An Expensive Ride

On average, in the USA, a CEO makes 354 times more than the lowest paid worker in the same company. Some make over 1000 times more. In Canada, a CEO makes 206 times more than the worker, and in Norway, a CEO makes 53 times more.

This means Norway is a more equitable society: incomes aren’t so diverse and everyone earns a good wage. (Everyone also has access to free education – including university.)

This is also means that today my driving instructor pulled up in a BMW M3 and I paid $220 for a one hour lesson.

I will pay just over $1000 to exchange my driver’s license from Canada to Norway – this is the cost of one class and the test/licence fees. If I fail the test [oh God] then I will be starting from scratch and paying almost $10,000. The test is next week. Please pray to the Driving Gods that I pass…

I believe in greater wage equity, and yet I find myself complaining about it when I have to pay more (for services, at restaurants, etc). Turns out we can’t have our (wildly expensive) cake and eat it too. So, rather than complaining about my $30 burger, or $6 train fare, or $220 driving lesson, I am doing my best to remember that I actually agree with what’s going on here. I am all for greater wage-equality. And as soon as I learn Norwegian, I can get a job and hop aboard this Kroner-earning luxury wagon.


13 thoughts

  1. Hi Jill,
    Yes , oslo is definitely expensive but over the period of time we will get used to the system and start compromising on our day to day life . Three years on , I have changed my lifestyle completely from cutting down pub visits to 1 and following norwegian tradition of few beers before going out so you could drink less 😉

    Food wise ,definitely I went down completely on eating junk to healthy and learned to be good cook in hard way.
    I still struggle to eat cold food for lunch against hot food I had it in UK, Sweden or back home in India.
    There is definitely a cultural shock and a bonus (expensive) ,but hang on you will go with the flow .

    One interesting thing i observed was , when you are out on the street asking for address far away , you will always be recommended to take public transport and interesting thing is they sometimes tell you which bus /tram or train to take. I never heard anyone saying take a taxi .

    I did blow up 50,000 kr to get my driving license .. the system here is designed in such a way that there are jobs for people here in every aspect . Another example is Norwegian courses which also provide lot of local employment .
    The deeper we go understanding the Norwegian system we realize how brilliantly it is built up.

    Btw, your blog is really nice and a very interesting read . Keep sharing 🙂


    1. Thank you and thanks for your thoughtful comment! 🙂 I am already changing my habits and I am really coming to appreciate how things work here. You are right that it really is quite brilliant.


  2. I got my drivers licence in London, when I was finishing off my IB (25 years ago). It was extremely hard to pass, and it wasn’t uncommon to take it 2 or 3 times before getting a “pass”. By some miracle, I passed the first time, and I was actually the only one in my school who had achieved that, so I was very very proud. When I moved back to Norway, I was horrified to find out that my British licence was not accepted in Norway, and I was fined twice…. by the time I was going to see if I could transfer it to a Norwegian one, I was told that I had to take the tests, etc all over again…. so I never did…. as I didn’t own my own car (and didn’t need one since we lived centrally in Oslo),. A few years later we moved abroad (and stayed abroad for 17 years…. I had no problem driving with my British licence abroad, and I was never stopped by police anyway, since we had diplomatic plates). Now, moving mack to Norway, I have to deal with all of that again…. and can’t find myself to take lessons and a driving test at an age of 47, when I have been driving since I was 18, in almost every continent of the world!! Haha… maybe it’s time to start walking more and biking…. wouldn’t hurt… 😉 Luckily we have an apt. in a area with good public transport in every direction…..


    1. Ya, it’s a hard pill to swallow to have to take lessons and a test when you have been driving so long. I know! 🙂 I was lucky that I did it within the time frame, but it was still expensive, stressful and weird! I have to say, I tend to walk/bike/T-bane everywhere anyway. 🙂


  3. I agree…once actually making money life will be great here. Otherwise it feels like having all the goodies at your fingertips to find a shatterproof, glass wall between what you see and where you are.


  4. I am a Norwegian who lived in Canada a few years, specifically Montreal. I exchanged my Norwegian driver’s license to a Canadian one, and was struck by how incredibly cheap it was. I also noticed how overzealous the test overseer was about my driving compared to how shitty and dangerously EVERYONE in Montreal drives. I did get my license, but by driving just a few times there, I started down a road of bad habits because of the way people drove and the low consequence to for example speeding – which I mimiced in inner city traffic. A speeding ticket is nothing in Canada, and at least in Montreal they drive like they’re *trying* to kill each other.

    The cost of getting a driver’s license here in Norway is absurd, but perhaps that cost, along with the harsh consequences for driving badly, makes people think twice about misbehaving in traffic? 🙂


    1. Hi Nina. It is so interesting to hear your experience from “the other side”! 🙂 Montreal is a great city but, ya, the driving is something else! I think, on a whole, Norwegians are better drivers than Canadians (very broadly speaking of course). And yes, I am sure part of that has to do with the consequences if you misbehave. Things are expensive here, but for the most part, I understand why and I kind of appreciate it. Especially the fact that people tend to get paid well (as far as I know). Thanks you so much for reading and commenting. I really enjoyed hearing that!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the craziest thing about how expensive/complicated it is to get your license from scratch is how easy it is to lose it over relatively minor things. Last week my bf informed me that you can now lose your license for following too close. I’m not sure if he exaggerates but I know Norway means serious business when it comes to traffic laws. I’m now a significantly more cautious (paranoid?) driver, even when I’m back home in Ontario.


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