International Student Blog


In response to a recent question I received on a different blog post, I thought it might be helpful for current and incoming students alike to have a master-post on volunteering in Norway. Volunteering is a pretty big part of Norwegian life, so here’s a post with the whys, the wheres, and the hows about the importance volunteering in Norway.


Husmødre i Cappes vei gjør dugnad i kommunalt bed

Husmødre i Cappes vei gjør dugnad i kommunalt bed Image:


Why volunteer?

Volunteer to connect with Norwegians and truly experience and embody a ‘typically Norwegian’ value. Volunteering is a huge part of Norwegian culture. It is so vital, it has its own word in norsk: dugnad (“voluntary work”).

According to Wikipedia, dugnad, the Norwegian term for voluntary community work, is such a core phenomenon, that the word dugnad was voted 2004’s ‘Norwegian word of the year’ by TV programme Typisk Norsk (“Typical Norwegian”). Characteristics of dugnad can include outdoor cleaning/gardening, school painting/maintenance, rural house/garage bulding, and sharing a meal afterwards offered by the host. Many Norwegians consider dugnadsånd (“the spirit of willingness to work together for a better community”) typically Norwegian.




How to volunteer:

There are tons of organizations and events that seek volunteers in Bergen (see below) and throughout Norway. The best way to start is to:

    1. Determine where you want to volunteer: google or use the links below to start exploring your options find an option that resonates best with you!
    2. Look for a way to sign up on their website: many organizations have a bli frivillig (“volunteer!”) page on their websites.
    3. If they don’t have a bli frivillig section, contact them via phone or email to ask how to get involved.





Where to volunteer:

Many different organizations and events seek volunteers. Here some links to get you started!

Student Organizations

Basically all student organizations are run via student volunteers. You can join an organization or volunteer to help run one! Here’s a couple examples and a resource for a more extensive search:





You can volunteer for tons of festivals in Bergen and around the country. These are generally looking for volunteers only at specific times of year:




Community Organizations

If you’re more interested in humanitarian efforts, here’s some organizations to get you started:

  • Vitalitetssenteret Frivilligsentral (Vitality Center Volunteer Center), an entirely volunteer-run organization that offers a wide variety of services, classes, and activities.
  • Robin Hood Huset (The Robin Hood House), an organization designed to help people with financial issues expand their network.
  • Røde Kors (Red Cross), an international organization helping worldwide and here in Norway.




Determined to do a traditional Dugnad? Here’s a few ways to find one:

  • Bergen Kommune (Bergen municipality): searching ‘Dugnad’ in the search box often brings up many options for dugnads around the Bergen area.
  • Facebook is often a good place to find out what’s going on in Bergen. I recommend joining groups such as Free Activities in Bergen, as they often post about dugnad opportunities.
  • Consider google searching for a dugnad associated with your local area or an organization you are involved with. For example: ‘dugnad uib’ or ‘dugnad fantoft’ came up with some results from the recent past when I searched.





Remember, if you have questions or comments, feel free to post them below!

8 comments for “Volunteer

  1. Ekaterina
    17. June 2017 at 17:43

    Hi! My name is Ekaterina, I live in Russia. I am a doctor, but I have a great interest to Norway! Could you tell me, what documents people usually need to become volunteer? Shall I get a student permit(visa)and so on. Waiting for your answer. Thank you!

    • Stand Hiestand
      22. June 2017 at 09:15

      Hi Ekaterina,
      As I am a student, I do not know the processes for coming to Norway for other reasons. If you are planning to study in Norway, you would first need to be accepted into a study programme and then you can apply for student residence. If you want to come to Norway to volunteer for more than 90 days (for 90 days or less, you would need a vistor’s visa according to UDI, the Norwegian Immigration Authority), I am not sure if there is a visa you could apply for. You can start looking for options on UDI’s website, and you might consider contacting them if you have further questions. Best of luck!

  2. Kat
    10. August 2017 at 22:19

    Thanks a lot for what you shared with all today at the beginning of the Welcome Programme. You just made me realize that volunteering is actually such a good way to get involved into the culture.
    You were very charming and I liked quite a lot what you told us today, it was very helpful 🙂


    • Stand Hiestand
      11. August 2017 at 08:46

      Aw, thank you SO much for this kind comment! I am so happy to hear that I said something helpful (and charming 😉 ). I wish you an amazing study abroad experience in Bergen. I hope you will love Bergen and the people who live here as much as I do 😀 And, have fun volunteering!

      • Kat Sa
        14. August 2017 at 10:11

        You are very welcome!

        Stand, I have been realizing that there are so many children here. Do you know of any volunteering for children? Or if it’s possible to volunteer with them?!

        Thanks for the reply!

  3. Kat
    18. August 2017 at 09:51

    thanks a lot!!!!

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