Where to begin? Our time here has started at a sprint and INSEAD has swept us up along with it…so many fantastic new impressions, new people and ideas, it is almost a blur…

I really found the welcome week fantastic: partners were allowed to attend most of the introductory sessions meaning I then didn’t have to bug my husband with thousands of questions, plus we got to see some of the head honchos and understand a bit about who is who and what to expect. All good for orientation, especially as already 2 weeks in we are seeing less and less of our partners.

I really have felt welcomed and looked after. There were already several events organised specifically for partners such as visiting the local chateau, wine-tasting and breakfasts (although not at the same time…). Even at the session by the counselling service they told our other halves not to forget about us as they get sucked into the big mire of work hard, play hard. How nice!

Here at Fonty, Valerie Martins Boer is our super friendly partner’s contact person – so helpful for all our little questions. Thanks Valerie!

So what other things have struck me so far? Weirdly the cars with strange number plates for France! There is a deal whereby foreigners must have red & silver number plates and suddenly I feel surrounded by them, a carpark full of them on campus and in town I often see them pass me by. It feels like a city within a city.

As for so many other comments I have seen made, one of the most overwhelming things here is the sheer, mind-blowing combination of so many nationalities from pretty much every continent on earth. Each occasion sees a surprising & different mix – just to give an example for a birthday coffee and cake afternoon last week we were Pakistani, Romanian, Brazilian, Spanish, Israeli, Indian, Paraguayan, Bulgarian and Argentinian… plus me as the sole English person…

It is very much good exercise for the grey matter – I cannot remember the last time I tried to remember so many names from so many cultures…And apologies go to anyone I have already asked 5 times ☺

The INSEAD work hard, play hard attitude is evident. From the off, there have been so many planned and unplanned evening get-togethers. Whether in the town at a big, shared villa or out of town in one of the many beautiful villages or in a country chateau, there are heaps of possibilities to meet more and more people. These parties also take the international theme – so far been invited to an Italian evening and a francophone evening as well as sharing a very Indian influenced lunch (all delicious!)….and this week is our first National Week – anyone for a Korean BBQ? Yum!