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.
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:
- 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!
- Look for a way to sign up on their website: many organizations have a bli frivillig (“volunteer!”) page on their websites.
- 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!
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:
- Kvarteret (the student culture house)
- Hulen (the student-run rock club)
- Bergen Filmklubb (runs student film nights)
- Or search for other student organizations to see if they need volunteers here. Read about getting involved in student organizations here.
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:
- BØ (Bergen Ølfestival). Beerfest: Read more about volunteering for BØ here.
- BIFF (Bergen International Film Festival). Read a post about BIFF here.
- Borealis Music Festival
- Bergen International Festival (registration for volunteers open now, May 2017).
- Natt Jazz
- Matfestival (food festival).
- For more festival options, click here.
- Also, check this blog to read about getting involved in fun activities in Bergen.
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!