When I was in high school and college my parents hosted foreign exchange students from Europe, South America and Ukraine. The kids that came were ages 16-17 and they often asked us, "do you guys have any parties here?"
Of course we had parties!
In high school we would invite a bunch of friends over, order pizza, watch movies or play games and we'd "have a party", that's what they were talking about... right?
Well not exactly.
What I didn't understand then but do now is in Europe (and maybe other parts of the world) there are companies that schedule and throw a 'parties'. They rent a venue, advertise, and the people come.
Think of is as a one-time pop-up dance club.
In the US there are dance clubs but these are typically established venues, which require a liquor license, inspections from the fire department and other tedious but necessary requirements to house several hundred people.
It is also legal for kids starting at the age of 16 to drink beer and wine in other parts of the world. My group of friends wasn't into drinking or drugs. I only realized there were high school parties with alcohol and drugs after I went to university.
What a culture shock for kids coming to the US, especially the midwest!
Suffice it to say, the midwest did not have any similar type of party and our poor students had to 'waste' a year of good party time hanging out in corn fields or in someone's basement.
I don't go out to dance clubs at all anymore but the other weekend I went to an Ü30 party.
For all my American readers, an Ü30 party is short for über 30. Anyone wanting to get into this party has to be over 30 years old.
There is nothing more refreshing then watching a bunch of über 30-somethings shaking their butts on the dance floor. It's awesome because you don't have to deal with kids 16-29 and all their adolescent hormones raging and teen-age dramas.
It has to bring in some serious cash too, each person pays 25 CHF ($25) to go through the door. Then drinks, even water and soda start at 5 CHF. They staffed probably 15 people in total, door, coat check, two bars and floaters. I would guess easily 300 people were there, maybe more, coming and going over the course of the night. The party starts at 8pm and ends at 3am.
Europe also has bars and dance clubs which are similar in most respects to the US bars and dance clubs. But I think the US doesn't have really the equivalent to the EU parties.
Living in the US? Are there pop-up parties where you are from?
Tell me about it in the comments below!
If you are interested in learning more about the differences between the US and Europe head on over to my podcast, one life as an expat to listen to episodes or ask questions.