|I'm a member of Mensa and one feature of the Mensa organization is very interesting to me: a hosting program for visitors. Although I have sent many requests, I got few responses. But someone in DC raised her hand to host me. Thanks Stephanie! I also accompanied her to a local event last night.|
What is Mensa? Mensa is an
international organization regrouping people with a specific
characteristic. Our characteristic is to have a IQ way superior to
the average. The admission requirement is to be amongst the top 2%
of the population (in other words, be smarter than at least 98% of
There is the international organization
based in London (where it was founded), and in most countries, there
is a national organization to regulate membership. People pay their
dues to their national organization. In my case, I was member of
Mensa Canada for about a decade... and due to my new lifestyle, I
transferred my membership directly to the international level.
At the international and national
levels, the role of the organization is to promote a good
identification of the gifted kids and their education in a stimulated
environment, helping to promote the recognition of intelligence as a
benefit and stop discrimination where it exists.
At local and regional level, the
organization is mostly a social network to meet other people like
ourselves, who might have encountered problems like we did. We act
as a support network and a stimulating exchange environment where we
can freely discuss of any subject. The fact of being admitted
within Mensa can have different effects on people. For most people,
it's just an acknowledgement of what they already knew.
Mensans are usually very open-minded
and can easily accept divergent point of views. Believe me, you need
to attend a few Mensa discussions events to realize the proverb
'Great minds think alike' isn't true at all... but discussion and
debates are fun when done in respect. It's also much more interesting
to play play intelligence-oriented board games with other Mensans,
brings the game to another level.
But we're not an elitist club. Most of
us don't see us as superior to the other 98%, for us superior
intelligence is just a part of who we are... not much more important
than having blue eyes or very large feet. It's not because we have a
superior IQ that we all use that potential in our work or life.
You'll find amongst Mensans people from all ages, all races, all
faiths, all types of workers. Some are rich, some are poor. It's
like having an association of people with blue eyes, our
characteristic is not visible to the naked eye.
One part of Mensa is the Service for
Information, Guidance, and Hospitality to Travellers (SIGHT). That
is a structure that allows travelling members to be in contact with
the local members, to meet and possibly stay at a local member's
place instead of going to the hotel, promoting exchanges between
members. In Canada and USA, the program is mostly geared to the
'Information' and 'Guidance' parts, not many are willing to host
travellers. I hope it will be more opened in other countries.
Nonetheless, I just had my first SIGHT
experience by staying with a host in DC, for 3 nights. Stephanie was
very generous and kind. She hosts visitors like me a few times a
year normally, being inside a structure like Mensa (where our
requests for hosting go through SIGHT coordinators) make her more
comfortable than other systems like Couchsurfing... plus it has the
benefit of meeting like-minded people.
She was going to a local event at a
member's house in Virginia (just south of DC). There were maybe
30 to 35 people there. Our host Andrew had prepared tons of food,
covering to large tables, plus the wine, punch, beer, sodas, etc.
Like most Mensa events, it's pretty informal. It was just a little
cocktail buffet where we grabbed food and chatted with other people,
mostly standing up, then went dig into another dish, etc. I met lots
of interesting people... and since I was the newest face around, I
was asked lots of questions... especially after I began taking about
my new lifestyle. I met a couple who live part of the year in
Mexico... and I look forward to meet them again in November at their
If you have any kind of questions about
Mensa, don't hesitate to ask me. You can do so here in the comments
section or you can write me privately.