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Life around the world

Chile's unusual university initiation

by : 
ChloeBlogger

Are you planning to go to university? What do you think your responsibilities will be in the first few weeks? Perhaps you will be choosing the classes you want to take, finding accommodation and enrolling in other activities. However, if you go to university in Chile there is something extra you must do before you can begin …

An essential part of starting university in Chile is the mechoneo. Mechoneo is an ancient university tradition here. Students beginning their first year at university are 'welcomed' by the older university students. They are taken from their classrooms on an unknown day and blindfolded. The older students rip their clothes, cut their hair, and cover them in raw eggs and other disgusting things. They are then taken to a place such as a swimming pool filled with horrible things such as old fruit, vegetables, meat and fish from the markets. They have to do games and dares and challenges for a whole day, which may include some really revolting things like kissing a dead fish!

The 'queen mechona' and 'king mechon' are chosen that day. This will be based on how well the students do the activities, and many students try very hard as they want to be king or queen for the year. The older students then take away the younger students’ things (their backpacks, money, phone, etc.) and tell them they must go out onto the street and ask people for money. They will need to bring back a certain amount of money (e.g. 15,000 pesos per person, or around 20 dollars) in order to be given their things back. This money is then used to have a massive welcome party in the night time.

During the month of March it is common to see new university students all around town wearing ripped-up, dirty clothes and covered in paint and mess. But the mechoneo is increasingly a source of controversy and debate. Some students see it as an important tradition and a unique experience that helps new arrivals get to know everyone, while others find it degrading and humiliating, like a form of bullying. There have been campaigns to ban or soften it in favour of more 'positive welcomes', and student organisations in some universities have voted to end the mechoneo completely. From what I've seen on the streets, though, for now the tradition is still very much alive!

Discussion

What's your opinion of the mechoneo? Do you think it sounds fun or frightening?

Comments

Sad_Heisenberg's picture
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Sad_Heisenberg 3 September, 2021 - 16:49

Now, this one is just right stupid, why anybody would agree to do this?, things like kissing a fish or been wash with fruit and vegetables, what does any of those activities apport to your career in the university? is just embarrasing.

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Optimus17's picture
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Optimus17 3 September, 2021 - 16:48

what I think, must be a very unpleasant time for new students, as they tear your clothes, cut your hair, and make you beg for money on the street. I think it is one of the most unpleasant moments for these people.

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Crys's picture
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Crys 3 September, 2021 - 16:43

BENJA M:
It seems to me that the tradition of the mechoneo is partly good, because it carries with it a long history, but at times the celebration is very violent or invasive

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Optimus17's picture
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Optimus17 3 September, 2021 - 16:40

I think it must be stressful to go through that situation, since having your hair cut, your clothes torn, and your belongings taken away is not at all pleasant, especially if you are new to the place.

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Crys's picture
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Crys 3 September, 2021 - 16:40

in my opinion the tradition of the mechoneo is very invasive and not all people find it funny.
i think it a good idea to change this tradition a bit

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wmsmp's picture
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wmsmp 3 September, 2021 - 16:36

In my opinion, the "mechoneo" is a horrible tradition which more than welcoming is degrading to the fresh students. That's why I believe it would be for the best to replace it for a nicer tradition because apart from all the unpleasant things they do and make you do, it creates a traumatic experience when it's supposed to be the contrary, since entering the university is itself an achievement.

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monselizhe 3 September, 2021 - 16:34

According to my point of view, mechoneo is a locking is an unnecessary ritual that can lead to fatal thing, humiliation is something that university students should not go throuh. it seems to me that the situation generates conflicts and not union.

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iiRiiSsSsS's picture
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iiRiiSsSsS 3 September, 2021 - 16:18

I think it's kind of fun on the one hand because it's a new experience and it's been going on for many years, but on the other hand it's kind of invasive because they take your belongings and make you do very gross things, but many people have had different experiences, both good and bad.
Due to the pandemic of 2019, it has not been possible to continue with the so-called "mechoneos", since the vast majority of universities have had to continue with online classes, which makes it difficult to gather people for this "welcome".

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valderrama's picture
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valderrama 3 September, 2021 - 16:17

I think that this tradition is terrible,because a lot of people hate it, but people still do it every year to the most new students. And they cant refuse, since it is a tradition
I would´nt do it to anyone, and of course, i dont want that anybody do this to me

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Berrios's picture
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Berrios 2 September, 2021 - 23:04

If you ask me personally, about mechoneo I don't like this tradition very much and If i could change it i would make it a little less "extreme".

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vicho 1 September, 2021 - 17:13

I think it is something very traditional and surprising, a "welcome" activity is very fun for other courses to do this type of activity but at the same time it can transform into something horrible when the limit of what is done is exceeded

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Esteban's picture
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Esteban 1 September, 2021 - 17:03

Of my point of view "Mechoneo" is a tradition very controversial but the people who pass are the ones who are wrong but I think is a bad activity when it causes injured.

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Bestekkolas 1 September, 2021 - 17:00

In my opinion, it seems to me a tradition that should not be done, because in the end people are traumatized and will not want to go to university after that, it is practically bullying and they hide it as a "ritual", for me, a ritual absurd.

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renaelcoringa 1 September, 2021 - 17:00

The mechoneo is a very abrupt university tradition that annoys and humiliates the first year of university I do not disagree with it and hopefully they will change

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rodriguez 1 September, 2021 - 04:32

I think that this tradition that exists in Chile when entering the universities became too extreme over the years, it has been aggravated if it is true that some take well the fact that they have to do those challenges and activities that require them but, I do not agree with this, I think it is humiliating and disgusting, if I think that this kind of tradition should exist and welcome new people but in another way less degrading and forced, I think they should really make me illusion. have fun and be a special welcome.

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Catalina 1 September, 2021 - 03:53

In my opinion the mechoneo is something unique since in Chile it is a tradition to do it, maybe some people are bothered by the fact that they throw raw eggs at you, etc. but if you see it in a positive way it is a unique and fun experience. But also if it is already too much, people who disagree could change it for something that they do not think is to ridicule them

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Jaoh 1 September, 2021 - 02:14

In my opinion, what is done in universities is already a tradition that has been done for a long time and I think it will continue to be done for a long time, there are some people who think that this is bulling new students.

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Nihilanth's picture
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Nihilanth 1 September, 2021 - 01:27

I think that the way in how you see mechoneo depends on the person, some may find it a fun thing to do while others, like me, find that is a stupid and frightening.

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Senbo 1 September, 2021 - 01:25

Personally, I don't like`this "tradition", because it makes a fool of several new people in the universities, damaging their self-esteem or the desire to attend the aforementioned university, It sounds very frigthening for me

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Feliponsio725 31 August, 2021 - 23:21

The mechoneo theme seems wrong to me, which is supposedly a tradition for the first year but it is an umillasion (bulling) in front of all the people at the university and that per me have in the universities, such as kissing a pig's cave or that you They tear up your clothes and tell you to go find money to get your clothes back and if you don't comply with what they say they bother you all year long

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Daninii 31 August, 2021 - 22:00

I personally do not approve of the mechoneo in Chile, instead of a unique "initiation" it seems to me a cruel and mocking practice against new students in university careers, and, as stated in the text, I would opt for a more positive, healthy and fun welcome for all. At present, I do not know if it is still practiced, but I hope that by the time I enter higher education this will not be repeated.

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kvvvmy 31 August, 2021 - 00:15

I don't like the mechoneo, I feel it's such a frightening tradition on universities and i wouldn't like to experience this, I would prefer have other type of welcome to the university celebration but not this because with the mechoneo the older students just make fun of you, and I agree when it says that mechoneo it's like a form of bullying.

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Nicolas 30 August, 2021 - 22:46

In my opinion I think that beyond a tradition it is for me considered a kind of bulling since they dirty and tear your clothes, they also take your things and then take you out to the street to be humiliated in front of everyone asking for money . This for me should be eliminated as it ruins your experience of going to college and you are left in fear that they will do it again.

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fast_and_curious 8 July, 2020 - 07:30

In my view, this tradition is totally absurd that causes students to lower their self-esteem.
This way of treating other humans is inhumane, students join universities in order to grow and learn. This treatment would have a bad impact on their personalities and they would tend to learn negativity and a sense of revenge as, they would think it is right to bully freshers because they were treated the same way.
This act sounds frightening because, the future of a country majorly relies on the youth of the country. The youth learning this kind of behaviour is being lead towards the downfall of the nation.

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SLMT 16 June, 2017 - 08:50

I also think this kind of fresher welcome is bad.It's just like bullying.If I have to attend this kind of party,it will be remained as nightmare in my life.I don't dare to ask money to absolutely strangers.I also don't like getting rip .Seniors are like hooligans. It's absolutely obey human rights. This kind of party must be banned in Chile.I don't want students's first day at university change into nightmare.

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Sergelen 6 May, 2017 - 06:05

This is so wrong, because there is no human rights. All people must be equal rights.

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