Oslo is not as expensive as you think

Four young people in front of the royal palace.

Say what? Check out this guide to saving money in Oslo we’ve put together for you considering whether to do a master’s here or spend a semester in Oslo on exchange. Take it from us—you can live economically in Oslo and have a good time doing it.

Live in subsidised student housing

Besides tuition fees, your biggest expense as a student is your rent. In Norway, student housing is subsidised by the state.

SiO is the name of the student-run cooperative that offers student housing. The cheapest units are about 3500 NOK, or around 300 Euros. That's pretty cheap, and a third of what you'd pay in the open market, or in cities we typically think of as cheaper than Oslo.

Students having pasta at the student housing kitchen.

Dinnertime at Kringsjå student village. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward / OsloMet.

As an international student at OsloMet we highly recommend you to apply for student housing to keep your expenses down.

Living in student housing is also a great way to meet other international students as well as real, live Norwegians.

Eat your fruits and vegetables

We’re not going to lie—beef and chicken aren’t cheap here. But other foods are. All around Oslo, you’ll find independent, family-run shops that sell fruits and veggies at much lower prices than the chain supermarkets.

Not only will you be supporting independent businesses—the variety will be better and the groceries fresher. Maybe it will take you moving to Oslo for you to finally start getting your five a day.

Two students shopping for vegetables downtown Oslo.

Go shopping for vegetables downtown. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward / OsloMet.

Go on a harrytur

Go on a what? The Norwegian expression harrytur refers to cross-border shopping in neighbouring Sweden. There are companies in Oslo that operate buses that will take you directly to supermarkets just over the border where most food and drink items are 20-30% cheaper.

Your bank account will thank you, but there is a downside: you'll have to spend a few hours in Sweden instead of in Norway.

Spend your Friday nights at the student pub

Norwegian students are as keen on saving money as you are. They also take their student societies very seriously.

In Norway, student pubs are run like student societies. Volunteers keeping things running means cheap and cheerful prices for you—at least less than you thought you'd be spending on a pint in Norway.

Student pubs always stock non-alcoholic beverages, usually have snacks, and are a great place to hang out with your new friends or make new ones, Norwegian and international alike.

Six students playing a board game.

Hang out with friends or make new ones at one of the student pubs. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward / OsloMet

Discover your inner Scandinavian chef

You're not going to be able to find all the same ingredients you're used to cooking with back home. Think of your time in Norway as a chance to expand your taste buds and expand your cooking repertoire.

We think you’re going to love all the fresh, local ingredients Norwegians cook with. Get excited for lingonberries, mushrooms and wild garlic picked from the forests outside Oslo. And fish in all shapes, sizes and consistencies.

Go outside

The outdoors are free to use and we have plenty of it. Oslo is almost totally surrounded by pristine, Norwegian nature. And it's all there for you enjoy. Whether it's 10 below or a balmy 25 degrees Celsius, the sky somehow feels bigger in Norway. There is something special about the light too.

Not content to just stand around staring up at the sky? Oslo has a smorgasbord of outdoor activities you can try your hand at, no matter the season.

From sledding and skiing to biking, swimming and just hanging out in a park, Oslo is known as a nature lovers’ paradise for a reason.

Small, round glass building blending into the autumn colours of the trees in a park.

Autumn colours in the park. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward / OsloMet

Get involved

There are more than 450 student societies in Oslo. When not studying (as they probably should be), students are busy organising a wide range of activities, social events, debates, art installations, film screenings—you name it.

The best part? Almost everything they arrange is free, or at least very cheap.

For many Norwegians, student associations are the main way they meet new people on campus. The same goes for you—get involved and you will find “your” people, no matter how many kilometres or miles you are away from home.

Three female students in jerseys holding lacrosse sticks in front of a lacrosse goal.

Joining a sports team or any other student association is a great way to meet Norwegians. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward / OsloMet

Read more about life in Oslo

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Oslo has the perfect mix of city and nature

“In Oslo you can go hiking in the woods during the day and go out partying in the evening, ” says Julia, an exchange student from Germany.

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The light in the North is really beautiful

What's the best way to spend a summer evening in Oslo? Andrew from Spain shares some of his favourite things to do outdoors during the months when it never really gets dark.

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Find your happy place in one of Oslo's many parks

“I like a lot of places in Oslo. But if I had to choose, my first choice would be Frognerparken," says Herish, a master's student from Iran.

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The air is so much cleaner in Oslo

"I just love how free I feel when I go for a hike around the lake," says Sheree, a master's student originally from Canada.