Quest Exchange in Norway

From the rugged mountains to the solemn beauty of the fjords, to the beaches of the south, Norway is an enchanted place. It is the land of northern lights, reindeer and the “lusekofter”, a warm woolen cardigan knitted in beautiful traditional designs.

Perhaps because of their proximity to such natural wonders or perhaps because of their Viking heritage, Norwegians have long had a thing for the fantasy genre. People dressed as elves and hobbits camped for weeks outside cinemas to secure premiere tickets to “The Lords of The Rings” in the early 2000s. Now, more and more people proudly identify with a number of subcultures. From gaming to cosplaying to viking metal, Norwegians are known to be a friendly people with a good sense of humor.

Norway has world-class social services and healthcare, solid minimum wages and reasonable working hours, making it one of the highest ranked, best countries in the world to live in. Norwegians study and work hard during the week and the year, but are also good at resting and relaxation. An average working week consists of five 7.5-hour workdays. The average Norwegian takes every weekend off and has five weeks of paid vacation per year. Good health and an active lifestyle are important. Evenings and weekends are often filled with activities, from theatre performances and concerts to outdoor activities and sports. Norwegians are also an adventurous people who love to travel.

Come experience the midnight sun – 24 hours of visible sun! Not only is the midnight sun an incredible sight, it leaves more hours in the day for fishing, boating, climbing and exploring!

3 Fun Facts
  • Norway has very strict rules on advertising cars as “green”, saying “cars can do nothing good for the environment except less damage than others”.
  • Norway has won the largest number of gold, silver and bronze medals of all countries in the Winter Olympics.
  • Norway introduced salmon sushi to the Japanese.
Program Dates


Mid Aug – Mid July


Mid Aug – Late Dec
Early Jan – Mid June


3 Month
2 Month

School Life

The Norwegian school year runs from the middle of August to the middle of June. Fall semester runs from the middle of August to late December, and Spring semester runs from the beginning of January to the middle of June. School normally starts between 8 and 9am and ends between 1 and 4pm. School transportation varies; many students ride public transportation, while others walk or bike to school. Many schools have a lunch cafeteria where students can buy lunch, or the most common tradition in Norway is to bring a packed lunch – “matpakke”.

Classes are taught in Norwegian. Thus, we encourage exchange students to study Norwegian prior to arrival in Norway. The relationship between teachers and students is usually friendly and informal. Schools normally have physical education classes, while other sports activities take place after school in the local community. If you like other sports such as tennis, golf, basketball, volleyball, aerobics or ice hockey, you will most likely find clubs and organizations to join. In addition to sports clubs, there are many organizations for music, singing, dancing, drama, and arts and crafts in the local communities.

Family Life

The average Norwegian family consists of a mother, father and two children. However, there are host families without children as well as single parents, and they are all equally appreciated. Traditionally, Norwegian families are not known to be actively religious, but many Norwegian families go to church on holidays. In their everyday life, families are busy with work, school, and activities. Most families have dinner together, and parents try to spend as much time as possible with their children. Most Norwegian children are taught to be independent and are encouraged to make their own decisions from an early age; a lot of emphasis is placed on being active, independent and creative.

Students are expected to help out in the host family’s home like all other family members, and it is important to show the host family that you take initiative in participating in family life. Norwegian families are often very active; skiing is a very popular weekend activity in the winter, while hiking, boating, and swimming occupy their time in the summer. Soccer is a big sport amongst both boys and girls and handball is also very popular in many Norwegian communities.

Program Extras

There are several optional add-on trips offered during the program. However, details vary by season and year, so please contact us for more information. These trips are not included in Quest program fees.

One of the trips that is consistently offered is the Soft Landing Camp in Copenhagen for 4 days and 3 nights. The cost of this orientation is approximately $625, which does not include flights. The orientation fees are not included in Quest program fees. The orientation is a great way for students arriving at the beginning of the Fall or Spring semesters to start their study abroad adventure. It allows students a chance to sightsee, enjoy typical activities in Denmark’s capital, and meet other exchange students who will live and study in Scandinavia with them! It is highly recommended as experience has shown that it helps students transition into the study abroad program regardless of which country they are studying in.

Program Requirements

For Fall semester and year-long programs, students must turn 18 before the end of the calendar year. If they turn 19 during the calendar year of arrival, they are too old. For Spring semester programs, students must turn 17 before the end of the calendar year. If they turn 20 on the calendar year of arrival, they are too old.

All students must purchase mandatory medical insurance for this program, which is not included in Quest program fees. The approximate cost for this is as follows: $700 for a year, $400 for a semester, and $300 for 3 months. For more information on this, please contact us.

There is no official language requirement for previous knowledge of the Norwegian language. However, all schools teach in the local language so an interest in learning Norwegian is crucial for managing schoolwork, making friends and engaging with your host families. We encourage all applicants to our program to start practicing the basics of the local language before arrival. The sooner students start listening to and understanding the local language, the easier they will adapt to their new environment.


For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Norwegian consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It may take up to 2 months to obtain a Norwegian visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Norwegian partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

Will students have access to Internet/WiFi at their home and school?

Yes, it is rare that a host family does not have WiFi, and almost all Norwegian schools have WiFi and require students to have a laptop available for school and homework.

Can students bring their own cell phones?

Yes, if students have an unlocked cell phone, they could use their personal phone with a Norwegian carrier/SIM card.

Can students travel without an adult chaperone if given permission?

Students cannot travel outside of the host area without adult supervision. Travel outside of the host area with adult supervision is authorized if pre-approved by the natural parents, host family, local partner office and Quest.

How much money should students have for spending money?

Students should budget around $300-$350/month for personal expenses, which include entertainment, personal hygiene items, long-distance calls, etc. Additional money should be budgeted for start-up school expenses, such as books and supplies as well as one extracurricular activity that the Norwegian partner requires students to sign up for. These fees are in addition to Quest program fees.

What are some cultural norms that describe a typical host family in Norway?

Norwegian host families can come in all shapes and sizes. The typical family likes to spend time outdoors in nature. They expect a high level of independence from teenagers, and this goes for exchange students as well. The families usually eat dinner together, and it is expected that the student takes an active part in conversations.

How are host families chosen?

Quest’s in-country partner is responsible for locating, screening and matching host families with our students. Host families go through a careful screening process, which typically involves in-person interviews, home inspections and references.

How do students apply for the visa and how long does it take?

For stays over 90 days, students will need a visa. Students and parents should research visa requirements through the Norwegian consulate or embassy nearest to their home as soon as possible, as this is the most time-intensive component of the study abroad application process. It may take up to 2 months to obtain a Norwegian visa. As the details of this process vary greatly by location, neither Quest nor our Norwegian partner office can confirm the exact requirements. For this reason, Quest is not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application.

How will the student get to and from school?

Students will generally walk, bike or take the public bus to school. Transportation fees are the student’s responsibility and are not included in Quest program fees.

Is it possible for students to get tutors during their program?

Tutoring is not that common in Norway. But, it may be possible, depending on the school. If the school does not offer this, there are several online one-one-one tutoring programs that students can sign up for for free. Tutoring costs would be an additional cost not covered by Quest program fees.

Can students receive an official document with grades and completed classes after finishing their program? 

In general, exchange students in Norway do not receive grades or grade reports. Schools do sometimes give them a certificate stating that they have attended classes and completed the specified duration of study in Norway. In order to receive this, students must proactively seek it out, as obtaining this documentation is their responsibility before they leave Norway.

Do schools offer different sports/activities? 

Schools do not offer sports and activities, which is why our Norwegian partner requires that students register and participate in at least one extracurricular activity outside of school.


The rewards of life abroad are amazing and wonderful, but are you up for the unique challenges that come with this experience? You will be away from your friends, family and the lifestyle you are accustomed to. You will have to adapt to a new language, culture, school and family. You will have to make decisions on your own and make new friends. Think about it and do some research on the country you want to study in. There is a wealth of information on the Internet that can better prepare you for your adventure!


Your parent(s) or guardian(s) need to help you make your dream happen. The application process takes time and effort, so it is important, at this stage, to make sure your parents support your decision to study abroad and have given you approval to move forward. If they feel that you are prepared and understand what’s required from them, you are ready to move to the next step.


You may receive credit from your program, but it is your responsibility to make this happen. Only your U.S. school can decide which credits you can receive. You must approach your guidance counselor to determine if you can get the credits you are hoping to receive. Bring Quest’s Academic Guide with you, and be certain of what you will be responsible for.


Fill out our online information request form in order to receive important program information from Quest via email. This email will contain Quest’s Program Agreement and Program Guidelines for your review and signature. Carefully review all of this information with your parents and contact Quest if you have any questions. We are here to help guide you through the process so you can make decisions that fit your needs.


The Quest Program Coordinator will confirm with you the program details submitted on your original request form. If you’re unsure of your destination, we’ll help you narrow down your choices to the country and program season that works for you. We will speak with your parents and make sure that everybody feels informed and ready to proceed with the decisions made.


You and your parents will receive the online Payment Agreement, which states the total program price for your selected destination country and Quest’s payment process. Your parents will receive an invoice for the application deposit, which is due before you submit your student application.


Quest will send you a full student application for the program you have chosen. This application can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to complete. Make sure you give yourself ample time prior to the application deadline to complete the application and supplemental documents.


This is when you get to meet your Quest Program Coordinator and talk face to (virtual) face. During the interview, the Program Coordinator will assess your suitability for the Quest Study Abroad program. This call lasts 30-60 minutes. Parents will speak with us at the end of the call, but the first part of the interview questions must be answered by the student alone. There is no preparation needed other than to talk about yourself, your desire to participate in the program and why you feel you are ready.


Your Quest Program Coordinator will review your application and interview documentation to determine acceptance. Our team members put a lot of thought into the decisions they make, and not all students are accepted into the program. In order to make our decision, Quest must review complete and accurate application materials. We choose students who are emotionally, socially and academically prepared for the study abroad program. We look at each student’s level of maturity, independence and ability to adapt to life in a foreign country.


You will receive a letter of acceptance from Quest via email. Your parents will receive an invoice outlining the total cost with only the first 50% of the total due within 10 days. The final 50% of the remaining program fees are due within 30 days of the invoice date.


This is a very important step in the process and can be very time-intensive. We suggest that you get started researching the requirements as soon as possible with the nearest embassy or consulate for your destination country, as requirements vary by location. Because the process does vary considerably, Quest and our foreign partner office are not able to assist with legal visa documents. It is the student’s responsibility to research the current visa requirements and to obtain and submit the visa application. Start filling out all of the paperwork well in advance, as visa approval can take anywhere from a few days to a few months to obtain.


This is the hardest part: waiting for your school and host family placement information! Making quality placements takes time, and we will need your patience during this important step. Quest will notify you and your parents of a confirmed placement in a school and then again when you are placed with your host family. Write to your host family as soon as possible to introduce yourself, and let them know how excited you are to meet them.


Working together with you and your parents, Quest will confirm your arrival date and book your roundtrip international flight to your placement area. We will also book your student travel and medical insurance for your trip, so you can rest easier while abroad!


Your Quest Program Coordinator will help you get prepped for your trip with a pre-departure orientation prior to your departure. You’ll receive an agenda before the call. We encourage you to write all of your remaining questions down so that we can make you and your parents feel prepared for your trip abroad. We will go over the program rules, what to pack, what to do if you need support once you arrive, and more!


Congratulate yourself and your family for making this happen. You are on your way to the study abroad adventure that you’ve earned!

Balance your time abroad — keep in touch with those back home, but remember that the point of studying abroad is to be present and active in your host country. Keep a blog or an online photo album so you can show all of the revelations you have had and the sights you have seen. On a rainy day, you’ll be happy to reflect on your growing experience abroad. Stay in touch with Local Coordinators and with Quest. We’d love to hear how you are doing!

Programs Available
  • Year
  • Semester
  • 3 Months
  • 2 Months
Application Deadline
  • Year/Fall Semester: April 1st
  • Spring Semester: October 1st
  • Short-Term: Variable
Apply Now

Quest International, a nonprofit organization, promoting international cultural awareness and compassion by providing educational programs for American and International students to live and learn together.