As a Chinese national who grew up in the global city of Dubai, Jiayin Cai is no stranger to multiculturalism. Yet, when she first stepped into the ESSEC Asia-Pacific campus in 2021, she was still pleasantly surprised at how diverse the environment is.

“I could hear people speaking in different languages as they shared about their personal experiences from their hometowns, travels, and hobbies,” she adds: “It made me realize that socializing and networking ESSEC Asia-Pacific would be far more interesting than I expected!”

To her and her classmates from the Global Bachelor of Business Administration (GBBA)—many of whom choose ESSEC Business School for its international exposure—the benefits of being in such a diverse community make the ESSEC Asia-Pacific experience stand out.

Experiencing New Cultures

This is first because, for those seeking international exposure, simply being part of a diverse community offers opportunities for cultural exchange.

For example, living with housemates from France has given Jiayin a glimpse of what life in France could be like.

“I can say for sure that my French skills have improved tremendously from speaking to my housemates on a day-to-day basis,” she declares, adding that being effectively multilingual will no doubt be helpful when she does an exchange in France.

As she also hopes to work in an international environment, her communication skills benefit from ESSEC’s requirement that students be fluent in English and French and an additional third language.

Julia Isabella Wunderlich, who comes from Germany, agrees, sharing that she hopes being at ESSEC can help her improve her French and Italian.

She adds that besides improving communication, a significant benefit of campus diversity is that she can find out about her classmates’ different perspectives.

“Just meeting with these people from different backgrounds has already made me more open-minded,” she explains.

Cultural Activities on Campus

Significantly, ESSEC encourages cultural exchange by bringing the community together to celebrate occasions like Chinese New Year and the Hindu festival, Deepavali, so they may learn more about regional traditions.

In 2022, the school held a Global Village for students to share about their different countries and traditions—giving students a platform to bond and learn more about the cultures they may be part of.

GBBA students have also found that the diversity translates to a broader range of co-curricular activities and clubs, covering everything from arts and sports to culture and professional development.

Julia, who represented Germany at the Global Village, for instance, has learned volumes about Asian culture through the school’s Foodie’s Club—which gathers students to try the cuisines of different cultures—and is working with her classmates to start a tennis club as well.

Enhanced Classroom Learning

The benefits also translate within the classroom, as ESSEC’s focus on group work ensures students go beyond learning about different cultures to collaborate with them.

“I believe having this cultural awareness is important for my career in the globalized world,” South Korean student Eun Li Seo shares, recalling that within just her first few months of school, she already got to work with classmates from France, China, America, India, Indonesia, Russia, and even Morocco.

“It was very educational to interact with people from such different cultures, and exchanging opinions with different people has made our work more creative and innovative,” she affirms.

The diversity can also contribute to deepening one’s understanding of familiar topics, Indonesian student Priscilla Ayleen chimes in.

Citing an example from her geopolitics class, she explains: “As someone with no prior exposure to geopolitics, I was enlightened when others in the class were able to ask questions or make points to further the discussion and allow me to see the subject from different perspectives.”

Looking back on her decision to come to ESSEC Asia-Pacific and her concerns about adapting to a new country, Priscilla muses that the diversity of subjects offered, campus activities, and the student body have made the journey worthwhile.

Exchange programs and internships overseas are still in the works, but for now, she declares. “I love the student life here at ESSEC Asia-Pacific.”