03 October 2007

French word of the day - Bizutage


Definition: (school slang) hazing, ragging

Beaucoup de grandes écoles en France ne permettent plus le bizutage - Many of France's prestigious universities no longer allow hazing

But evidently the universities in Montpellier still allow bizutage. This whole month since school has begun, the first year university students have been out in the streets experiencing bizutage. One group had the students tied together and one had a can of whipped cream and another had a plate. They had to go up to strangers in the Place Comedie and ask for money to buy their drinks for the night. In exchange, the person would fill up the plate and the stranger got to smash it in the face of whichever of the two students they chose.

Another bizutage had the students...first year medical students I think...stand behind a big piece of painted wood with only their faces showing and the person who "donated to the cause" got to paint their faces.

According to Melanie and Catherine - my french coworkers - it is a rite of passage. A bit intimidating and humiliating, but if you refuse, the rest of the year - and forever long their memory is - you are considered outside the group and a party pooper...although that was my addition as that does not translate well.

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