International Schools in Norway [In-Depth 2024 Guide]


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For families who have recently relocated or are considering a move to Norway, the question of education is often at the forefront of planning and discussions. While the country offers robust public and private schools, international schools in Norway are attractive for expatriates and those seeking an education conducted primarily in English.

International schools often provide globally recognized curriculums, a multicultural environment, and the kind of educational quality that sets students up for a lifetime of success. Whether planning a temporary stay or settling down for the long term, choosing an international school in Norway can be a strategic decision that enriches your child’s educational experience.

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Key Takeaways

  • International schools in Norway offer diverse curriculums and global perspectives.
  • Types of international schools include IB, British, American, and others.
  • The admission process can vary but often includes tests, interviews, and document verification.
  • Look for essential features like accreditation, extracurriculars, and language support.
  • Legal requirements include residency, documentation, and possibly specific visas.

Why Choose an International School in Norway

The decision to opt for an international school is a significant one and involves various factors that parents must carefully consider.

Quality of Education

One of the top reasons families select international schools is the high standard of education they offer. These schools typically follow internationally recognized curricula such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) or the American or British educational systems.

With a focus on academic excellence, personal development, and fostering global perspectives, international schools in Norway are committed to providing a holistic education that prepares students for the future.

Multicultural Environment

International schools offer a unique multicultural setting, attracting families from various countries and cultural backgrounds. This diversity enriches the educational experience and allows children to develop an understanding of different cultures, languages, and worldviews, thereby fostering global citizenship from a young age.

English-Medium Instruction

Language barriers can be a significant concern for families that may not speak Norwegian fluently. International schools in Norway predominantly offer education in English, thus making it easier for students and parents to adapt. Moreover, many schools also provide language support services to help non-English speakers.

Accredited Curriculums

Accreditation ensures that a school meets or exceeds high standards of educational quality. International schools in Norway often hold accreditations from recognized global bodies, giving you peace of mind about the level of education your child will receive.

Types of International Schools Available

Types of International Schools Available

Navigating the educational landscape in a new country can sometimes feel overwhelming. Yet, when it comes to international schools in Norway, the variety available offers families a comforting range of choices. Understanding the types of international schools can help you identify the best fit for your child’s educational journey.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

The International Baccalaureate, often called IB, is a globally recognized program that offers a rigorous and balanced education. Designed to encourage students to excel both academically and personally, IB programs are offered at different levels: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), Middle Years Programme (MYP), and Diploma Programme (DP).

Schools offering the IB curriculum are known for their commitment to developing well-rounded individuals who are both inquisitive and socially responsible.

American Schools

American international schools in Norway follow the curriculum guidelines set by the United States educational system. These schools offer programs from Kindergarten through 12th grade culminating in a U.S. High School Diploma.

Besides focusing on academic excellence, American schools often offer an array of extracurricular activities and place importance on community engagement.

British Schools

British international schools offer curriculums based on the education system in the United Kingdom. Often starting with the Early Years Foundation Stage, these schools typically offer the General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) and may provide A-levels as well. British schools are known for their disciplined approach to academics and rich offerings in the arts and sports.

Other Specialized Curriculums

Norway also offers other specialized international schools besides the more common American, British, and IB schools. These might include French, German, or even Montessori-based schools, giving families a broader array of choices.

Each of these types of schools brings its own unique advantages, from specialized programs to teaching methodologies and extracurricular offerings. The common thread, however, is a high standard of educational quality that can adapt to the varied needs of international families.

Contact Information for Popular International Schools

School NameLocationContact PhoneWebsite
Oslo International SchoolBekkestua, Norway+47 67 81 82 90Website
Bergen International SchoolBergen, Norway+47 55 21 59 00Website
The British International School of StavangerStavanger, Norway+47 51 55 43 00Website
Trondheim International SchoolTrondheim, Norway+47 73 51 48 00Website
Tromsø International SchoolTromsø, Norway+47 77 60 50 10Website
Ålesund International SchoolÅlesund, Norway+47 70 10 12 00Website

Major Cities with International Schools

When it comes to location, the convenience of being near a major city can significantly ease the process of settling into a new country. Fortunately, Norway’s most bustling cities offer a selection of international schools, facilitating greater ease and choice for families.


As Norway’s capital and largest city, Oslo naturally has the most comprehensive selection of international schools. Whether you’re looking for an IB program, an American or British school, or other specialized curriculums, Oslo offers a wide range of options. The city’s cosmopolitan atmosphere and diverse population make it an ideal setting for international education.


Known for its stunning natural beauty and cultural heritage, Bergen is Norway’s second-largest city and another excellent place to consider for international schooling. The city offers both primary and secondary international education options, many of which have been established for years and have a strong reputation for quality education.


Stavanger, rich in culture and industry, has a significant expat community, primarily due to its oil and gas hub status. As such, the city has a selection of well-regarded international schools.

These schools often have smaller class sizes and a strong focus on community involvement, providing a warm and nurturing environment for students.


Though smaller than the other cities mentioned, Trondheim has a growing international community and a handful of international schools. Known for its educational and technological research centers, the city offers a stimulating environment for young minds.

Trondheim’s international schools focus on creating a balance between academics and extracurricular activities, thus fostering well-rounded development.

In each of these cities, you’ll find international schools that offer a high standard of education, state-of-the-art facilities, and a range of extracurricular activities to enrich your child’s learning experience. These cities also offer the added advantage of well-connected transportation, healthcare facilities, and a variety of recreational and cultural activities, making them ideal locations for families.

Choosing the right city and school will inevitably depend on various factors like your work location, lifestyle preferences, and your child’s specific educational needs.

Admission Process

Admission Process

Navigating the admissions process of an international school in a new country might initially seem like a daunting task. However, international schools in Norway generally strive to make this process as transparent and straightforward as possible.

General Guidelines

The admission cycle for international schools in Norway can vary, but most schools begin accepting applications about a year before the intended start date. Some schools operate on a rolling admission basis, meaning they accept students throughout the year as long as space is available.

Documentation Required

While requirements can differ slightly from one school to another, here are some standard documents that you will likely need:

  • Completed application form
  • Passport copies for the student and parents
  • Previous school records or transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation (usually from former teachers or principals)
  • Any standardized test scores, if applicable

Some schools may also require an admission test or interview as part of the selection process. It’s advisable to check the specific admission criteria for each school you are interested in to make sure you are well-prepared.

Language Proficiency

Proof of language proficiency might be necessary for families whose first language is not English. Schools may administer their own English language assessments or accept standardized English tests like the IELTS or TOEFL.

However, many international schools also offer language support programs for students who are not yet proficient in English, thereby making the transition smoother.

Special Educational Needs

If your child has special educational needs, it’s crucial to communicate this during the application process. Many international schools in Norway are equipped to accommodate various needs and can offer tailored support services, but it’s important to discuss this upfront to ensure that the school can meet your child’s requirements.

The key to a successful admissions process lies in early preparation and open communication with your chosen schools. While each school will have its own specific criteria and requirements, the general ethos of international schools in Norway is one of inclusivity and high educational standards.

As such, these schools generally offer detailed guidance and support throughout the admission process, making it easier for families to navigate this important milestone.

Tuition and Financial Considerations

One of the pivotal aspects families often have to consider when looking into international schools is the financial commitment involved. It’s no secret that international schools come with a price tag, but understanding the nuances of the cost structure can help you plan your finances more effectively.

Cost of Tuition

The tuition fees for international schools can vary considerably depending on the city, the school’s reputation, and the student’s grade level. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere from a few thousand to several tens of thousands of Norwegian Kroner per term.

Some schools may also have additional costs for things like uniforms, textbooks, and extracurricular activities.

Scholarships and Financial Aid Opportunities

Many international schools offer scholarships or financial aid packages to help offset the cost of tuition. These financial support options may be merit-based, need-based, or sometimes even specific to certain nationalities. It’s advisable to inquire directly with the schools you’re interested in to understand the kinds of financial assistance they can provide.

Payment Plans

Schools are often flexible when it comes to payment arrangements. While annual payments are standard, many institutions offer term or even monthly payment plans. There might also be discounts for upfront payments or for families enrolling more than one child.

Additional Costs

Beyond tuition fees, other expenses, such as school trips, lunch programs, and transportation, can add up. Moreover, some schools have one-time admission or registration fees. Always read the fine print and inquire about all potential costs to ensure you have a comprehensive financial understanding.

Tax Considerations

It’s worth noting that educational costs can sometimes be deductible under certain conditions in Norway’s tax system, especially if no suitable public schools are available in your area. Consult a tax advisor to explore if this applies to your situation.

Enrolling your child in an international school is a significant financial commitment, but for many families, the educational and personal development benefits justify the expense. Knowing your options, understanding the fee structure, and being aware of opportunities for financial aid can make this investment more manageable.

Take your time to scrutinize the financial aspects as you would the educational ones, and don’t hesitate to seek guidance from the schools themselves—they are accustomed to addressing these concerns and can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.

Pros and Cons of Choosing an International School

While international schools offer a plethora of advantages, especially for expatriate families or those with global aspirations, there are also considerations to weigh. Understanding both sides of the coin can help you make a more informed choice that aligns with your family’s specific needs and circumstances. Here are some of the key pros and cons of choosing an international school in Norway.


High Academic Standards:
International schools are reputed for their rigorous academic programs that often exceed local education standards. Curriculums like the IB, American, or British systems are globally recognized and facilitate easy transitions for students who may later study in other countries.

Cultural Diversity:
With students from various parts of the world, international schools offer a multicultural environment that fosters global awareness and citizenship. This is especially beneficial for children in developing soft skills like cultural sensitivity and adaptability.

Language Proficiency:
Conducted primarily in English, international schools remove the language barrier for non-Norwegian speakers. Many schools also offer programs in multiple languages, giving your child an advantageous start to becoming multilingual.

Holistic Development:
Apart from academics, these schools emphasize extracurricular activities and other development programs. This rounded approach nurtures not just intellectual but also emotional and social growth.


One of the most significant drawbacks is the cost associated with international schools. Tuition fees and other potential costs like uniforms, trips, and extracurriculars can add up. Financial planning is crucial to managing these expenses effectively.

Potential for Cultural Isolation:
While these schools are multicultural, they may sometimes lack strong integration with the local culture and community. This could make it challenging for children to adapt to their new environment in Norway fully.

Competitive Admission:
The high demand for international schools means that admission can be competitive, requiring thorough preparation for any tests or interviews.

Limited Availability:
While international schools are prevalent in larger cities like Oslo and Bergen, options may be more limited in smaller towns and rural areas. Families living far from a city center might find the commute to be a challenge.

Essential Features to Look For

Essential Features to Look For

Selecting an international school in Norway is about much more than just academics. The environment in which your child will spend a significant portion of their day should be conducive to learning, personal growth, and well-being.


Accreditation is a key indicator of educational quality. Look for accredited schools accredited by recognized international bodies or education departments from reputable countries. This ensures that the school meets or exceeds established standards in education, facilities, and overall student well-being.


As discussed earlier, international schools in Norway offer a variety of curricula, including the IB, American, and British systems, among others. Understand which curriculum best aligns with your family’s educational objectives and potential plans for the future.


Qualified and experienced faculty can significantly impact your child’s educational journey. During your school visit, consider asking about the teachers’ credentials, their experience in international education, and any professional development opportunities they receive.


A well-equipped campus with modern classrooms, science labs, libraries, sports fields, and art studios contributes to a richer educational experience. Inspect the facilities to ensure they meet your expectations and align with your child’s interests and needs.

Student Support Services

Pay attention to the range and quality of student support services, such as counseling, learning support, and language assistance programs. These services are invaluable for helping children adjust to a new educational and cultural environment.

Extracurricular Activities

A school’s extracurricular offerings can be a window into its educational philosophy. Look for schools that offer balanced activities that complement academic learning and contribute to holistic development.

Community Involvement

Many international schools encourage community service and cultural exchange programs that help students become responsible global citizens. Understand how the school integrates these elements into their curriculum or extracurricular activities.

Parent-Teacher Association (PTA)

A vibrant PTA or parent community is a bonus and a valuable resource. It’s a sign that parents are actively involved in the school community, which can be incredibly supportive for families new to Norway.

Reviews and Testimonials

While not a definitive measure, reviews and testimonials from other parents can provide valuable insights into the school’s environment, faculty, and overall ethos. Don’t hesitate to seek out this feedback as part of your research.

Making a checklist based on these features can provide you with a structured approach to your search. Understanding each of these aspects will give you a comprehensive view of what each school offers.

This will aid in narrowing down your options and ultimately selecting a school that aligns well with your family’s needs and aspirations.

Parental Involvement

A successful international school experience doesn’t just hinge on the quality of the institution; parental involvement plays a pivotal role as well. Schools often provide various avenues for parents to engage, not only in their child’s academic life but also in the broader school community.

Here’s what you can expect and how you can contribute to enriching this crucial chapter of your child’s life in Norway.

Communication Channels

Most international schools in Norway have established platforms for regular communication between parents and educators. These may include periodic parent-teacher meetings, online portals for tracking academic progress, and newsletters. Utilize these channels to stay informed about your child’s development and any school-wide initiatives or events.

Volunteering Opportunities

Schools often welcome parent volunteers for various activities ranging from classroom assistance and event organization to participation in educational trips. Volunteering is a gratifying way to be actively involved in your child’s schooling and to contribute to building a nurturing educational environment.

Educational Partnerships

Schools frequently offer workshops, seminars, or even one-on-one consultations aimed at empowering parents to support their children’s education. Topics can range from understanding the school’s curriculum and teaching methods to offering effective home-based educational support.

Extracurricular Support

If your child participates in extracurricular activities or sports, your attendance and support can be encouraging and motivating. Involvement in this area also provides you with a more rounded understanding of your child’s interests and talents outside the academic realm.

Parent-Teacher Associations (PTA)

As mentioned earlier, a robust PTA is often a hallmark of a quality educational institution. PTAs facilitate better communication between parents and the school and work on initiatives aimed at school improvement.

Your participation in the PTA can be an enriching experience, providing both social connections and a sense of community involvement.

Cultural Integration

Being in an international school in Norway offers a unique opportunity for cultural enrichment. Parents can get involved by contributing to multicultural events, sharing traditions from their home countries, or participating in language and cultural exchange programs.

Parental involvement is a synergistic relationship that benefits not just the students but the school community as a whole. Actively engaging with the school ensures you have a voice in your child’s educational experience and keeps you attuned to their academic and personal development.

The options for involvement are numerous, ranging from the very active to the minimally intrusive, depending on your availability and interests. However you choose to engage, your involvement is a significant step toward ensuring a fulfilling and enriching educational experience for your child in Norway.

Preparing Your Child for the Transition

Transitioning to a new educational setting, especially in a foreign country, can be an emotional and logistical whirlwind for any family. Preparing your child adequately can set the tone for a smoother, more rewarding experience at their new international school in Norway.

Open Dialogue

Start by openly and honestly conversing with your child about the move and the new school. Understand their feelings, concerns, and expectations. This will help you identify any worries they may have and allow you to manage expectations and provide reassurance.

Orientation Visits

If feasible, visit the school with your child before the term begins. Many schools offer orientation programs designed to familiarize students with their new environment. This could include campus tours, introductions to key staff, and even some interaction with future classmates.

Social Connectivity

Encourage your child to maintain connections with their friends and family from your home country, while also making new friends in Norway. This balanced social network can help them transition without feeling like they’re leaving their old life behind.

Cultural Familiarization

Engage your child in activities that will familiarize them with Norwegian culture. This can be as simple as learning about local customs and traditions, tasting Norwegian cuisine, or taking part in community events. The more your child knows about their new home, the less intimidating it will be.

Academic Preparation

Depending on the curriculum, there might be new subjects or different teaching styles your child will encounter. Preparing them academically can include things like brushing up on a particular subject, improving language skills, or simply adjusting to different classroom expectations.

Emotional Preparedness

New environments can sometimes trigger feelings of anxiety or homesickness. Prepare your child emotionally by discussing these possibilities and creating coping strategies. Remind them that it’s natural to feel uneasy during transitions and that these feelings are likely to subside as they settle in.

Organizational Aspects

Help your child get organized by shopping for school supplies, uniforms, or anything else they may need for their new school. The more prepared they are, the more confident they will feel on their first day.

Encourage Independence

International schools often have a diverse student body with varying levels of independence. Encourage your child to take on responsibilities, be it in academics, daily chores, or extracurricular activities. This will not only build their confidence but also equip them with skills valuable in a multicultural environment.

Transitions are never easy, but with thoughtful preparation and active involvement, you can significantly ease your child into their new academic journey in Norway. The aim is to transform what could be a daunting experience into an exciting adventure filled with growth, learning, and new friendships.

Important Questions to Ask When Choosing an International School

Selecting the right international school for your child in Norway involves more than just glancing at websites or brochures. Asking the right questions can offer deep insights into what you can expect from the school, allowing you to make an informed decision.

Academic Curriculum

  • What curriculum does the school follow, and how does it prepare students for the future?
  • How is the school’s academic performance in terms of test scores, college admissions, and other metrics?

Faculty Credentials

  • What qualifications do the teachers hold?
  • What is the teacher-to-student ratio, and how does it influence classroom dynamics?


  • What kind of facilities does the school offer for academics, sports, and extracurricular activities?
  • Are there any ongoing or planned facility upgrades?

Language Support

  • What kind of language support does the school offer for non-native English speakers?
  • Are there any programs for students to learn or maintain other languages?

Extracurricular Activities

  • What range of extracurricular activities does the school offer?
  • How does the school support students in exploring varied interests?

Student Support Services

  • What kind of academic and emotional support services does the school offer?
  • How does the school accommodate students with special educational needs?

Admission Process

  • What does the admission process entail, and what are the key deadlines?
  • Are there any entrance tests or interviews, and how should my child prepare for them?


  • What is the full cost of attending the school, including tuition, fees, and other additional costs?
  • Are there any scholarships, financial aid, or payment plans available?

Parental Involvement

  • How can parents get involved in school activities or decision-making processes?
  • Is there an active Parent-Teacher Association, and what is its role?

School Culture and Environment

  • What is the school’s philosophy on education and overall child development?
  • How does the school handle disciplinary issues and conflict resolution?

Community and Diversity

  • What is the diversity landscape like at the school?
  • How does the school encourage community involvement and cultural awareness?

Reviews and Ratings

  • Can the school provide testimonials or contacts of current parents who are willing to share their experiences?
  • Are there any external evaluations or accreditations that can vouch for the school’s quality?

Legal Requirements and Visas

Legal Requirements and Visas

Navigating the legal maze can often be one of the more daunting aspects of relocating to a new country. When it comes to education in Norway, you must be aware of specific legal requirements and visa considerations to ensure a smooth transition for your child. Knowing what to expect and preparing accordingly can make the process much more manageable.

Residency Requirements

If you’re moving to Norway for work, your residency status and your child will most likely depend on your employment situation. Ensure your child’s residency permits are in order and aligned with your own to prevent legal complications.

Educational Visas

While Norway doesn’t offer specific educational visas for minors attending school, your child will generally be included in your own residence permit if they are under 18. If your child is 18 or older, they may require a separate residence permit, even for secondary education. Ensure you understand the implications and requirements to avoid potential legal issues.


Apart from passports and residence permits, schools will generally ask for a range of documents, such as previous academic records, health certificates, and potentially even character references. Keep a well-organized file of all necessary documents to facilitate a smooth admissions process.

Parental Consent

If one parent will not be residing in Norway, schools may require legal documentation specifying that the parent residing in Norway has the authority to make educational decisions for the child. This can be particularly important for separated or divorced parents.

Vaccination and Health Requirements

Norway has specific health requirements for school enrollment, which usually include a set of mandatory vaccinations. Make sure your child’s immunizations are up-to-date and that you have international vaccination records to prove it.

Language Requirements

For most international schools, proficiency in English is sufficient for admission. However, some schools may require proof of English proficiency through standardized tests, especially if your child’s first language isn’t English.

Special Considerations

If your child has any special educational needs or health considerations, these should be discussed in detail with the school in advance. Legal mandates regarding special educational services can vary, and it’s crucial to understand what the school can and cannot provide.

Related: All you need to know about student loans in Norway

Additional Resources

Norwegian Directorate for Education and Training: This is a comprehensive resource for all things related to education in Norway, including a list of accredited international schools.

Each international school typically has an in-depth website where you can find information on everything from the curriculum and faculty to admission procedures and tuition fees.


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