ESSEC Business School (Paris, France)

Susan Zhou is a fourth-year student undertaking the Bachelor of Commerce (International) program. She is majoring in Accounting and Finance. She went on exchange during September 2018 – July 2019 to fulfil the one-year exchange requirement in her degree.

Interviewed and Edited by Megan Chen

The one and only Eiffel Tower!

France is a really romantic place to visit. Was there something that drew you to this magical country?

I studied the French language as a minor under my international study component. So, I really wanted to be fully exposed to a French-speaking environment and France is the perfect place to go! Also, I did some research about Paris before choosing the destination and Paris seemed to be a very romantic and classy city. It’s full of museums, art galleries and historical attractions. A lot to explore!

Impressionist Claude Monet’s Garden

What accommodation would you recommend?

I would recommend student accommodation provided by the university. It’s spacious, affordable and safe. It will be easier for you to meet new friends, especially as an exchange student. The surroundings are convenient and it has most of facilities like the post office, cinema, supermarkets, bakeries and etc.  Although it’s a bit far from the centre of Paris, it is definitely helpful when you have 8AM morning classes.

A Parisian café on the corner of the street

How was the teaching style different compared to UNSW?

The quality of courses varies significant and really depends on the professor. At ESSEC, the overall course structure is more career-driven and practical. Each course consists of mostly presentations and case studies.

A small town in France

Were there any language requirements that you had to pass?

No. They offer two tracks for local students as well as exchange students: English stream and French stream.

Escargot – a Classic French dish.

What is one thing that a future exchange student should participate in at your university?

Join a society called “Mel Tessec”. They are specifically there to support exchange students. They hold events all year round, including welcome events, short trips to cities or countries nearby, international food night and other social events. Also, go to their career fair – very high class that most of the prominent global firms in the finance and consulting industry will attend.

A short trip organised by a university student society

What are some tips for managing weekly expenses? 

Buy your groceries from supermarkets instead of eating out. Fruits and vegetables are really cheap in France.

It’s hard to describe how much love French people have for cheese

What are three final tips you would give to someone embarking on their exchange journey?

1. Try new things!

2. Explore Paris as much as you can because there is so much to see.

3. Be careful of your belongings, especially your phone.

Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity paragliding in Ann

Love Paris? How about reading about the student experience at Maastricht University in the Netherlands?

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