The French education system is a very bizarre one that makes me thank god I was born in Canada. In France you go through tests almost every 3 years to find out if you're smart enough to keep going in school and university isn't the best thing you can do after high school (lycee) if you want the best jobs (and money) you have to go to a grande l'ecole. EDHEC is not only a grande l'ecole but also one of the top 5 in france so I guess I go to school with the brightest of the bright. To even get admitted after high school you have to spend two years in what's called prepa preparing to sit a national entrance exam that ranks you and then from that ranking you go to a certain school. Prepa is supposed to be absolute HELL. You study between 70-90 hours a week in all subjects including two foreign languages. You give up having a life - it interferes with your studying. As our French culture professor put it, they haven't had a love bite in 2 years.
So the second weekend after these new students start at EDHEC the school hosts something called the Seminare D'integration (semi). There are two things that describe this event correctly. Unlimited free alcohol and summer camp.
Because EDHEC is a top school (equate this with snobby) they have all sorts of associations that you can join basically like fraternities and sororities except its pretty much not optional. There's actually a word for you if you're not in one and the first thing people ask when they meet you is your name and association.
The purpose of the semi is to allow all the second years to haze the first years as they try to "rush" the associations. And haze they do. In order to get to the semi, which was held on the French-spanish border in Peripignon we had to take a 15 hour bus ride. On my bus they just served some drinks, we had some snacks, played games and then passed out. On other busses (which of course are separated by association) they hung up intestines and so every time the bus moved you got hit in the face by it and they made everyone drink till they puked and then at one of the stops, they shaved all the guys heads.
Anyways the first thing you do when you arrive in peripgnon is not take your bags to your room and get settled and freshened up after 15 hours on a bus. No no no you have a giant egg and floor and cheap wine fight with the students from the Nice campus of EDHEC. It's a full out war (please refer to the pics on facebook it doesn't even make sense). Then you have a picnic on the beach and go clean up.
Then there was bull fighting. Yes you read that correctly - bull fighting. I think that in Canada there would be waaaay too many liabilities for this but fear not, in france I guess its normal. So they have a ring and everyone stands around it and the male students taunt the bull and run away from it and have to try and throw rings around their horns and stuff. A few guys really got hit by the bull (again you HAVE to check out the fb photos)/
And post bull-fighting (and please note this is still pre-dinner), there was a foam party. And we got gift bags actually from Procter and Gamble. This is after our gift bags from Unilever. With the trouble I had getting corporate sponsorship in Canada I really really wonder if the sponsors had any idea what was going on this weekend. Anyways back to foam party, we chugged a couple drinks and then hopped right in the foam and danced the afternoon away. Don't worry steve I swear I wore that turtleneck the whole time. No white matching shirts for us girls ;)
Then we finally had dinner which barely wasn't a food fight and they separate the Nice students from the Lille students so we can spend the whole meal yelling hilarious chants about how they are all homosexuals and that their lives are pointless because they have no futures. Its all to some very nice tunes so I'm sure it takes the edge away. Oh ya and they served bottomless wine at dinner. This seemed like a bit of a bad idea to me but no one else had a problem with it so we were all rather tipsy post-dinner.
Then because we needed to drink more before going to the disco, all the student associations had a big party in a gravel lot and served MORE FREE BOOZE! Hurrah!! Unfortunately I had to attempt to stay a small amount sober because Edgar and I had won the Mr/Ms Bus contest and gotten tricked into dancing in front of the entire school. Alright I'm lying, it was supposed to be a strip show that we got tricked into but we were having none of that so we just sorta went up and danced some salsa. One guy though actually took it all off and unfortunately he was not very well endowed and I think he now may be the laughing stock of the entire school. The disco was ridiculously fun that night and I managed to meet the captain of the womens football team. When I found out that they only played footsol I decided to ask the mens captain if I could play on the guys team to which he laughed in my face. In hindsight (always 20/20) I supposed that's not nearly as common in Europe as in Canada but how was I supposed to know. That night I think we danced until 4 in the morning.
The next day was the real summer camp bit. There was EVERYTHING to do. We went banana boating, swimming in the ocean, bumper cars, paint balling, they had that platform that you stand on and hit another person with a giant foam stick and so much more and we even pirated canoes! Oh and they had a surprise activity where they made everyone come down and sit on the beach. Turns out the school rented a trick airplane to come fly around and do tricks for everyone to watch. It was RIDICULOUS.
Then there was dinner again which was even more rowdy than the first night, (naturally with even more wine consumed) and we watched France play New Zealand in the rugby world cup. Unbelievably France actually won and the entire school went nuts and partied even harder that night. I think I actually made it to 5am this night.
We then had to get up and clean our cabin and get back on the buses for the 15 hour ride back. I was absolutely destroyed and could barely function. There's a picture on facebook of Karina cleaning and I think I'm passed out in bed. I slept the better part of the bus ride home.
And following the Semi there was another 2 weeks of parties to interview the first years that wanted to entire the associations. Naturally I took it upon myself to attend the bulk of these parties. I'm good like that.