Finals are a blink of an eye away, but my friends and I had been planning to attend this trip ever since the beginning of the semester. Saturday May 4th was already marked with a giant red circle on my calendar because there was no possible way I was going to miss the opportunity to go to the second most-popular theme park in Europe: Europa Park.

Our rendezvous was at 6:00AM sharp in Bulle’s Main Campus. I felt for my fellow colleagues from the Glion Campus that had to wake up at least one whole hour before us since the bus went to pick them up first. Once the buses arrived, we were given a pretty hefty lunch bag and, before I knew it, I was sound asleep once again, only this time my bed was doing 70 km/h on the motorway. Half a dream and two hours later, we arrived to Rust, Germany.

The first thing you can see from the park, miles away even before you come close to the entrance, is the Silver Star rollercoaster. It’s a massive thrill ride with awesome twists, turns, and drops. As the theme park website says: it’s definitely not for the faint hearted. I love rollercoasters, so picture myself fastening my backpack straps, pushing my way off the bus with a giant smile on my face while repeating “I’m ready, I’m ready” only to be received by raindrops on my face. Okay, you know what? Rain happens. It’s fine. I’ll think of it as a taste of the water rides to come. Let’s go.

After a few must-take pictures at the entrance, my friends and I got a hold of a park map, so we decided to devise a strategy that would help us cover the largest amount of rides possible. The plan consisted in lining up for the biggest and meanest rides first, no matter the size of the lines. An imaginary starter’s pistol went off and the original group of 35 GIHE students broke off into several mini groups that scurried into different directions. Startled by the commotion, my group and I stayed back and lined up for the closest visible line of people. The ride was called “Eurosat”. This was a space-themed indoor rollercoaster located inside a giant silver sphere. Of course, we all knew this except for one of my friends who happens to be scared to death of anything that moves faster than a school bus. After thirty minutes of waiting in line, we had successfully talked her into getting on by saying things like it was a kiddie ride and that nothing would happen or that we were too far into the line for her to possibly escape. After the ride was over and she had finished screaming her head off, she gave us one look of disdain and consequently refused to get on any other major ride for the remainder of the trip. I guess we’ll need to work on improving our convincing skills for the future.

The park is divided into several zones: Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, Greece, England, Russia, Holland, Scandinavia, Austria, Spain, Portugal, and Iceland. Our mistake was spending too much time in the Switzerland area. Typical: you leave home for a trip and you end up reminiscing of everything you left behind instead of enjoying what’s in front of you right then and there. Anyway, trust me; you will not finish seeing the park in one day. The amount of things to see is overwhelming.

A few very family-type rides later, we came to face-to-face with the water rides. I’m not exactly a water park connoisseur, but the rides here were hands down the coolest ones I’ve ever been to. Let’s just say that they’re nothing compared to your typical log-flume ride but, of course, if you’re a log-flume type of person, you can find that ride in the park too.

As I mentioned before, 8 hours in the park may seem like a long time, but who’s really keeping track when you’re having fun with your best friends? I checked my phone and, much to our surprise, we only had 45 minutes left and we hadn’t even touched the rollercoasters we originally said we would go to first. Word of advice: stick to the plan. We did a 360-degree turn right where we were standing and ran off in the direction of the closest top-thrill rollercoaster: the Blue Fire Megacoaster. By the way, my amusement park mantra is: “front row or nothing” and, as you can see from our picture, the ride was far from awesome, it was amazing and well worth the wait to be on the front row seats. Sadly, that left us with no time for the other rides.

So, to sum up the lessons learned today: effective convincing skills, time management and strategic thinking. These are some of the basic skills that any entrepreneurial and leading world-class student out there should not only apply in classrooms, but also when going to unbelievable school excursions such as this one. Never miss out on a chance to have fun! Remember to always check your email as well as the bulletin boards for the dates of the next excursions, and may the weather be with you!

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Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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