Wies Ruyters, Grenoble Exchange, 23rd-28th November
Somewhere over the rainbow there was a village, in France, called Grenoble. Some members of Interactie got the chance to explore this city surrounded by mountains from the 23rd till the 28th of November. Luckily, I was one of them.
The ESTIEM exchange ‘Eindhoven visits Grenoble’ was hosted by French students of the ‘Grenoble Institute of Technology’ (Grenoble INP). The day after our arrival, we were presented the program for the coming four days and it was for me to conclude that we shouldn’t expect much rest. Being a brand new member, the ‘everyday-there-is-a-party-principle’ was kind of unfamiliar to me. But the French explained me that this principle is habitual within ESTIEM exchanges. Or actually ESTIEM events in general. Okay then.
On the first day, we had cooking workshops and we went ice skating, which was very nice. The quality of the ice was horrible and the hockey players that were freestyling on the ice terrified me. Nevertheless, it was a fun thing to do because there was this vibe with everybody being clumsy as hell. Then we went to the main get-together of our hosts: the London Pub. The ‘pints’ (half a liter of beer) were being sold for student prices and the music was, for once, not Guus Meeuwis.
The second day we went to the Chartreuse distillery where a guide told us all sorts of insights to this very typical liquor. In the afternoon, my host Orane guided us through Grenoble and we went to “La Bastille”, at 600m above sea-level. After dinner it was time for the glorious ‘International Night’, which was also new for me. Every country brings its typical foods to the location, and afterwards… well, that depends on the amount of alcohol you drink. It was a cheesy (!) experience, but a perfect way to get to know the French students. Just begin with the opening sentence: ‘What’s your favorite cheese?’ and a nice conversation is guaranteed (the majority said ‘Comte’, which is a solid cheese with a strong taste).
When I was worried of becoming a michelin doll (‘Bibendum’) due to all the cheese and the wine, the French got this great idea to run up the mountain, to the Castle, as ‘sports activity’ the other day. A mon dieu! 3 kilometers, 600 meters above sea level? Simon, a sportive French gentleman, took the initiative to give us mental support. And we did it! Some of us even without having a proper condition… (wink to our Board!)
Our French hosts saved the best for last: the last day we went for a hike at 1300 meters above sea level, in the middle of the Alps. This resulted in an unforgettable experience and many cliché shots. We rounded up the day with a wine-tasting, and got a last chance to chat with our French friends.
This week impressed me with all of its warmth and niceness. It has been a great chance to meet French students, experience French culture and also to get to know the members of Interactie. I will end this travel story with the common ESTIEM question:
‘So what’s your next destination?’