Aix-en-Provence is a university town with a large, vibrant student population. Among the many advantages of the AUCP’s location in Aix is its proximity to one of France’s most prestigious and oldest engineering universities, l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers (ENSAM). The Aix campus, founded in 1843, is right across the street from the AUCP and is home to 540 bright and dynamic French college students.
The ENSAM student body hosts three galas a year: le Bal du Bapts in December, le Bal des 508 in March and la Nuit des 100 jours in May. These traditional galas are an important part of student culture in Aix. Students publicize the extravagant soirées at all of the local universities and turnout is often in the thousands!
Last Saturday, le Bal des 508 made its mark on student nightlife in Aix and on AUCP students, who participated alongside their language partners, many of whom are currently enrolled at ENSAM.
The Bal des 508 takes place during the Carnaval of Aix. It is traditionally a costume ball with a designated theme. This year’s Circus theme inspired AUCP students to dress up as tightrope walkers, clowns, mimes and more.
“I went disguised as a clown…not surprisingly I ended up wearing the same exact costume as a bunch of other people because everyone was dressed up!! The gala was crazy marvelous. There were lots of different kinds of music: rock, EDM and even hip hop. There were a ton of people, it really shows the extent of the student community here in Aix. I loved it.“ – Jermaine Stewart-Webb, Grinnell College
The name – “le Bal des 508” – is a result of the date, exactly 508 days before second year students graduate. It is also when they pass the torch of gala organization to their first year counterparts. One of the largest soirées of the year, this year’s Ball was no disappointment. With three party areas and large dance floors, numerous DJs and live bands, the gala drew over 2000 students dressed to the nines.
For AUCP students, le Bal was yet another opportunity for immersion and interaction with French culture. And as this semester draws to an end, students will be able to reflect on the many ways they have been able to live with the like the French. Having a ball, was one of them !
More photos of the circus-themed evening, below…
Photos from the Equipe de Gala des Arts & Métiers d’Aix, Pi Photographie & Night Colors Photographie
AUCP students live with and like the French at the AUCP. Language partners are an integral part of student immersion, giving AUCP students a direct access to French student life. But that’s not all! Students have multiple opportunities to meet and interact with all walks of French life, with an individual placement homestay, community service, personal interest activity or club, ongoing training in intercultural competence and university coursework in French. To learn more about student immersion and interaction with the French host community, visit the Immersion section of the AUCP website.