conflicted about my happiness). They have options that fit a student’s budget; they give you free transportation to and from; and, especially on a gradschool budget in Norway, their inexpensive (while probably nutritionally, and sometimes flavor, minimalist) food feels like a treat when you generally have to cook all your meals at home.
Generally, Ikea’s Gratis Buss departs from and returns to Fantoft for the first part of the semester (look for signs for bus information and the bus pickup near the Fantoft mailroom), I would hope they’ll do the same this year!
Sometimes student housing can feel a little like this, so best make your individual nest as cozy as you can! Image: http://inhabitat.com/pixelated-birdhouses-sprout-on-city-trees-in-london/
Current students, do you have any nesting advice to make living in Bergen more homey? Incoming students, do you have other questions about student life in Bergen? Comment below!