Santiago Martin, class of 2025, was born and raised in Washington, DC. His unique cultural background and upbringing set the stage for a fascinating journey as he pursued his education at a French Lycée. His experiences at ESILV reflect the importance of a supportive academic environment, the resilience needed to adapt to new cultures, and the value of multilingualism in fostering diverse connections.
Coming from Mexican-French parents, Santiago embarks on the next phase of his journey, inspiring those considering the path less travelled in pursuit of a fulfilling and enriching education abroad.
A close-up of Santiago’s experiences, motivations, challenges, and triumphs as an international student studying at ESILV in Paris.
ESILV’s Influence on Reputation and Infrastructure
For Santiago, the decision to continue his education in France was driven by a desire for change and the appeal of a more comprehensive university experience.
Having spent 18 years in the French schooling system, Santiago sought a departure from the traditional setting of smaller classrooms and neighbourhoods. ESILV, with its impressive infrastructure, large campus, and diverse facilities like a music studio, gym, Dojo, and fabrication lab, captured Santiago’s attention, offering him a genuine university experience that resonated with his expectations.
Santiago emphasized the importance of ESILV’s reputation in influencing his decision to study there. The school’s ranking and recognition in France and Europe played a significant role in assuring him of the quality of education he would receive.
However, the state-of-the-art campus and facilities ultimately sealed the deal for Santiago, dispelling any concerns he may have had about a tiny, traditional setting.
Overcoming Challenges and Adapting to a New Culture
While Santiago’s French background provided a foundation, adapting to life in Paris presented its challenges.
The initial settling period was compounded by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, limiting opportunities for socialization and integration. Despite these hurdles, Santiago overcame isolation and gradually integrated into French culture.
His language skills improved, and he now feels confident participating in conversations and appreciating the nuances of humour and cultural differences.
Life at ESILV and the Importance of Integration
Santiago commended the efforts of ESILV, especially ESN DeVinci, the association in charge of welcoming international students to De VInci Higher Education schools, fostering a welcoming environment for international students.
Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, he acknowledged the positive impact of these initiatives, emphasizing the importance of feeling part of a community.
Santiago’s involvement in Music Mix, the Music Association at ESILV, further enriched his social experience, allowing him to build connections across different schools and program years.
Mastering Engineering and the Power of Multilingualism
In his first year of the Master’s cycle, Santiago is immersed in data science and AI.
He appreciates the applied nature of his classes and the autonomy afforded to students. Santiago also reflected on the value of speaking three languages – English, French, and Spanish – in his professional and personal life.
Multilingualism, he believes, opens doors to diverse friendships and cultural experiences.
Looking Ahead: Internships and Future Choices
As Santiago completes his studies, he is gearing up for two internships, potentially one in the United States.
The internships will serve as a litmus test for his future career choices, allowing him to gauge work-life balance and job satisfaction. Santiago remains open-minded about his future, considering the possibility of working in the U.S. or Europe based on his experiences and preferences.
Balancing Challenges and Satisfaction as an International Student
A poignant message about pursuing happiness through regular challenges: He advocates for finding the delicate balance between engaging tasks that keep one busy and the satisfaction derived from overcoming them.
Santiago encourages individuals to embrace challenges, cultivate self-satisfaction, and cherish the meaningful connections made.