Q&A Norwegians Abroad - Silje Norbye

Silje Norbye (21) studies in California.

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

– I moved away as an exchange student my second year of High School and stayed in Kansas for a year. It was a small town of 280 people, very different from what I was used to being from Oslo. The people behaved differently and their culture was definitely a challenge to adapt to. As time went on and the culture and also the language became more familiar I really started enjoying my time and look back at it as a great experience. 

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

– I currently live in Thousand Oaks, 45 minutes north of Los Angeles. What I love about California is first of all the outgoing and interesting people you meet anywhere you go. Furthermore the laid back lifestyle and the need to be outside, the climate obviously, and in general I believe the culture fits me very well. 

Do you think Norwegians are perceived in a certain way?

– I think Norwegians in Norway are perceived in a certain way to Americans, perhaps as a little cold and harder to get to know. But I believe the Norwegians that do travel abroad learn to adapt to cultures and open their personality to let other people in more easily. 

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

– Leave all judgement behind before arriving and keep an open mind to all peoples, cultures and mindsets. At the same time keep your core values and do not change yourself in order to fit in, there is a difference between changing and adapting.  

Do you think Norway has changed since you moved?

– Norway will always be my beautiful home and the home of my family and friends. Whenever I come home and react to something I didn’t use to react to, I just tell myself that I am the one that has changed and not the people around me. Sometimes I speak my mind about these things and other times I have learned it is better to keep my mouth shut. 

Do you miss Norway?

– Absolutely, I am only 21 years old and the major parts of my life are still in Norway, maybe that will change with time but for now Norway is still my only home.

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

–The limited stress, life is a long journey and I definitely believe many Norwegians stress to achieve and accomplish and forget to live sometimes. 

Where did you first learn about Norwegians Worldwide?

– I had an Internship last summer for the Norway-America Association and happened to share office with some great people from Norwegians Worldwide. 

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

A platform of Norwegians sharing their experiences abroad is a great start and may hopefully attract more Norwegians to do the same. Also with the Norwegian Kroner exchange rate being so high one could share ideas and express solutions on how people are handling the current situation.