Weekend of integration 29.9-1.10.2000

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It was the sunny afternoon of 21. September when I arrived in Lyon, France, ready to spend my next academic year studying at INSA. It didn't take long to get used to the exceptionally international atmosphere - about 10 percent of the four thousand students are foreigners, if I remember correctly.

The education here is divided into two parts, the two first years being common to all and the three following years specific to each department. It is also possible to change university after the first two. To try to make sure that nobody feels alone when starting the third year - the first year of specialization - each department at INSA has the tradition to organize a special "Weekend d'intégration" in the beginning of the semester. All the exchange students are also invited.
Loading food to the bus The friday afternoon started in the auditorium by an introduction to Sinfor, the company which took care of most of the expenses of the weekend. After having a coctail chatting with each other and the company representants we were loading the buses with enough food and drinks for the rougly 120 participants.
Waiting to get into rooms After a two hour drive we arrived at a hostel near Chambery, reserved for our group for the weekend without the regular staff. The fourth and fifth year students in red T-shirts were supposed to keep everything in order.
Making kir The student parties aren't usually too silent, but this was the first time for me that an extra bottle of wine was promised to the group that was able to make the most noise at the dinner table. Just guess which was the lucky table...
Feet up! The meal was followed by some games, in the picture riding chairs.
Biking in the fog Saturday morning and afternoon was reserved for outdoor activities in teams of about 10 people. Unfortunately about half of them had to be cancelled due to the poor weather. The mountain bike trail was short but well long enough to get your back covered by mud.
We decided to have our picnic lunch inside The team number 9.
Salvatore peeling an apple One task for all teams was to make an apple pie. By throwing in ten bad cooks and inventing the most difficult ways to handle the ingredients it is easy to waste one and a half hours doing it.
An accident? Hmm, how did that happen? Well, all it needs is one guy mixing the ingredients a bit too eagerly and two others trying to help with paper.
There were about 20 foreigners "C'est les étrangers qui gueulent le plus fort..." There was some intensity in the songs between the new third year students and organisers but this was certainly the best shouting match of the night.
Singing, sort of The answer of the French.
One room was set up as a disco After the dinner there was plenty of time for drinking, dancing and finding new friends.
Leaving On Sunday it was time to leave, thank the organisers and get some sleep before Monday morning. Ironically the sun showed up for the first time, but it didn't really matter, it had been a great weekend.

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Copyright Arto Teräs <ajt@iki.fi> 2000-2001.
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Last update 17.8.2001.