With 270 partner universities located in more than 60 countries, IÉSEG School of Management, where I landed for my SEP, is a truly international environment. It boasts of 43% of the students being international and also 84% of the faculty. That is all tough talk. But look closely. Can’t you see the added bonus in the whole deal? Making friends from all over the world!
People come back from foreign trips and wax eloquent about the beauty of the places they visited. But I want to introduce you to my rainbow colored friendship circle I was lucky enough to build during my 3 months sojourn.
- Frida, the Mexican Chicata
My roomie and dearest friend in France. Her spice tolerance levels are a shame to the punishingly hot Mexican cuisine. Quick tip: a morsel of red spicy food is enough to send her off to the netherworld and beyond. Maybe, that is why she is such a sweet cutie pie, tolerating my craziness, and all my constant bitching about the freezing temperatures. And also the coolest person in all of IESEG. Her happy go lucky, incredibly crazy Mexican group of friends always made me feel extremely welcome.
- Gloria Lam, the Chinese Lamb
We hit it off on the induction day itself. Started off with the major doubt of whether it is true that India is teeming with snakes:D. She enlightened me on the current Chinese contemporary culture, the vast difference between how they live in the villages and the cities and also anything and everything Chinese. Also made me realize how authentic Chinese tastes like. And her choice of career is pretty exciting too, she had studied Casino Management and aiming to work in the world-famous casinos of Macau.
- Arafat, the Russian French maestro
This Muscovite is surprisingly an expert in French language and my go-to person for those tough French exercises that the professor used to dump on us as daily doses. Moreover, he is the genius who thought that he could make me feel less miserable about the cold -9 degrees weather by saying that where he comes from -20 degrees is the norm 😛
- Camille, the French mademoiselle
An epitome of academic excellence, her foreign exposure is awe inspiring. She has even had a stint in the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We got to know each other when I helped her in her research article on the Condition of Women in India. An oh so serious person, it was much later that I got to see her crazy side! What followed was discussions about anything and everything under the sun. From the origin of French kisses to the North Korean crisis that she experienced firsthand while she was doing her exchange programme in South Korea, and everything in between. And it is thanks to her that I can now give the perfect French greeting ( a graceful kiss on both cheeks, at the perfect angle).
All of them made me miss home a lot less and at home a lot more. And I learned that beneath all those layers of country, culture, mentality, and whatnots, we are all the same. We go crazy over the same music, lust after the same yummy food, binge watch the same series, a parasite on the same Netflix account, and go around with the same doubts, fears, and dreams!
As the song goes:
The world is a rainbow
With many kinds of people;
It takes all kinds of people
To make the world go round
Now you be you
And I’ll be me
That’s the way we were meant to be…
And that is exactly the way we were meant to be!
Nicy Susan Koshy