Thoughts on Being an Expat, Graduating Uni and Working Full-Time

June was an incredibly busy month in the Arctic and I still can't believe that so many things have happened: My parents came to visit me in Norway for the first time; I had my MA thesis defence and graduated uni (twice), and I also turned 25!

Now these are exciting times and I've had so much to think about lately - like, what do I want to do with my life now that I'm officially a grown-up!

Also having my parents visiting made me think about life abroad a lot and I thought I'd use my blog as some kind of journal today and just write down everything.

Hope you fellow wanderers don't mind!

Playing Tourist in my Backyard

I have to admit, I have a love/hate relationship with Tromso. When I first moved here I had this image of the world's most beautiful town in my head but things quickly became real. No, Tromso is not the perfect place on earth - no place is absolutely perfect after all.

Fjellheisen Tromso
Fjellheisen Tromso

Yes, it's absolutely beautiful and having the ocean and mountains right in your backyard is definitely a nice touch but the city just lacks the infrastructure that you'd I need in the long run.

From lack of housing and therefore incredibly expensive housing prices to long waiting times at the doctor's and a limited and of course expensive range of basically everything from cheese to flights. And don't even get me started on the weather.

These are all topics that deserve their own blog post so I won't get into any details here but the point is, I've become quite fed up with this place.

Luckily my parents helped me to get out of this rut for a while and I spent a week exploring Tromso and its surroundings with them. It was great to play tourist in the city and visit all the spots that I haven't been to in ages again.

Fjellheisen Tromso
Fjellheisen Tromso
Fjellheisen Tromso
Fjellheisen Tromso

We went on a hike under the Midnight Sun in the mountains, rented a car and explored the Lyngen Alps and the island of Kvaløya and enjoyed lots of good food.

Aside from showing them around my adopted home, it was also great that they were able to join one of my two graduation ceremonies and since I didn't have plans to visit Germany this year at all, it was our one chance to spend some time together.

Life Abroad

Which brings us to this. Now I have no intention of ever moving back to Germany, for various reasons with the main one being that I never felt like I belonged there.

Which was proven to me once again on a work trip to Bremen in May. On my way from Bremen to Hamburg, the train got stuck and even though we literally only had to wait 10 minutes before it moved again, everyone around me started moaning and complaining loudly.

Norwegians don't do that very often and if they complain about something, they are very passive-agressive in doing so in contrast to Germans who like to argue directly.

Anyway, I couldn't help but feel incredibly uncomfortable in that moment. I'm not used to people moaning anymore and even though I often moan and complain myself, I always do so at home and it happens rarely that I loose my temper in public - guess I'm slowly becoming Norwegian!

I think that's a good thing?!


Not everyone seems to agree with me though. On that trip, I was asked by a fellow expat and co-worker of mine how often I visit Germany to which I replied that had it not been for this trip, I wouldn't have visited the country at all this year.

I mean that's what being an expat is like, right? You live ABROAD which means you don't go and visit your home country 5 times a year.

Well, my co-worker has a different opinion on this and said that I'm really sealing myself off from home and that Skype just isn't the same - my poor family and friends.

Now I'm going to be honest with you, he didn't exactly gain my sympathy that moment. Not ever has anyone tried to make me feel bad about living abroad - except for my Grandma maybe but she comes from another time and is excused.

Do I really have to visit my home country whenever possible? Is that something that's written in the guidebook for expats? I guess this comment just made me feel so mad because it came from another expat. If it had been someone who has never left his hometown, I would have just put him into the village idiot box and not thought of it again.

But when did it became common for expats to make others feel bad about how often they visit home?

And it makes me cringe to write this - home - cause for me home is right here in my flat in Tromso where I'm writing this post. Home is not the place where I've grown up in - it never has been and I've always dreamt of leaving it.

And yes, of course I miss my family but I'm certainly not obligated to visit them 5 times a year. My parents totally understand that with limited finances and vacation time, Germany isn't exactly high on the list of places I'd like to visit and they have no problem with that.

In fact they're quite proud that their daughter has managed to move abroad, learn a foreign language and graduate uni with a Masters all on her own and wouldn't ever try to make me feel bad about it.

Graduating Uni

Which is why they already booked flight tickets to visit me for my graduation at Christmas last year.

Now we had two ceremonies, one of our study programme which was very intimate and which was when my parents were there, and one big event of the whole faculty.

Graduation UiT
Graduation UiT
Graduation UiT
Graduation UiT

The boyfriend and I both graduated with a Masters in Indigenous Studies and since he got a B and I got an A, in theory we both could go on and pursue postgrad studies now. We are unsure about this though and getting a PhD position isn't exactly easy either.

In Norway, you get paid for doing your PhD and it's like a usual 9 to 5 job. However there aren't exactly a lot of positions available and if there are, then they are mostly connected to a certain project which means you have to research a topic that isn't necessarily to your choosing or liking.

I don't want to spend 3 years researching something I don't have an interest in but I can't exactly afford to pursue an individual PhD project either cause that means you'd have to fund the studies yourself.

Also, the last couple of months of writing the MA thesis and working part-time were incredibly hard and I burst into tears at my desk more than just once.

If doing a PhD means that this becomes a regular habit of mine, I don't want to do it.

Joining "The Real World"

However I'm also unsure about working in a regular 9 to 5 job. Since January, I've been working as a part-time social media consultant and was offered a one year full-time contract working in digital marketing in general.

And although I'm incredibly grateful for this offer (which I'll definitely accept), I'm unsure about whether or not working on a 100% basis is the right thing for me at the moment.

I still feel burnt out from my studies and haven't really had the chance to relax and let everything soak in just yet.

I'm working part-time all throughout summer and have an extra freelance job on the side so going to start a 9 to 5 after summer isn't exactly something I look forward to.

I don't want to become one of those people who hate Mondays (no actually, cross that, I already do), who call Wednesdays humpday and who fall asleep on the sofa on 7pm on Friday evenings.

I also don't think that 5 weeks of annual vacation is enough. I mean think about it: 2 weeks for Christmas, 1 week for Easter, 1 week during autumn and 1 week during summertime?

Hurtigruten Norway
Hurtigruten Norway

But then again, I don't want to become one of those people who long to quit their job to travel the world before I even really started working either.

Now I'm incredibly fortunate in that I live and work in Norway where flexibility is key. I can go down to working on a 90% or 80% basis if I want to or take a few extra weeks of unpaid leave.

Everyone I talked to so far however felt the need to remind me of how much money I'm missing out on in that case. Like money is everything and free-time not important at all.

I live in Norway - the country where wages are so high that you could survive on a part-time job as well. That wouldn't work in Germany at all. So if I have the opportunity, why shouldn't I work reduced hours or take extra leave then?

Yes I have study loans to pay back and plan on moving somewhere else next year which requires money, but for Pete's sake, I am allowed to spend my money on travel as well, aren't I?

That's not my only concern about this job (as much as I enjoy it) though. I don't have a background in marketing. I have a BA in English Culture, Literature and Media Studies with a minor in Social Sciences and an add-on in Northern Studies and wrote my MA thesis about the representation of Inuit in museums.

Sure, having marketing experience is great. Especially digital marketing as that's something that everyone needs to be dealing with sooner or later.

And having degrees in the Humanities field, I always knew that I have to be flexible when it comes to finding a job and PR & Communications or Marketing surely is a common work sector for graduates like me.

I do feel like a cliche though.

Being a Millenial who got a job in marketing because of her blog.

And how ironic if I have to quit blogging because I don't have time for it anymore working a 9 to 5. That's not something I want to do hence my concerns.

Also, I would love to make a better use of my degrees of course. But who is in need of a 25 year old travel blogger with a degree in EVERYTHING, an interest in museology and work experience in marketing?

Okay, I'm exaggerating here. I know that there are jobs out there and that this year of working in marketing will only open doors to me rather than close them. I'm probably just afraid of this whole being a grown-up thing.

Turning 25

I turned 25 last week and yes, I feel old.


So old that the boyfriend and I didn't dare to go on any ride at the local fairground when we visited on Monday as there were only children around and we were afraid to make fools out of ourselves.

We should have brought a kid with us.

That I spend my birthday being sick with a nasty cold while it was raining outside, didn't exactly lift my post-graduate depression though, haha!

Honestly, I was searching for all-inclusive flights to Spain this weekend even though I hate all-inclusive vacations but it's the cheapest way to get to to the South from Tromso.

Yet another reason to move somewhere else next year.

Urgh, was this a depressing read? I kinda feel like it was. Yoast also tells me that this isn't readable at all - pfff! Anyway, all you wanderful people out there, tell me:

Do you have a job that's not related to your studies? Do you think you've wasted your time at uni? How do you cope with working full-time and wanting to travel and/or blog? And does your life abroad sometimes feel like the same old rut to you too?

Some Thoughts on Being an Expat and Blogger, and what's it's like to work full-time in Norway when you have a desire to travel and a hobby that is blogging
Some Thoughts on Being an Expat and Blogger, and what's it's like to work full-time in Norway when you have a desire to travel and a hobby that is blogging

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Welcome to Wanderful Wednesdays!

My favourite from last week was the post "Howth Cliffside Walk" by Sara from Of Golden Roses. She took us on a walk in the beautiful Irish village Howth near Dublin and definitely convinced me to visit Ireland. Turns out that flights from Norway to Dublin are relatively inexpensive too!

Thanks to Sara for linking up with us!

Now it's your turn: Consider yourself a wanderer?! Well then, this Blog Hop is for you!

Meet your hosts: Lauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This and Marcella of What a Wonderful World.

Here on Wanderful Wednesday’s we hope to promote an open and supportive community for like-minded bloggers, expats, travelers and all kinds of wanderers!

The linkup will take place every Wednesday at 8:00am GMT.

Wanderful Wednesday Guidelines:

1. Link up a wanderful travel related post below! One per blogger per week please!

2. Spread the LOVE! Blog Hops are all about hopping around & getting to know others within the community! At the very least please try to comment on one other post before you go!

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Happy Hopping!

Wanderful Wednesday
Wanderful Wednesday