International impulses at Norway's most urban university

Laughing people in a meeting.

While the prospect of moving to Norway to embark on a PhD, post-doc or take up a research position may sound daunting, an enriching international experience lies ahead for new employees at OsloMet. As the university continues to expand its hiring from abroad, new staff members join a diverse community of international and Norwegian academics, where work-life balance and good working conditions are highly valued. And they do it all in Oslo, a bustling global city that serves as a major hub for shipping, startups, and public administration.

The university supports a global outlook in research and teaching, and this is perhaps best demonstrated by the philosophical and financial commitment to Open Access publishing. Scholars working in the sciences find this especially appealing as they work to further develop their professional standing in both the public and private sectors.

Portrait of Marco

The multicultural city of Oslo

More than one-third of Oslo’s population is foreign-born or the children of immigrants. Over the past decade, the capital of Norway has ranked among the fastest growing cities in all of Europe. The result is a multicultural atmosphere that surprises many first-time visitors, and where ethnic food offerings and a variety of spoken languages are the norm.

Marco Tagliabue, an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavioural Science, values the diversity he has experienced since moving to the city. “Oslo is an extremely international city," the Italian native tells us. "You don’t have to walk very far in the city centre before you hear three or four different languages being spoken. It’s really diverse, not like something I’ve seen or experienced before.”

The alley betweeen Blå and Ingensteds, covered in street art and posters. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward

Still, transplants from other major metropolises might find the city slightly less diverse than they are accustomed to. Mirjam Mellema, a PhD candidate in Health Sciences and Faculty of Technology, Art and Design from the Netherlands, has a different take than her colleague Marco:

Tagliabue makes a point of drawing on the best of both worlds by also taking part in more traditional Norwegian activities like cross-country skiing after work using a headlamp in the dark winter months.

“It depends on your perspective because when I compare Oslo to the capital of my home country, Amsterdam is more international. It’s difficult to find English events in the city, like a movie with English subtitles or theatre or comedy nights—they tend rather to be in Norwegian. But if you look at the university, it has definitely become more international, especially over the two years I’ve worked at OsloMet.”

Mellema has also discovered the international neighbourhoods in the city but points out that they are limited to specific areas instead of being spread throughout the entire urban area. However, her experience at work has been a pleasant surprise.

A diverse workplace

As a joint member of the Health Sciences Faculty and the  Faculty of Technology, Art and Design, Mellema finds herself in a different environment depending on the day.

“The Health Sciences Faculty is very Norwegian—everything is in Norwegian, and most of the employees are Norwegian, but the technology faculty is much more international. There are many nationalities, and I think the main language in the corridors is English,” she observes.

Lots of different flags hanging from the ceiling. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward

OsloMet offers Norwegian language training for employees ( , and both Mellema and Tagliabue recommend learning the language to feel more integrated.

Tagliabue says, “Everyone speaks English in the city, but at the same time—and this is understandable—everyone prefers to speak their own language. Being able to speak Norwegian, in my opinion and experience, does create many more opportunities.”

He adds that for those who do not, several international conferences, festivals, meeting spaces, and innovation centres host professional and social events in English.

When work colleagues get together for an event, the international representation is even more noticeable.

“The technology faculty, where I’m an employee, has Faculty Days each semester where there is a full-day program with talks and lunch and an evening program with dinner and a party. Those are the days when we meet other people and I feel most welcome at the faculty, and I am reminded of the international workplace,” reflects Mellema.

Last year’s Faculty Day fell on her birthday, and she recalled that each colleague around her table sang a birthday song to her in their mother tongue—a truly memorable experience.

A string of lights hanging from a building. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward

Commitment to Open Access publishing

In addition to the diversity you'll find both on- and off-campus, OsloMet’s commitment to Open Access publishing (  offers researchers the opportunity to have an influence on their fields in ever-expanding ways. With Open Access publishing, research results become a common good available in the Open Access Institutional Repository to ensure the free exchange of ideas.

“Open Access is important, especially if we want to go a bit beyond traditional academic publishing with the same relatively small group of people reading our papers or research,” explains Tagliabue.

“There’s support here at OsloMet in a unit that takes care of covering article processing charges for certain types of journals. I can see the difference in publishing Open Access versus traditional methods in terms of the audience you can reach outside of your relatively narrow field and to engage the broader public.”

This commitment is also essential to Mellema, who specifically sought out a university that supported Open Access for her work:

“I haven’t published any articles yet, but I believe that Open Access contributes to better interdisciplinary communication and more collaboration between researchers and other professionals.” Her current interdisciplinary project will benefit from the flexibility and overlapping options for publishing once it reaches that stage.

Working at OsloMet

A view of the outdoors dining area of Salt with the Opera house and the Munch museum in the background. Photo: Benjamin A. Ward
International inclusion from day one

Through a comprehensive onboarding programme and departmental social activities, new international employees at OsloMet are made to feel welcome the moment they set foot on campus.

People on their way to work in downtown Oslo. A red city bus and tall, modern buildings in the background.
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Woman diving into the Oslo Fjord with the opera house in the background.
Oslo in the summertime

The sun doesn't set until close to midnight, and even then it never really gets dark. You can spend the evening watching the light change at an outdoor café with friends, or go for a relaxing swim in the fjord alone. Oslo in the summer is a pretty magical place.