Heading north: the hidden cosmopolis of Stavanger, Norway

07.03.2008

EURES Advisers can help jobseekers in their new country both socially as well as professionally, as Spaniard Adelaida Ures found when she built a new life in Norway. Having left Switzerland to begin a degree in Modern Languages with Translation and Interpreting Studies at the University of Salford in Manchester, UK, the last thing Adelaida Ures expected was to one day end up in Norway. A Spanish national born in Switzerland, the 27-year-old woman met her Norwegian boyfriend in the last year of her studies and decided to join him in Stavanger, Norway, after her graduation, having been in a long-distance relationship for a few months.

Stavanger has been selected as one of the two European Capitals of Culture for 2008 and is also known as Norway’s oil capital. Surprisingly cosmopolitan, Stavanger is one of the most popular Norwegian destinations for EU workers heading north, due to the presence of major oil companies. Still, Adelaida had her work cut out when it came to finding a job. Then university careers advisers in the UK put her in touch with EURES, and her luck began to change! Sandrine Beaudoin, the Norwegian EURES Adviser, provided her with all the information she needed to start getting results from her job search. Following Sandrine’s tips, Adelaida polished her CV and dropped it off with several companies in the Stavanger region.

“I have to say that the EURES Advisers helped me a lot; they are very professional and caring. I got many useful tips and pieces of advice, which in the long run proved very rewarding”, Adelaida tells us enthusiastically. Thanks in part to the help of EURES and also to her English native speaker level skills, Adelaida found what she calls an “incredible job” at Upstream, an international oil and gas newspaper. Working as an international advertising and sales executive for the publication, she has been able to get more familiar with the issues and has become increasingly interested in them.

Adelaida doesn’t speak Norwegian yet, but sees it as only a matter of time. She is taking classes and finds that her fluent German combined with her hard work and determination help a lot. While Adelaida recommends making an effort to learn the native language of a new place, she is reassuring about English speakers’ chances of finding a job in Norway with no prior knowledge of Norwegian. Additionally, Adelaida speaks highly of the relaxed, enjoyable business atmosphere in Norway, though recommends saving first in order to be prepared for the costs of living, which are high compared with elsewhere in Europe.

While she is very happy in Norway and enjoys her work, Adelaida does admit to initial homesickness. The Norwegian EURES Adviser has even helped her here, connecting her with a social networking website for Spaniards abroad. Thanks to Sandrine Beaudoin’s advice, in fact, Adelaida met a Spanish girl who had been living in Stavanger for three years. “I have made friends here, especially expatriates; however, I have only been living in Norway for six months, so I guess I will meet many more”, she says.

As to the future, Adelaida is very happy where she is, but would definitely use EURES again if she decided it was time for a change. In the meantime, she is enjoying the Norwegian winter sports and the young, international vibe of Stavanger.

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