People moving to a new country, may find it difficult to adapt to this unknown environment. Most difficult is it for those who come from the third world, which is so different from the industrial Western-Europe. A majority of them have problems after arriving, and this is some of the problems they meet:
Language/school : In many countries the schools aren’t for free. It is very expensive to have children at school and that is why many parents, because of their domestic economy, have to keep their children at home or at a factory to work.
They just can’t afford it. Norway and many other countries have for years tried to help with starting new schools in poor countries, but it isn’t enough to help everyone get a proper education. So illiteracy is usual for many of them who come to Norway. It is surprising to see how fast some kids can learn Norwegian. Children coming from all over the world are speaking Norwegian fluently after a year or so. And if Norwegian is too difficult, they have to try to learn English. But it is worse for the adults, who don’t get friends as easy as their children.
Religion: People coming from all over the world have different religions, and that’s why the Norwegian government has build several "buildings" for all the religions. I am not certain, but I think that we have a couple of mosques in Norway, as well as synagogues for those who belong to the Jewish faith. Religion may cause troubles for the Muslims, because of their strict "praying-time". Many times a day they have to kneel turning towards Mecca, and this causes troubles in a job-situation, at school and other places.
Food: The food-traditions in many countries are very different from our own.
For instance meat isn’t normal/allowed in many societies/religions. The Jewish people can only eat meat from animals chewing the cud and with their hooves cleaved. Therefore it’s very important for a Jew to be careful of what he is eating. The Muslims have almost the same "problem": They aren’t allowed to eat pork or to drink alcohol. But in the month of ramadan they aren’t allowed to eat, to drink, to smoke nor have sex while it’s daylight. Many schools in Norway have reacted to this and almost forced food "into" the Muslim-kids. One of my teachers said a couple of years ago: "If a person from Africa had eaten all the food which we eat at Christmas-Eve, he would have got seriously ill." This is a statement which I believe in because in our fare pork has a to important role.
Norwegian people have always been afraid of the unknown, and when the first immigrants came from Asia in the sixties they reacted with disbelief to their food. This has changed rapidly, and now food from the far east is very popular.
Climate: The climate in Norway and other Northern-European countries is pretty cold and as a reaction to this many foreigners find the climate to cold for their own health and move further to the south. The summer might be OK, but when the winter comes they usually get real shocked. The temperature can fall below -30 C and that’s cold even for Norwegians. Some of the immigrants are used to temperatures as high as 40-45 C during the summer in their own country. So the difference is enormous.
The democracy: The democracy in Norway is one of the best in the world, and the total right to decide what is the best for yourself might come as a surprise for those who come from a military-dictatorship. For instance to say your own meaning isn’t always a matter of course. To write negative things about the government is something you will get arrested and jailed for in many Asian- and African-countries. Where dictatorships exist it isn’t unusual that the leaders of the country decides what the people should read, know, learn, think and hear about. They tell lies in the newspapers and on the TV. So moving to a democracy is a major change.
Leisure activities: The leisure activities in many countries are very different from what we are doing in Norway. A sport which gathers all kind of nationalities is soccer. The sport is simple and everyone knows how to play it. Foreigners moving to a new country can get friends by beginning in a soccer-team.
Job in Norway: Immigrants getting a job in Norway are often treated very bad. Even though they have an education which should have given them a well-paid job, they have to take jobs noone else wants. It is a fact that 1/4 of all the immigrants who live in Norway have completed an education of postgraduate school, and only 1/6 of the Norwegians have the same. Why is this so? The reason is simple: When you have a good education you are more minded to the society, and it’s possible that you might get in a conflict with the government in your own country, and that is why they have to escape.
Attitudes from Norwegians: People with a different skin-colour than our own are in danger of being treated bad. It could be everything from verbal confrontations to more serious matters. Many have been sent to the doctor with cuts and bruises which have been caused by Norwegians. I get embarrassed when I read about new attacks towards the fugitives in our country and other countries. When people are killed because of their religious belief or skin-colour, I get real depressed. Where has the world come to when people get killed because of this? To make this better we have to learn children earlier that everyone has the same value. The parents have to be more observant in their way of talking about the foreigners when their children are listening.