The Complex Challenges of Relocating: Unmet Expectations and Practical Hurdles

Relocating to a new country is often a thrilling adventure, filled with opportunities for personal growth and career advancement. However, this journey can turn into a daunting experience due to various unexpected challenges. Key factors contributing to failed relocations include poor expectation management regarding financial aspects, educational barriers, language hurdles, difficulties in the family’s integration, and bureaucratic complexities. This article delves into these critical issues that often hinder a smooth relocation process, and highlights how Relocation AS can assist with providing a smooth start to a new life in Norway.

Financial Misconceptions: Cost of Living and Salary Disparities

Norway is often cited as one of the most expensive countries in the world. One of the primary reasons for failed relocations is the mismatch of expectations concerning living costs and net salary. Many newcomers to Norway find themselves unprepared for the high cost of living in their new country. The cost of goods and services, including housing, transportation and food, is relatively high, and can consume a significant portion of one’s income. The actual salary after taxes might be considerably lower than anticipated, leading to financial concerns.

In addition, initial reliance on only one party’s income can have a significant impact on finances. It is common for both partners to work in Norway, which can contribute to a more stable financial situation.

Immigration and Local Registration Challenges

The immigration and local registration process for Norway can be a labyrinth of legal and bureaucratic challenges. The lack of proper assistance can exacerbate these challenges, making the journey more daunting and stressful.

Educational Barriers: Limited English-Speaking Schools and Admission Limitations

For families relocating with children, education is usually a top priority. The lack of accessible education options in English can be a significant hurdle. While fully private international schools provide curricula in English, they can sometimes be on the pricier side. Partly funded international schools are available but there can be a long waiting list for enrollment.

This hurdle presents an opportunity to explore other educational avenues, particularly for families who might not have corporate educational support. Local schools often offer immersion in the new culture and language, enhancing the overall expatriate experience, while also providing more budget-friendly alternatives. Balancing these choices can add an interesting dimension to planning a relocation, especially when considering the long-term benefits of cultural and linguistic immersion for children.

Do note that despite being able to apply for admission to local kindergartens throughout the year, there is a cut-off in Feb/March for the main admission period in August. This may cause families to be without child care for some period of time.

Cultural Shock and Integration Difficulties

Norwegian culture is known for its emphasis on equality, community, and a balanced lifestyle. Newcomers might find the Norwegian social norms, like their more reserved communication style and strong emphasis on personal space and independence, quite different from their own.

Job Market Challenges for Trailing Partners

Trailing partners who wish to work may face challenges in finding employment, which can impact their sense of identity and fulfillment.

Climate and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Relocating to a region with a significantly different climate can affect one’s mood and well-being. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression related to changes in seasons, often occurring in countries with long, dark winters.

Relocation AS, as a company specialized in facilitating smooth transitions to Norway,

can play a crucial role in mitigating the challenges faced by foreign employees.

A well-planned and executed relocation assistance process can significantly contribute to reducing failed relocations:

  1. Setting Expectations: Pre-move, we can offer a pre-boarding session to set clear and realistic expectations about the new role, location, cost of living, net salary, rental market, immigration process timelines, etc. This helps in reducing misunderstandings and mismatched expectations.
  2. Immigration and local registration assistance: We can provide comprehensive support to your employees and their families in navigating the intricacies of immigration and local registration. We are dedicated to meticulously handling all necessary paperwork and ensuring adherence to governmental regulations and compliance requirements. Our aim is to facilitate a seamless and efficient process, thereby minimizing any potential disruptions or challenges associated with relocation and settlement.
  3. Homefinding: Securing a suitable home is not just a physical need but also an emotional one. A home needs to be a place of comfort and security, and settling into the right home can provide a sense of stability and belonging, which is especially important in a new and unfamiliar environment.
  4. Cultural Orientation: Understanding local customs, social norms, and business etiquette can prevent cultural misunderstandings and help the employees and their family integrate more smoothly into the new environment.
  5. Family Support: If the relocation involves family members, relocation assistance can address their needs and concerns, such as information about schools, healthcare, and community resources. Addressing these aspects is critical as family dissatisfaction is a major factor in failed relocations.
  6. Building Connections: Introducing the employee to key contacts and networks in the new location can facilitate quicker settling-in. This can include social connections within professional networks and community groups.
  7. Settling in Services and Practical Information: Providing practical information about the new location, such as housing, transportation, banking, healthcare and other essential services, can alleviate stress and help the employee focus on their new role more effectively.


Our team can significantly ease the transition for foreign employees and their families by providing comprehensive support that addresses immigration, financial educational, cultural, employment, and health-related queries. By offering these targeted services to your new international employees, you know you have set the parameters for not only a successful but also a positive and enriching experience for all involved.