This year, we decided to organize the traditional integration week end for the international students in department of the EURE, the northern region of France located at 2 hours from Paris. At a glance, more than 80 international students (Masters, Bachelors and exchange students) were escorted by the international department along with 3 French students of the Global IT management program, during the 3rd, 4th & 5th of October, 2014. The integration week end is really important to all, as it permits the students to integrate well with each other, mix up in groups, experiencing cultural diversity while having fun. The destination, "Poses" was a surprise to the students until they arrived.
We arrived early on the super foggy Friday morning at the Poses. The base being surrounded by the three giant lakes (also abbreviated as "troislacs") and the Seine river, gives quite an illusion of a remote island. The dense fog of Friday morning even spiced up the adventurous weekend for many of us. Mr. Haddad, director of the international master was the mastermind organizer behind this event. All the occurring and arrangements were preplanned by him, to reduce hectic hazards.
Day 1: Upon arrival, we intentionally formed the students in multiple groups and arranged shared accommodation for all, in order to facilitate the mix up and initiate a bonding between them. To break the ice initially, all the students were summoned in the big ground (which we called the base during this entire weekend) and were asked to introduce themselves to each other through the lottery round. After the ice breaking, the students were organized in small groups. Each group was asked to choose a name and select or elect a leader. Finally each leader had to present his group to the rest of the crowd.
By mid-day all the introduction and teaming was done, the students were hungry and the sun was up as well, tearing apart the thick layer of fog. There were different games and challenges organized during this weekend for all the students and the objective was to get the highest grade on these challenges, creating a good feeling of team spirit between students from different nationalities and for reinforcing the group cohesion. The international students were teamed up in groups of 8 to 10 people per group and there were 8 groups in total. Each of them chose a unique name such as OHLALA, HI5, FIKA, 7/11, PHEONIX, GUNBAE, EPIGMA, MORDOR. The first amongst all the activities was the big game, which consisted of multiple challenges. The big game lasted all the Friday afternoon.
There were 8 stands with 8 different challenges such as the KIM (where the students had to smell taste feel and realize the various objectives), make a pancake, 5 quiz stands on topics related to the French history, global sport, IT, art and global politics, as well as one last stand flag & name creation of the groups. Each stands were managed by one of the members of the international team. The second challenge after the big game was to prepare an eye catcher for the international night, which was on the Saturday evening. As the activities should include all the students, each group had to prepare a special show or perform something in front of the audience.
Day 2: The morning started with a warm and healthy breakfast following by different activities such as cycling, kayak or boating, archery, mini-golf etc. which were at our disposal. Different group went to cycling around the base de loisirs, while some went in the water on the canoe, though plenty of the Epitans chose mini golf and archery. After the lunch break for the rest of the day, students were free to do what they wanted, until the international night begun.
The international night: After so much of planning and rehearsals we were all so excited for the International night party and events. The managing director of EPITA along with Miss Danielle Zenati paid us a surprise visit us and honored us by staying and participating in this event. During this evening, we witnessed a splendid event. The evening was charming, there was music, claps, cheer ups, magic shows, dramas, dance, singings as well as a plenty of funny spectacles made by all the students. By the end of the events the international night party started, music and drinks were on the house!!! For the first time not only the international administration team but also the students witnessed the school's MD Mr. Courtois and Madam Zenati dancing with the students.
Day 3: Sunday, the last day of our trip, we started the morning again with different activities offered by the "base de loisirs" and this time we alternated different students for the activities, so that every student could attempt the most number of activities & experiences possible. Finally after lunch all the teams were summoned for one last time at the base, the winners of the big games and international night were announced and rewarded.
- Mordor was reward by the trophy with the highest grade obtains at the big game
- Epigma and Mordor were reward by the trophy of the best spirit and show during the international party
- Different students were reward and congrats by the largest and imposed personality
Unlike all the good things, the EPITA international weekend also had to come to an end. But was a happy ending rather a beginning of a more splendid and adventurous year. Along with the students we the international team was also happy, and left the place with a smile knowing that another international integration weekend awaits us until the next year.