“Once I learned the language and my studies were validated, I found a job in my field” “We want to let newcomers know they already have a family they can count on”
Why did you leave Catalonia?
I left in search of a better life. My life in Catalonia didn’t make me happy. On a personal level, I found it difficult to become independent and live with my partner without having to give up many things we enjoy, such as travelling. On a professional level, I had a job which didn’t allow me to progress... and the lifestyle in general was quite stressful. I didn’t realise it then, but I know it now since I’ve been here.
Are you happy with the job opportunities you found in your adoptive country?
Absolutely. And the opportunities multiply when you learn the language. At first I worked in hostelry, but once I learned the language and my studies were validated, I found a job in my field. A job where I am very happy and I have the opportunity to help a lot of people. Among the Catalan community of Tromsø we have people who work in the fields of education, health, who are doing doctorates and post-doctorates, or who work in catering or tourism, to give a few examples.
You founded the Casal català in Tromsø: when was it founded, and what activities do you do?
The Casal Català in Tromsø is the first recognised casal in Norway, and I wish it wasn’t the only one. It only received recognition as a casal on September 28, 2021. The people who are here, we know how difficult it is to get to a place so far north, without any kind of contacts, and we want to let newcomers know and feel that when they arrive they already have a family they can count on that will help them with whatever they need.
What do you think is the best thing about living there?
The possibilities of being able to build a dignified future, the good quality of life, nature and the thousands of hiking trails we have around us, the quality of the air and water, the zero level of stress, the lovely people we meet around us,...
What would you most like to change?
All I need is a direct flight to Barcelona, and cheaper. That way, it would be much easier to get visits from the people I love.
What do you miss most from home?
Family and friends, of course. The food was also something I missed a lot. Without a doubt, we eat much better in Catalonia than here. The solution, however, was to learn how to cook dishes from back home.
What is the best experience you’ve had in your adoptive country?
I can’t say I live in Tromsø and not answer that question by saying that the best experience has been seeing the Northern Lights. When my partner was not yet living with me, she came to visit me in September and we had some spectacular, very intense aurora borealis, almost daily. My parents also came in September the following year, and they were also lucky enough to see some amazing auroras. For me, the best experience has been being able to enjoy those moments, both with my partner and my parents.
Do you plan to come back to Catalonia?
It’s not something I have in mind today. I think it would be nice to have a second home there to visit from time to time. Perhaps for retirement we would then return during the dark period (from November 21 to January 21, when the sun doesn’t rise in Tromsø). But I think if I left Tromsø, rather than returning to Catalonia, it would be to move to another part of Norway.
CATALANS ABROAD Tromsø (norway)
What do you consider the highlights for any brief visit for the first time?
Ifyou come for only two or three days, I recommend a walk in the centre, visiting museums to understand a little history, going to Lake Prestvannet and taking a walk through the Telegrafbukta area or going to the famous Fjellheisen to see the views.
And if visitors have more time or make a return visit?
Get to know the Sami community and do some activity with reindeers. If you rent a car, it’s highly recommended to visit Grotfjørd Beach, Ersfjordbotn Fjord, and drive an hour from Tromsø to Sommarøy. A spectacular area. Also, exploring the Lofoten Islands area and the Senja area. You can go by car or by boat.
When is the best time of year to plan a visit?
The high season is from September to March, when we have the northern lights dancing in the night sky. I especially like September, because I’ve seen very strong auroras this month, and it’s not cold in February, for example, and you can spend more time outdoors. The bad thing about this time is that there are very few hours of light, and from November to January the sun does not rise. This means that there are not too many opportunities to see landscapes. But we also have another phenomenon that is not so popular but is very spectacular, and that’s the Midnight Sun. For three months, the sun rises and doesn’t hide again until August. At 12 o’clock at night, the sun, instead of hiding, rises again. It’s beautiful and the light from the sky at that moment is magical.