International inclusion from day one

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

In Norway, employees are encouraged to live well-balanced lives and are afforded a great deal of flexibility in meeting obligations at work and with family and friends. Work-life balance is firmly embedded in Norwegian society. Still, it can also be intimidating to have free time in a new country where you have few, if any, social connections before your arrival.

In addition to benefits such as flexible working hours, extensive paid holiday, training facilities, and cultural events, the professional community at OsloMet warmly welcomes new employees from the very first day into a fulfilling network with a wide range of social opportunities.

A welcoming international community

Sidney Pontes-Filho, a Computer Science PhD fellow from Brazil, fondly recalls his first day on the job at OsloMet in 2018:

"I felt welcomed from my very first day. That morning I met my buddy who was another PhD candidate, and he brought me to meet my supervisor and my other colleagues who were all very nice and welcoming. They walked me through all the procedures for new employees, and then I had a tour around the campus, which has so much to offer – even a huge climbing wall! I'm looking forward to one day trying that."

Pontes-Filho was impressed by his smooth integration into both the new work environment and among his new colleagues. He has enjoyed getting to know each of them as well as their professional interests and aspirations, which he finds beneficial to his own research. Life at OsloMet isn't all work and no play, however, and he has discovered several social events that have helped him develop connections with his peers.

Social activities

The social highlights for many OsloMet employees are the Christmas and summer parties and also the seasonal activity days. In the winter, Pontes-Filho has gone skiing and snowboarding; in the summer, he has joined groups for hiking and kayaking.

People on skis in a winter landscape gathered for a skiing lesson. Photo: Kristin Mehlum

"Recently, the lab that I'm a part of has been organising drinks together, and we have even done it remotely during the Coronavirus situation," Pontes-Filho notes.

Mirjam Mellema, a PhD candidate in Health Sciences and Faculty of Technology, Art and Design from the Netherlands, has also joined the activity days. She believes it is beneficial for international faculty and PhD candidates to bond off campus: "On these days, it's mostly international people who come and not as many Norwegian people because, for example with skiing, for many people it's the first time. Also, partners and spouses are invited, so it's a good opportunity to meet new people."

The social offerings at OsloMet extend back into professional life with more specialised travel and collaboration opportunities within specific departments.


Social activities are really important for research. It's impressive how you can build connections and collaborations like that. – Sidney Pontes-Filho, PhD candidate originally from Brazil

Professional development

Mellema is currently working on a project with three other colleagues around the same age as her, and they sometimes get together on weekends and have lunch together.

Additionally, she likes to attend speaking events organised by OsloMet: "We have PhD nights four times a year where they choose a topic that is relevant for PhDers, and then they invite speakers either from the outside or internally."

Two employees socialising at the annual OsloMet kick-off. Photo: Skjalg Bøhmer Vold

Pontes-Filho recalls a trip abroad with his department as a pivotal experience for his research at OsloMet. It showed him the potential to expand his thinking by interacting directly with his co-workers in a new environment.

"I travelled to Malaga and Granada in Spain in 2019 with the Department of Computer Science, and we visited the universities there. On this trip, I got to know lots of people in the department, and they got to know me and my work much better as well. Social activities are really important for research. It's impressive how you can build connections and collaborations like that," Pontes-Filho concludes.

Whether it's via the onboarding process, organised and impromptu social activities, or professional development experiences, there are regular opportunities for employees at OsloMet to connect with members of the greater university community.

No matter how deep you dive into your field of research, a vibrant social life awaits whenever you are ready to take advantage of it.

Working at OsloMet

Man walking across a street towards a bakery and people sitting outside of the bakery.
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