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Does the Extended Essay really require Extended Ability?

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[Forgive my title's vagueness and potential ranting]

Ok, I'll cut to the chase.

I've looked in a lot of nooks and crannies of the internet, and even explored within my own school's student body, and I'm really astonished to what lengths people are going to complete their EE. One guy I talked to went to Haiti (on a charity trip) to take data on buildings and their respective materials and analyze how it played a role in the Haiti quake of '10. I saw this thread on this very site where someone suggested going to Africa to take a survey. Others I've talked to have done their EEs in dance, or met with college professors to get help on a history IA. 

Unfortunately, my family isn't one of much means, and it's difficult to do such things. A trip anywhere is out of the question. My only extracurricular is the work I do in the library (running a few programs). It's intimidating to see people willing to spend such a massive amount of effort on their EE, and I'm worried that I'll get a bad grade because I'll be unable to compete.

My EE is a french one, since I was born in Switzerland (currently reside in U.S), and I don't know what do to. Google turns up no sample ideas to parody off of, and things I do find require a trip or some sort of very intense cultural knowledge. I know I'm asking something for nothing, but what's the best way to compensate for these differences in resources? What's the best low-resource approach to tackling such a behemoth? Does everyone really do things this big or am I only seeing the extraordinary cases?

Anyway, thanks for reading, I appreciate any help.

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I do believe your school is an anomaly. You most certainly do not need to go anywhere or talk to high ranking professionals to do well in the EE. It's all really about putting the effort into it and sorting through good sources. Trust me, the person who marks your EE will probably not care about any work you put into the EE - it's about the final product. Extracurriculars are not required for your EE, I promise you. Just use the internet and your local library wisely (though I don't know if a library would be helpful for a French EE) and you'll be fine.

P.S. You have to remember, it depends on the subject too. Someone doing a History IA would benefit from talking to a college professor as they'd have more experience, but chances are talking to a professor about French won't be all that helpful (though it may be because I have little idea as to the contents of a French EE). Trust me, you're fine.

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For criteria C: investigation IB wants imaginative range of sources. If you don't have that and get sufficient range of sources it's only one mark off. I don't see how going to great lengths really contribute to any other marks that reading books or going on the Internet can't accomplish. 

A friend (allegedly) wrote a math EE few days ahead final due date and I wrote my math EE over 1-2 months, plus making a video and conducting a survey, and we got the same grade. It is, on the other extreme, an anomaly to score well on an EE if you write it the night before but you certainly should not focus more on the EE than in any of your classes.

As a comparison, I cited 3 equations out of some 1930 textbook that I found on google, a youtube video, and the website that inspired me to write on the topic. Most of my essay was me playing around with some equations to see how they work. My aforementioned friend wrote it on ways to complete tetris. We were never encouraged to spend too long on this because classes were still moving at a fast pace. 

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