I had moved from Paris to Fontainebleau mid-July, yet it took me two whole weeks before my first real day as a Fonty resident. First of all because the moving was quite hectic, as I did five trips between my old flat and my new one in just four days and with multiple means of transportation: own car, insurance provided car – as my car broke down, rented car – as the insurance car was only provided for two days, and best of all public transportation. Consequently in this agitation I didn’t think much about what it meant to leave “Les Champs Elysées” for “rue de la Paroisse”. And without even unpacking I flew to Sicily for some well deserved sun, and unforeseen 40°.
After getting back and unpacking for what seemed like an eternity, my first day as a resident finally started and here’s how it went: first “grasse mat” aka sleeping till ten (I was told to recharge my batteries fully before P1/P2), then coffee (as we don’t need to change everything at once), followed by a 6km run (as some things need to change after all). I would like to insist on this 3rd activity and this is not to brag, but just 5 minutes in and Fonty was already getting the best of me (I must admit that I had bought new running shoes in May and had never worn them before…). More then that I got to jog in the gardens of the Fontainebleau Castle, which I have discovered are open to the public for free. To be honest now I am a little worried that I won’t find excuses so easily in the future not to go for a run, whereas in Paris it was so easy (the park is too far away and over-crowded, the air is polluted anyways etc.)
And now we get to the best part: I received a message on WhatsApp from another ’18J, having just arrived in Fonty. I could have sent that message myself, but I meant to catch up with all the CDC and PDLP pre-work for INSEAD, and not get distracted. Since procrastination is king, I agreed to meet him and his friend visiting from NY. We had a nice chat, he used to work as a consultant and gave me precious insights, as I am considering becoming one myself. But somewhere in the middle of the conversation I had an AHA moment, and said to myself: this is why I chose INSEAD! And the reason is quite simple: after having worked for 6 years in France in a 100% french environment (I am Romanian), I longed for a place where I wouldn’t be the “different” one anymore. In Spanish MBAs, over 70% of the students are Spanish, in the US over 50% are American, whereas in INSEAD French students make up for only 8%. And this is why I joined INSEAD, so that as a Romanian living in France I could have a meaningful conversation with an Indian, brought up in Dubai, and living in the US, and most of all so that we can be “different” together.