Migrant Training and Integration

We offer pre-departure cultural orientation courses for Norway-bound quota refugees. The course is offered in the first country of asylum after they have fled from their native country. The program is funded by the Norwegian Directorate for Integration and Diversity (IMDi) and IOM Norway is responsible for the overall implementation of the program.


Some refugees are resettled in their countries of resettlement without being given accurate and relevant information about their new country. The result is often an extended period of adjustment, during which the newcomer may suffer personal challenges.

The resettling municipalities point out that none, too little or wrong information about Norway and Norwegian society often gives resettling refugees unrealistic expectations about their new country. Participation in cultural orientation class not only makes the actual travel to the new country less stressful for the refugees, but it also eases the initial adjustment period. Reducing the possibility of culture shock for the refugees, may make their integration into their new municipalities smoother.


Many countries receiving refugees see the benefits of pre-departure cultural orientation. In addition to the Norwegian Cultural Orientation Programme, IOM is implementing cultural orientation for migrants and refugees bound for Australia, Canada, UK and the USA among other countries.

Cultural orientation class with children
Cultural Orientation Classes

Pre-departure cultural orientation classes are provided to Norway-bound quota refugees in their first country of asylum. Children under the age of 8 do not receive cultural orientation. Children between the age of 8 and 15 are given 10 hours of orientation over a period of two days, while participants from 16 years and above are given 25 hours of orientation over a period of 5 days. The classes emphasize on a participatory approach and combine discussions, visual teaching aids, role-play and learning through dialogue and case studies.


The curriculum for adults includes topics like the resettlement process in Norway, climate, history, geography, housing, the introduction programme, education, health care, employment, and other public services. Special attention is given on topics such as customs and habits, so that possible misunderstandings in when meeting the Norwegian culture are reduced, while creating a basic understanding of Norwegian values and norms.


The children's curriculum includes topics like Norwegian school system, being a child/teen in Norway, children’s rights, and more. This teaching is based on games, play and interactive activities.

Giving cultural orientation to municipal workers

By increasing the refugees' knowledge of Norway, we aim to contribute to the overall empowerment of refugees to cope with their immediate needs on arrival, enhance their ability to become self-sufficient sooner, and facilitate their integration into Norwegian society.


Through the cultural orientation programme, refugees can:

  • Develop a realistic picture of Norway and understand its culture and values

  • Develop an understanding of the receiving municipalities' expectations of them

  • Develop problem-solving skills

  • Minimize culture shock

  • Learn about common challenges that they may encounter in the resettlement process, and thus help reduce negative impact

Target Groups

The Norwegian authorities decide annually the target groups and the number of quota refugees to be resettled in Norway. Since 2015, the target group has been Syrians living in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. In 2017, the quota refugees were dedicated to Syrians that were selected from Lebanon and Turkey.

Since the inception of the Norwegian Cultural Orientation Programme in 2003, nearly 13,000 quota refugees have received pre-departure cultural orientation. This group compromises persons from Afghanistan, Bhutan, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Liberia, Myanmar, and Palestine.

Cross-Cultural Facilitators

The pedagogical base of the cultural orientation programme are Cross-Cultural Facilitators who live in Norway and are integrated into the Norwegian society. They are generally from the same or similar cultural and linguistic background as the refugees. The use of the refugees' own language as the language of instruction maximizes effective learning and eliminating the need for an interpreter.

Similar ethnic and immigrant/refugee background and ability to speak the same language as the refugees facilitates creation of a trusting and open atmosphere in the classroom. A Cross-Cultural Facilitator also acts as a role model for refugees as the facilitator him/herself has gone successfully through the integration process in Norway, learned the language and has managed to establish him/herself in Norway.

Duration of the Seminar

The length of the seminar can be tailored to your interest and needs. Usually it takes about 5-6 hours to go through the agenda. This would include lunch and coffee breaks. The seminar is held in Norwegian.


Invited guests to the seminar could include municipality refugee workers, introduction programme teachers, health sector personnel, teachers, kindergarten teachers, church representatives, police, social office, employment office, potential employers, NGO's, representatives of UDI and IMDi's regional offices, neighbours of refugees, or any other interested persons in your municipality. You can also organize the meeting jointly with a nearby municipality.

Follow-up Seminars

Has your municipality already hosted a country information seminar? Perhaps not all interested people had the chance to participate in the first one? Would you like to have another seminar, which focuses on certain specific topics or different refugee groups? There is no limit to how many times you can invite IOM to your municipality.

For more information and to plan a seminar, please contact us.

Country Information Seminars (Landinfo)

  • Would you like to know more about the history, culture, or conflict in the country of origin of refugees?

  • Would you like to see pictures, films or know more about the living conditions in the countries of first asylum where refugees were living before they moved to Norway?

  • Would you like to improve your understanding of cultural values, behaviour and communication style with refugees?

  • Would you like to know about possible integration challenges?

  • Would you like to hear from the newcomers themselves how they have experienced their new life in Norway so far?


The CO programme staff has the knowledge and experience about the above-mentioned topics and we are happy to share this information with you. Together with you, we can jointly organize a meeting or a seminar tailored to your municipality's interests and needs.

What is a country information seminar?

If this is first time that you are inviting IOM to your municipality to talk about refugees, the agenda could include the following topics:

  • A brief presentation of IOM

  • Information on what the refugees learned about Norway during their CO classes before they arrived to your municipality

  • Information on refugees' country of origin and the transit country including:

    • Geography-geopolitical setting, demography, ethnic groups, languages, religion

    • Conflict situation

    • Security situation

    • Cultural differences

    • General discussion on integration and how best to assist the refugees to become self-reliant


IOM Norway offers municipality seminars mainly about Afghanistan, Congo, Eritrea, Somalia and Syria. We also offer seminars on cultural understanding.

Costs and Responsibilities

IOM will take care of the content and presentations. We will also cover all the costs related to the travel of our staff members to your municipality. Your municipality will be responsible for providing a venue, inviting and informing participants.

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Office: Skippergata 33, 4th floor, 0154 Oslo, Norway

Post: Pb 8927 Youngstorget, 0028 Oslo, Norway

Opening hours: Monday - Friday, 10:00-15:00

Telephone: (+47) 23 10 53 20  |  Fax: (+47) 23 10 53 23

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