Cultural experiences and funny musings by two twenty-somethings living abroad
So, this year, I am not anymore in the land of Bratwurst and Bier but instead I have arrived in Frogland to do my internship at HEC business school.
It seems, that the French are quite a sporty nation (in fact, it is even obligatory for them to do sport when they study here). And of course, if you can’t beat them, you join them. This motto saw me climbing 41 kilometres into a mountainous wilderness with 24 other students. An experience I will never forget.
My fitness levels are that of a toad. So for me, it was a challenge and a half! In fact, me walking at my maximum speed, huffing and puffing, I was pretty much a mile behind the others! When we got to our rest points, I would invariably question everyone “how can you RUN up mountains?” There was even a guy there who would light up a cigarette at each stop point, later I found out that he is in fact a “non-smoker” and smoked only to give himself more of a challenge apparently..
However, the views and the trip itself were just amazing! We were in fact near to the Swiss and Italian borders and at 2300 metres high. We walked (or crawled in my case) through the beautiful Vanoise national park and then through to Val d’Isere. Beautiful lakes, wildlife, and mountain tops greeted us at each turn and it really was very mesmerising to take it all in.
In the evening, we stayed in a little log cabin with wine, rice and some good card games! The others were very keen on doing a bit of meditation/yoga as well! The next day though, it was time to descend. Now this is not for the faint hearted! Basically, you should never look down! Seeing a huge drop in front of me and walking on tumbling rocks, my heart was in my mouth pretty much the whole time it took me to get down! However, it really is mind over matter and it is never too late to conquer your fears! In fact, when there is no choice, you are a lot stronger and braver than you think! It was not only a stimulating, physical challenge for me but a very good mental lesson as well!
So that was my first experience of the French Alps! A beautiful place, made even more beautiful by the great company!