by Laurana Thery, Class of 2022
As an academic year comes to an end, and another one starts, it is time to look back and reflect on how much it has brought to us. Just before the summer break, three B1 students decided to share their thoughts on their first year at the ESCP Paris Campus. Follow us on this journey through the experience of the Bachelor in Management (BSc) and discover what it looks like to study surrounded by international students.
Junmei Zhu. The year of first-time experiences
For Junmei Zhu, from Shanghai, the first year at ESCP can be summarized as the year of first-time experiences. Her biggest challenge has been to reach a foreign country and live alone for the first time. She had to quickly adapt to her new environment, both in her daily and student life. She also had the chance to learn the hard way that employees in many offices in Paris speak just a basic level of English. For this reason, communication with locals was the second most challenging stumbling block to overcome. However, the encountered difficulties produced a positive side-effect, since Junmei become more independent and learned some french too.
Being insecure about her English level, Junmei was at first a little scared by the prospect of studying in an entirely English programme and interacting with foreign students. Nonetheless, she successfully passed the ESCP’s English proficiency assessment and also found in her classmates the right support to overcome her shyness in daily use of the language. “I am also so thankful to the professors, who were available at all times and were very pleased to answer my questions. Since I come from a culture where the students have to answer by themselves their own questions, it was quite a nice surprise to see this much involvement and help from their side,” Junmei said.
While studying with multi-cultural students, Junmei went through a lot of cultural shocks, especially about habits and lifestyle differences. “Given that the students are very open-minded, they immediately accepted and respected our differences and took that opportunity to learn more about each other,” she added.
Maria-Fernanda De Alba Gutierrez. The year of international teamwork
A bit different is the story of Maria-Fernanda De Alba Gutierrez from Guanajuato, Mexico, since for her studying abroad is nothing new. After finishing her first year at ESCP Business School, she still thinks that this university is the best fit for her. “I felt academically challenged by the courses all the time. Moreover, I had the great opportunity to work and exchange views with people from all around the world while discovering three marvelous European cities,” Maria-Fernanda told us. She also loved being able to learn new languages while continuously improving the ones she has already learned.
According to Maria-Fernanda, group projects were the main added value of her first year as a Bachelor in Management (BSc) student. “In our teams, we were intentionally mixed with other nationalities,” she said. “This aspect indeed helped me improve my cross-cultural communication skills, my tolerance towards diversity, and made me adapt to new ways of working.” She believes that these are actually the three must-have capabilities to work in an international company, as she aims to.
Charlotte Optyker. The year of sports associations
Our third B1 student, Charlotte Optyker from Garches, in France, also spent a lot of energy in her first year at ESCP, but differently than most of her classmates. She actually trained in two sports: handball and cheerleading. “I loved every moment as a member of those two sports associations. There are many international students from other programmes, which enabled me to expand my circle of friends,” Charlotte explained. Being a member also means taking part in the many events organized by the association, and since ESCP is known for having a very dynamic student life, she has so much to do all the time!
Charlotte also became a Student Ambassador in her first year. This experience brought her closer to the ESCP Staff, especially the Bachelor Marketing Team, as it was the one implementing different kinds of projects, online and offline, with the help of the Ambassadors.
For her first year at ESCP, Charlotte chose the Paris Campus. It is indeed very well located, only a few metro stations away from many good restaurants and bistros. Nevertheless, studying in Paris also means being in the heart of the French culture: museums, exhibitions, and delicious food, as well as strikes, and protests…. Which are, indeed, an important part of the local atmosphere.
Working in groups with international students showed her that everyone has their own daily habits and routine, which are very different. This new awareness pushed her to improve her communication and organization skills as she had to make everyone happy and adapt to complete the group projects.
This first year at the Bachelor in Management (BSc) in Paris has indeed been challenging. If Junmei, Maria-Fernanda, and Charlotte had to describe it in one word, these would respectively be meaningful, self-growth, and associations.
Undeniably, it was a memorable year, full of discoveries that made us grow in order to become a better version of ourselves. After being this delighted the very first year, we can’t help but have higher expectations for the next ones. We are more than ready to see what comes next!