Monday, December 19, 2005

I wouldn't study in Padova, Italy

Last week, we attended an Italian dinner. It was a very international group, and we all told stories from our universities back home. Most people had a few (drunken) stories, but everyone seemed shocked by our descriptions of Queen’s Engineering Frosh Week.

That is, until we heard about what happens at the University of Padova. They do not face hazing as they enter university, but rather as they’re leaving, about to enter the real world. Each student spends their last six months working on a large thesis project, which they must then present and defend before a group of professors. That’s the easy part.

Immediately upon leaving the presentation, your friends greet you outside the university buildings. You are stripped naked and marched through town to a huge dinner. During the meal, you are fed copious amounts of alcohol. After dinner, your friends and family form a “human tunnel” (two people hold hands, forming an arch) and you must crawl through three times, as your friends beat him.

Still naked, and now quite drunk and bruised, you are marched to the town square. You are given a large sheet of parchment, and must read it aloud to the crowd. On the sheet, friends have recalled every embarrassing story from your university career. As you read, if you make any mistakes, you must drink more. Obviously, this leads to more mistakes… Oh, and your family is all there watching you, and finally finding out what you really did at university.

Finally, you are ready for the real world, and everyone gives you a “friendly” smack on the back.

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