Velkommen til Norge – Welcome to Norway

​Seeing as much of the world as possible has always been my goal. Thanks to Roche, the chance to realize this “travel bug” in my professional environment is incredibly motivating. I was immediately seized by the desire to make use of this opportunity! However, it was also clear to me that this could not be taken for granted and that corresponding personal initiative was necessary. I was more than prepared to take this step for what one gets. 

At the end of 2015 I started to give some serious thought to the assignment abroad.  My first questions were: “Where would I like to go? Which locations are possible?” At the beginning of February, I managed to make contact with Roche in Norway. I was overwhelmed by how quickly the employees replied and how open they were to the co-op program. So everything ran its course and one thing after another was settled and clarified. I booked my flights myself via Roche while the further coordination regarding the accommodations and potential tasks during my stay was taken over by Roche Norge. All of that was incredibly well organized and prepared so that I set off on my trip with a good feeling.

On August 8, 2016, it was time to grab my suitcase, get on the plane and “Velkommen til Norge”. My workplace was then for the next two months in Marketing & Customer Support of Diabetes Care at “Roche Diagnostics Norge AS” in Oslo.

Jobbe i Norge – Working in Norway

Roche Diagnostics Norge AS is a small subsidiary with ca. 150 employees in Pharma, Dia and DC. The actual office is currently being renovated and, for the time from July to November, a floor was rented in an office complex: An open office with different working areas (low focus area, medium focus area, high focus area). From the very beginning, I was impressed by the openness and flexibility of the employees. Among other things, this was reflected in the workplaces that could be freely selected every morning. In this way, everyone fostered contact to everyone else. This made my entry into the everyday work routine in a foreign country all the easier.

In general, the work in Norway is different than in Germany: Here there is no typical hierarchy structure (boss-employee), everyone is on a first-names basis, working on the basis of trust and work-life balance are both particularly important. So there is nothing special about working from home from time to time. The overall working time is equally flexible. Normal working hours are from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, nevertheless, individual start and end times can vary. What counts in the end is that the assigned tasks are completed.

Mine oppgaver – My Tasks

My tasks were very diverse, varied and demanded responsible as well as independent work. I got to know new systems and was able to create a template for future product launches and conduct a competition analysis.

Even though the local language is Norwegian, it was absolutely no obstacle for my tasks or in dealing with the colleagues, since almost as much English is spoken here as Norwegian.

Fritidsaktiviteter – Recreation

Naturally, I had to work during the week, but I was able to benefit from the flexible work practices and take advantage of the work-life balance.

This allowed me not only on the weekend, but also in the afternoon, to explore as much as possible and to make thorough use the time with my family and friends, who visited me. Oslo was then discovered with the help of the travel guide, the “Visit Oslo” city app and the recommendations from colleagues. From the Opera House to Aker Brygge, via Karl Johans gate to the castle, through “Vigelandsparken”, the sculpture park, up to Holmenkollen, the highest mountain of Oslo. With its fantastic view, it immediately became my favorite place in the beautiful city. But, this is only a small excerpt of the sights... On the weekends, it was then time to get out of Oslo in order to see more of Norway. I took the train to Lillehammer and also to beautiful Bergen. On the way back from Bergen, I took a tour: “Norway in a nutshell – A legendary tour through Norway’s most breathtaking UNESCO-protected fjord and mountain scenery, as well as a trip on Europe’s top scenic rail journeys.” Exactly as described, a breathtaking landscape and fantastic impressions awaited me.

Landet og innbyggerne – Country, People and Culture

I got to know the Norwegians as open, relaxed, friendly and very helpful people. Whether asking for “unsalted butter” in the supermarket or the way back from “Floyen” to the valley was no problem. While hiking, you also get spontaneous company and have a chat. Norwegians are so good at, above all, English, because they learn English from the first class in school and films and series are not synchronized, but rather broadcast in the original language with Norwegian subtitles. Once in a while, I would also hear “Schönen Tag” or “Auf Wiedersehen” if they knew I was from Germany. The only thing that was difficult was shopping in the supermarket. Since the products labels are only in Norwegian.

Hva ellers bør nevnes? – What else is there?

Typical Norwegian food is, for example, mutton. Apart from that, fresh fish can be had everywhere. I can recommend the salmon, which is really delicious and of which they are very proud. Additional specialties, which can be tasted at many stands, are “Brunost” (brown cheese), many different kinds of relish, elk, reindeer and even whale sausage. Not to be forgotten are the “Vafler” (Norwegian waffles), which are eaten with jam, fruit, Brunost or whipped cream and the Scandinavian “Kanelbollen” (cinnamon rolls).

And yes, as is probably known everywhere: Norway is very expensive in comparison to Germany. No matter whether rent, clothing, food, alcoholic drinks, etc. Even the Norwegians themselves complain about the high prices for alcohol or meat. However, it is otherwise balanced with their income. Like in America, it is also common to pay with your bank card of credit card. No matter how small the bill: Cash is not necessary.

Hva jeg har lært… – What I take with me from this time

I collected so many impressions and experiences in Norway that I haven’t been able to process them all. Whether it is the breathtaking landscape, the many sights, the friendly helpful inhabitants or the flexible interesting work. All in all, a fascinating country where the 8-week stay, which I will definitively rave about and benefit from for a long time, flew past quickly!

Jeg har hatt et fantastisk fint og lærerikt opphold i Norge. I really had a wonderful, fantastic and very instructive stay in Norway.

Tags: Career Blog, Germany