When looking for an exchange program, Indian national Sagarika Majumdar was eager for a “fresh and novel” experience in a country that would allow her to hone her proficiency in French. This led her to Ontario, Canada, for a year-long exchange at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University. Midway through her time in Canada, she shares the highlights of her experience.

What’s it like living in Canada?

I love it here! Canada has beautiful scenery, many places to travel to, and many things to do. Queen’s University is located in Kingston, a city with great charm and character.

Although it’s a small university town, it’s mid-way between major cities like Toronto and Montreal, making it easy to travel to those places.

It took me some time to adapt to the cold, but I’ve gotten good at layering up, and I’m lucky to be staying close to campus and downtown.

I’ve also been blessed with incredible housemates—five are Canadian and one—who have helped me settle in comfortably.

How is school different from ESSEC?

While at ESSEC, classes last longer and are held once a week per module, here, classes are held twice a week but for a shorter duration.

I’m taking modules on strategy, marketing, sustainability, and data analytics, and there are a lot of graded assignments throughout the semester that require consistent effort.

Did your time at ESSEC help you prepare for this exchange?

ESSEC has trained me to manage time well. Our number of presentations at ESSEC has also made me a confident and clear orator, and I’ve received positive feedback on my presentations!

In addition, as ESSEC is a multicultural school, I’ve broadened my understanding of cultural nuances and improved my communication skills and fluency, all of which have made me a more effective team player.

These have been valuable assets while on exchange.

Tell us about some new experiences you’ve had.

It is led in Montreal, Toronto, and Niagara Falls. I’ve also enjoyed trying new food like poutine and BeaverTails—fried dough with sweet toppings—and classic North American burgers and hot dogs.

What are your best memories so far?

Visiting Niagara Falls and seeing the sheer amount of water up close was definitely some of the most fun I’ve had and a sight I won’t ever forget!

Another good memory was when friends from different countries organized a potluck, and we prepared food from our cultures.

We had items from Spain, the Netherlands, Belgium, India, and France.

How has your experience so far changed you?

Needing to build connections from scratch has taught me to network and communicate better. I’ve also gained valuable insights and received professional advice from my professors.

Overall, I believe my exchange has been a journey of discovery—it has helped me better understand myself and my academic, personal, and professional goals.

I think the people you meet and the places you explore can change your life, and I look forward to seeing what the new year brings for me in Canada!