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“As an international researcher, you may not know your rights in Norway”

Svetlana Sokolova joined Forskerforbundet shortly after she moved to Norway.

Svetlana Sokolova

(Svetlana Sokolova)

“I particularly encourage foreign students and employees to join Forskerforbundet. The association helps you better understand Norwegian society and your rights as an employee. As a member, you’ll also get to know your colleagues better.”

Svetlana Sokolova, who originally hails from a small town in the Ural Mountains in Russia, moved to Norway 12 years ago to start her doctorate in Linguistics.

“I didn’t know anything about Tromsø before I came here in 2008. I was writing my thesis in Moscow, and became a member of the Slavic Linguistic Society through my supervisor. I came across a PhD position at The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) in a newsletter from the society.”

The union unites people

Svetlana joined Forskerforbundet as soon as she came to Tromsø. A co-worker advised her to join the union.

“Forskerforbundet unites people. It’s our way to influence our working conditions and not to accept all the decisions that come from higher up. But you have to be an active member to preserve the opportunities and benefits that Forskerforbundet offers.”

Svetlana defended her dissertation in 2012, and is now an Associate Professor. Her research focuses on cognitive grammar, corpus and historical linguistics, with a major focus on Russian morphology and syntax.

“As an international researcher, you may not know your rights in Norway. Forskerforbundet helps you become aware of them. The association will also help you if you encounter a difficult situation at work. Although I got my teaching position before I defended my PhD, it’s reassuring to know that if I had encountered difficulties getting a position, Forskerforbundet would have been there to help.”

Networking and salary negotiations

One of the other reasons why Svetlana joined the union, was to get to know her colleagues better and meet people outside her own department. She regularly attends seminars and dinners organized by the union.

Another benefit of being a member is that all members are offered competitively priced insurance. “The insurance that Forskerforbundet offers is favourable for me and would definitely be beneficial for anyone. The union has also helped me to increase my salary a couple of times over the last few years.”

After living in Norway for over a decade, Svetlana has no plans of moving from the city known as the “Paris of the North”.

“The Arctic University of Norway in Tromsø is a strong university when it comes to linguistics. Some of the leading specialists in the field work here, which is one of the reasons I came to Tromsø.”

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