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Møt månedens tilflytter - Maria Zhuzhak

Oppdatert: 1. jun. 2023

Hver måned presenterer vi en tilflytter til regionen vår. Denne måneden kan du bli bedre kjent med Maria. Hun er på jakt etter jobb.


Maria is from Moscow, Russia. She graduated from Moscow State Linguistic University after completing a 5-year specialist program in linguistics and translation. She studied French, English and Spanish. Then she took a one-year course in teaching Russian as a foreign language.


Her passion for languages started when she was 7. She started to learn French when she was in the 1st grade and English one year later. At the university, she chose Spanish as the 3rd foreign language and now…. she's learning Norwegian. We wonder what language will be next😊


After university, she worked for big French companies for a few years, mostly dealing with translation and interpretation. It was a very useful experience, but the office wasn’t really her thing. She often felt a lack of communication, and she constantly felt like she needed to share her knowledge and love for languages with other people. That’s why she decided to become a teacher and that was one of the best decisions she's ever made in her life, Maria says.


Before she starts her PPU Program, she would like to work somewhere as a vikar, if possible. If not, she's down for any interesting offers that require communication and languages.



How long have you lived in Norway, did you move with family or on your own?


I moved to Halden last summer for a very simple reason: my boyfriend proposed to me, so we wanted to get married and live together. After being separated because of COVID for 1,5 years, my decision to move was beyond question.



Your main reasons for moving.... was LOVE<3!



What do you like best about living in Norway?


First of all, people. Wherever I go, whether it’s a supermarket, police station, NAV, UDI etc., the staff is very nice and friendly, which makes me feel comfortable and at ease. It’s so different from Russia where things are sort of “now or never” when it comes to personal or financial documents.


The second thing which really helped me and still does is that every person I’ve met speaks English! Everywhere! It’s so cool, I still get impressed by my husband’s granny who speaks English being 87 years old!



What could be better?


· I’ve faced some problems dealing with working hours of several companies. In my opinion banks should work until 5 or 6 p.m. instead of 2 p.m. (because that’s too early!) and should also change their appointment system. I was shocked after I found out that I needed to book an appointment in order to open my bank account. It’s different in Russia, you can swing by the bank whenever you want and fix everything you need right away without any bookings.

· Assistance from health services while waiting for ID or residence permit. It’s important to provide medical assistance even for those who still don’t have a health insurance! I remember I had an emergency and called a local clinic. When they heard that I didn’t have [a Norwegian*] ID number, they hung up the phone. I wanted to go to Legevakt, but they recommended me taking painkillers and not worrying (even though the situation was serious!). I think that every person has the right to get free medical help in case of emergency with or without insurance.



Are there things you find funny or peculiar that you didn’t expect prior to moving?


· Delivery of documents by post. That still amazes me😊

· You need to book an appointment or buy tickets in advance almost everywhere. So now I check the working hours attentively before I go out in the evening😊

· In Halden people start getting ready for Christmas in the mid November😊 It’s funny!

· Before going out, for example, to a bar, people get together at somebody’s place for drinks, because prices for alcohol are insanely high. It reminded me of my student years when we didn’t have enough money to buy what we wanted in a bar, so we had to party at home first. So I feel a bit like a student now😊.



Do you have Norwegian acquaintances or friends?


I’ve got to know a lot of nice people recently, but they’re mostly expats.



What are your outside of work interests?


In Moscow I used to sing in 2 bands, so singing is my main hobby and passion. I’m planning on creating a band here too. I also started to paint a bit here, after my husband took me to the painting course he was attending, and I really liked it! It helps me enjoy colours, shades and calms my mind. Apart from that, I play PlayStation from time to time.


What do you miss most from your home country?


Noisy streets, parties and cozy weekends with my friends. I also miss the large choice of entertaining activities like exhibitions, museums and big parks. And the prices…OLD GOOD PRICES.



What has this move taught you so far?


This move has taught me to accept things as they are and enjoy them. I’ve never lived abroad before, although I travelled a lot around Europe and had some experience regarding European people and lifestyle. After moving I almost needed to start from scratch, and it was hard. But every time I deal with a difficult situation, I try to look at from different sides, focus on positive things and be grateful for what I’ve got.


*change of the editor

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