It's not easy to pick your family up and move to another country, but if you're thinking of trying it, Norway, particularly Trondheim, may be one of the best places in the world to try.
Norway prides itself on its family friendly policies. The government is committed to providing pre-school places to every family that wants one, schools offer affordable after-school programmes for children up to age 10, and workplaces offer reasonable work hours and generous maternity leave and vacation time.
Busses, bikes and cars
Trondheim is a very compact city, and it's possible to live quite comfortably here without a car. During the summer months, the city has a Citybikes programme, where you can buy a card for NOK 70 and use it to check out bicycles for use in town. An extensive bus service links the city centre and the university with outlying areas and the city's two public forests.
For trips further afield, Norway has a well-developed rail system, with buses and planes for places that the trains don't go. If you really need a car, but don't want to bring one with you, Trondheim is also home to a communal car-sharing group that has reciprocity with similar groups in Bergen and Oslo.
Work for your partner
If you're coming to NTNU as a PhD or a researcher, your partner will likely be granted a work permit, although NTNU has no official partner programme for foreign researchers.The Norwegian Labour and Welfare Organisation (NAV) arranges short introductory courses for foreigners about how Norwegian society and the labour market work. This is only open for foreigners on a long-term stay in Norway. All other ordinary services at NAV are open to anyone who is seeking a job. You can find jobs in Norway on nav.no (many of which are in Norwegian) or at the European Job Mobility Portal (EURES) . The European Job Mobility Portal also provides information on EURES advisers in your home country and information about Norway in all the European languages. There is also helpful information about living and working in Norway.
Schooling for all
For a city of its size, Trondheim offers a good variety of schooling alternatives for Norwegians and non-Norwegians alike. School-aged children can take advantage of the local Norwegian school system, where they'll be integrated into the local school classroom and offered special tutoring in Norwegian. And whether your native language is Farsi or French, English or Estonian, the city of Trondheim also provides children of non-native residents language tutoring in the student's native language. Parents can also choose a Steiner School, where the language of instruction is Norwegian.
There are also two English-language international schools: Birralee, which offers schooling based on the British National Curriculum, or the Trondheim International School, which is certified as an International Baccalaureate school for grades 1-10.
Professional arts and music programmes
Trondheim's educational offerings go beyond its school system: the city is recognized nationally as hosting the country's best programme for aspiring artists and musicians. Students can take music lessons for most instruments, or study voice, drama, or the visual arts, while advanced students can apply for admission to Saturday School, a special programme for roughly 60-70 students aged 11-21. The programme is sponsored by the city and is extremely affordable.