Q&A Norwegians Abroad - Lars R. Samuelsson

Lars R. Samuelsson lives in Saint Paul in Minnesota with his family.

When did you move out of Norway the first time, and how do you remember it?

I moved out of Norway in the mid-1990’s (I think it was 1995 or 96) I was part of an exchange program through a program called Østfoldakademiet located in Moss. After the first prep-year I studied at University of North Dakota in Grand Forks ND. 

What is the best thing about living where you live now?

– I currently live a little north of Saint Paul MN in a suburb called Hugo. What I like about living in a fairly large metropolitan city is having access to lots of cultural events, restaurants etc.

Do you think Norwegians are perceived in a certain way?

Norwegians (myself included) probably comes across as more reserved than Americans. Not that we stick out like a sore thumb or anything, but sometimes I can have a suspicion that a certain person is not from the US based on how that person is dressed or behaves. There is probably more things we do that I am not aware of.

What do you consider the most important factors to succeed, thrive, and be happy in a new country?

– I would be as involved in the local culture as much as I can, look around, explore and investigate the place you live. That said, there are times when you definitely feel like an outsider, and living away from your native country is no fun at all.

Do you think Norway has changed since you moved?

I do. Norway is a little more service-oriented than when I left in the nineties.  Overall, there seems to be more opportunities for young people when it comes to education. For instance, I had a keen interest in becoming a photographer when I grew up. Unfortunately, there was not many places where you could get an education in photography those days. Today, there are several options you can pursue. All in all I think Norway has made a lot of positive changes.

There are also a lot of things that have stayed pretty much the same.  For instance, when I am home in the summer I am delighted to have available the same kinds of foods that I had growing up. 

Do you miss Norway?

Oh, absolutely. I think about Norway often and how it was growing up there. I miss the nature, the laid-back lifestyle. Its just never going to be the same living abroad, but that is something I have to live with. That said, I do have some very vague plans to move back at some point.

What in the society you live in would you ike to see more of in Norway?

– Hm, hard to say. Perhaps a little more flexible and open. 

Where did you first learn about Norwegians Worldwide?

– I think I came across Norwegians Worldwide while doing a Google search for something Norway-related.

Is there any particular issue/issues you think Norwegians Worldwide should raise awareness and focus on?

– Issues regarding citizenship and what it means to live abroad, experiences/stories from other Norwegians who live in another country.