The menu consisted of traditional Norwegian Christmas fare of pork ribs, medisterpølser (pork sausage) and pinnekjøtt (steamed mutton) with all the trimmings. Behind the casseroles was the chaplain himself.
Some students will be continuing next year, but many are in their last semester at BI Norwegian School of Management. Everyone is in party mood, and for many, the students who are finished with all their examinations, this day comes as a huge relief.
“It is great that we can meet this way,” say a bunch of students from Mexico, Portugal, Russia and The Netherlands. “We have an arena where we can meet other overseas students, get to know one another, give one another advice, and enjoy the feeling of being in a big network, with the chaplain as facilitator. It gives us lots of security.”
BI-nner has been a popular rendezvous for many of the overseas students at BI Oslo. The initiative was taken by student chaplain Nils Jøran Riedl of BI Student Welfare.
“Once a month I invite the overseas students to my home. This autumn I have been serving traditional Norwegian dinners with something to drink. During the meals we talk about what it is like to study abroad, about Norway and a lot of other exciting topics. Fortunately there is room for everyone, even if this time as well some people had to sit on the floor.”
“It was hardly necessary to advertise the evening because the students talk about the gatherings when they meet in the corridors at BI Oslo,” continues the chaplain. “But people have to sign up so that we can lay on enough food for everyone.”
A group of German students has gathered in the library and are speaking English together.
“We look forward to BI-nner every time, because we feel at home here. We can unwind between all the lectures and reading at BI. We have also become very fond of the chaplain. We see him everywhere at BI and he even invites us home. This is fantastic and something we will always remember from our stay in Norway and BI Norwegian School of Management,” say the Germans, and raise their glasses in a toast to the student chaplain.
BI-nner is a meeting place for the international students through BI Student Welfare via student chaplain Nils Jørgen Riedl. The dinners are funded by the students’ association (SBIO) and BI Student Welfare. The students also make a minor contribution. Four dinners have been organised during the autumn semester of 2008. During the last BI-nner, students from the following countries attended: Canada, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Taiwan, China, Japan, Singapore, Spain, Portugal, Slovenia, France, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Russia, Mexico, Norway, the UK, South Korea and The Netherlands.
Text: Stein-Oddvar Evensen