I’ve had an interesting conversation with some classmates and thought I should post it here.
At INSEAD, I’ve noticed that where you spend your first two periods (4 months) will distinguish you for the rest of your time here. Firstly, people tend to be closer to other people they’ve spent their early days with. Also, people tend to be associated with the characteristics of the campus. Singapore campus people are supposed to be laid back, casual, island-hoppers. Fonty people are supposed to be more hardworking and competitive. Of course, as with all stereotypes, not everyone fits the bill.
What I didn’t expect was that those from the Singapore campus are called ‘Singaporeans’ - whether they really are citizens or not. I know it is fairly easy for top foreign talent to get Permanent Resident status in Singapore, but not that easy!
So, when I met a few Fonty people for the first time here in Fonty, the conversation ended up something like this.
Fonty person: Hi! Where are you from?
Fonty person: I know, you’re from the Singapore campus. But where are you from, originally?
It was amusing. As I related this story to another Fonty classmate who I met on the Singapore campus (i.e. a fellow exchanger), he said, “Funny how there’s a name for the Singapore campus people (i.e. “Singaporeans”) but the Fonty people aren’t called French.”
While this is true, I have heard fellow ‘Singaporeans’ call the other group various Fonty-related names, usually in relation to how they seem so much more hardworking and volunteer their opinions more readily in class. I myself call them ‘Fontysiders’.
Of course, years from now, we may forget these little nuances and distinguish ourselves based on graduating class. With more time, we may simply remember ourselves as INSEADers. And that’s all that matters.