Photo: Austris Augusts / Unsplash

A League of (Oslo’s) Own

Do you fancy yourself as a bit of an athlete? Or are you just keen to meet some new people during your time in Norway? Well we’ve found just the place for you!


Everything to know about OSI

What is OSI?

Oslo Sports Association (OSI or Oslostudentenes Idrettsklubb) is one of the country’s largest sporting networks. Originally founded in 1882, the club has a long and proud history within the Norwegian sporting scene. It was designed specifically with students in mind, and aims to make sport fun and accessible for all who want to get involved. This includes exchange students, and students studying outside of Oslo. As well as an emphasis on sport, OSI are passionate about encouraging socialisation. The club allows students to make friends whilst also staying active.

What sports are on offer?

OSI features a wide range of sporting clubs, suitable for all kinds of students. In total, there are 36 sports, which have a combined membership of over 3000. This includes popular games like football, volleyball, basketball and tennis. Additionally, there are some more alternative sports that students can try – such as Ultimate Frisbee, Fencing or Capoeira. There is even an OSI Cross-Country team for students looking to integrate into the Norwegian way of life! Each of these clubs are run by students, and often host open training sessions at the beginning of the semester. These details can be found on the individual group pages of each sport, or via Facebook. While much of this information is in Norwegian, a lot of groups include English translations – or have a contact person that questions can be directed towards.

How do I become a member?

Registering as an OSI-member is quick and easy, although there are some fees involved. To be involved with OSI, there is a flat fee of NOK 120 per semester. On top of this, there is an extra fee associated with each separate sporting club. Students can join as many teams as they like, as long as they complete the registration process. Additionally, as many clubs train within the Athletica facilities during the winter months, students may need to purchase their own SiO gym membership. This service is separate from the OSI semester payment. Importantly, by becoming a member, individuals must act in accordance with OSI’s rules, along with the wider Norwegian Sporting Laws. These guidelines ensure that sport remains fun, safe and enjoyable for everyone that is involved.

But I have so many more questions!

I thought that might be the case! To tell us a bit more about their specific experiences with OSI, here are some international students who’ve been involved with the sporting scene during their time in Oslo.

OSI Swimming / OSI Svømming: Sofie from Konstanz in Germany

Sofie relaxing in between training sessions.

When did you get involved with OSI?

I moved to Oslo in January, and joined OSI Swimming then too.

How has your experience been?

My time has been solely positive. I was so glad to find a nice swimming group in Oslo. It doesn’t matter where you are from or what your swimming level is, the OSI club is really open and happy to include everyone in their activities. It has been so much fun and I really had a great time! It is all in English, so you don’t have to worry about a language barrier either.

What does being a member of OSI Swimming look like?

We have three different lanes, divided by speed. We have four practices a week, but you can pick when you attend. Every day there is a different coach and the theme of the practice is different. We have sprint, long distance, intervals and technique practices. The different themes make it really fun, and means training is never boring. Competitions are optional, but available if you want to get involved. There is the club championship every semester, where OSI swimmers race against each other in different distances and disciplines. There are also the Student Games each semester, where students from different universities swim against each other. They are always hosted by a different city, and next semester they will be in Oslo! In Summer there are also some open water competitions you can join. So there is a lot you can do, and it's all great fun.

What would you say to other international students who are considering joining an OSI club?

Try it out! The people I met there are really some of the nicest I know in Oslo and I find it really helpful to have an activity to balance out a lot of studying.

OSI Ultimate Frisbee: Katrin from Erlangen in Germany

When did you get involved with OSI?

I moved to Oslo in January, and have been involved with both the Ultimate Frisbee and Rowing clubs.

How has your experience been?

Very good. In Ultimate Frisbee we are an international mixed gender team of students, with very different experience levels. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or on the national team everybody has fun playing and that’s what matters. Besides training, we sometimes meet for a beer, get some ice cream or go for a swim.

How does Ultimate Frisbee work?

In an indoor game you play with two teams of five. There are two endzones, and the goal is to get the disc in the opposition’s endzone. If you catch the disc, you are not allowed to run and have 8 seconds to throw the disc to another person in your team. This continues until the disc is caught in the endzone or there is a turnover. Ultimate frisbee is a sport without body contact, so it’s not allowed to touch your opponent. The other thing is that there is no referee on the field. Every call has to be discussed by the players, and they must decide together whether a call should be contested or accepted before the game goes on. The match generally ends after a set time (normally between 25 and 50 minutes) or a certain number of points are scored.

Katrin (top left) with the OSI Ultimate Frisbee team.

What does being a member of OSI Ultimate Frisbee look like?

We train two times a week throughout the semester, with more sessions added when the weather is nice in summer! Normally, we start by doing some simple throws to warm up and get used to the disc. After a short warm-up we do some technique drills to improve our gameplay. Then we end each training with a match! This semester, we played together at the national championship in Oslo. The most important part of a tournament is always the spirit. Everybody is in a good mood, you cheer for your opponent if they score or if there is a great catch. In general, you are just extremely nice to each other, try to motivate everybody and keep up the good spirit. After every match both teams come together and stand in a ‘spirit-circle.’ Here, you talk about the match – what worked out and what didn’t. Sometimes the teams prepare some ‘spirit games’ to get to know each other a little bit better and enjoy each other’s company. After each game we also fill out a survey, where you have to score the other team on elements such as spirit, knowledge of the game, and willingness to learn. Things like this mean it’s really easy to get to know people in the Frisbee community, because everybody is really open and easy to talk to. Of course, there is also always a party on the first night of the tournament, which you shouldn’t miss.

What would you say to other international students who are considering taking part in OSI?

I would definitely recommend becoming a member of OSI. It’s a great way to meet new people – both other international students and local students – and can lead to good friendships. As well as this, it’s always a great experience to try a sport in another country and to be part of a team.

OSI Group Dance / OSI Gruppedans: Louane from France

When did you get involved with OSI?

I arrived in Oslo on January 5th, a date I'll never forget. As a dancer who stopped taking classes because of university, I took advantage of my very light schedule here to go back to dance classes, so I joined OSI Gruppedans. I’m leaving Oslo in June, but plan to come back as soon as I can!

The OSI Gruppedans end of semester performance.

How has your experience been?

Everything is so good about OSI: the people you're dancing with, our dancing rooms, the teachers (shout out to Juni and Christina) and the choreography. We also sometimes meet outside dance classes, to go out or eat together in the park. You can even be part of the Våryr in May, which is a big gathering of all the OSI groups. There are small competitions and one group wins at the end – this year the dance team emerged victorious! I’m close to the end of my time in the club which makes me really sad, but we're preparing our show and this is I think the best time of the semester.

Louane practicing her dance moves.

What does being a member of OSI Dance look like?

Our dance courses officially started in February – with two weeks of trial courses before – and end with our show on May 25th. I was worried at the beginning that it would be overly competitive and that other people wouldn’t be inclusive, but it happened to be the complete opposite. Everyone is nice, cheerful, helpful, and the atmosphere in class is full of laughter and fun. There is no judgement or competition, and I truly loved that. Across the semester they offer courses in Jazz, Modern, Ballet, Hip Hop and Girly Style, all at beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. You pay NOK 450 for the whole semester and for as many classes as you want! I personally took advanced classes in Hip Hop and Girly Style, which were on Monday and Tuesday evenings. Participation in the end of semester show is not mandatory but I HIGHLY recommend you to do it, because it's a one-life experience. Classes give you a chance to improve your dance level in a safe space, and the show means you can experience performing on a stage in the end. This is great for people who have never danced in front of an audience before, or those who want to do it again after a long time – like me!

What would you say to other international students who are considering taking part in OSI?

If you're doubting whether you should join a club – just do it. I can only speak from my experience in the dance club, but here you'll get to meet so many new people – I have made some great friends. Enjoy your time in any group you're joining and in Oslo as well. I wish I could stay longer, so make sure you live life to the fullest while you are here.

OSI Rowing / OSI Roing: Gemma from Australia!

When did you get involved with OSI?

Gemma in her OSI Rowing uniform.

I joined the OSI Rowing team in February, about a month after I arrived in Oslo.

How has your experience been?

It’s been amazing! After seeing an open training advertised on Facebook earlier in the year, I decided to see what it was like. It was a totally spontaneous decision by me – but I could not be more happy with how it turned out. Although it was a bit daunting going alone in the beginning, everyone was very welcoming, and I made friends quickly. The club is a good fit for anybody, whether they’re Norwegian or international, and whether they have rowed before, or never sat in a boat. It’s also really impressive to me that the OSI Rowing club is completely run by students. There are some really passionate individuals involved, who are committed to seeing the team be the very best it can be. This attitude made it a great group of people to be around!

What does being a member of OSI Rowing look like?

My time with the club started in the height of winter – when rowing outside was a terrifying thought! Instead, we trained together indoors at Domus Athletica two times a week. It was a great way to keep fit during the colder months – and kept me motivated during my early months here. After Easter Break, we started to train on the water at Ormsund Roklub in Malmøya, about 30 minutes away from the city centre. These sessions were a great chance to explore Oslo a bit, and spend quality time outdoors. All of our practice culminated with the Student Championships, which were held in Bergen in early May. It was an incredible experience working towards this competition with the team – and really rewarding feeling once we crossed the finish line. Cheering on the other OSI crews was a big highlight for me too. Off the water, there was plenty of socialisation and sightseeing – which was a huge bonus for me!

One of the OSI crews training at Malmøya.

What would you say to other international students who are considering joining an OSI club?

I could not recommend it more highly. Playing sports was a massive part of my life throughout both high school and university in Australia, so I was so excited to discover that there was something similar I could experience while in Oslo. Fight any initial fear you have and just go for it, because you will definitely thank yourself later.

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