If you’re a student at ESEI, you’ll definitely know Lucas Helaouet. He’s our enthusiastic Marketing and Communications coordinator (and no, he didn’t write this article). Always there for our students and staff, his enthusiasm is infectious as is his entrepreneurial spirit.
But perhaps you didn’t that Lucas is also an alumnus of the Master’s in Marketing and Communication programme here.
We decided to talk to Lucas about his experiences studying at ESEI and how it was coming from France to live, study and work in Barcelona.
You came directly from a French village in the pyrenees. How was it landing in Barcelona?
Well, it was very different! Although I’m originally from a town of 60,000, I’d been living in a 600-person village for many years. It’s the sort of place where you know everyone and you see the same people every day. Of course that can be nice and you form really good friendships – but quite a contrast to Barcelona.
I first came here with the opportunity to do an internship at ESEI. When I landed, Barcelona didn’t look like a city – it was so big it looked like a whole country! But that was exciting for me.
It’s an interesting place to base yourself because there are lots of job opportunities and the social aspect (especially compared to my village) was quite eye-opening. The people you meet have different backgrounds, jobs, perspectives on life – and often come from a different environment too.
What would you say to someone thinking of coming to live here from another country?
In terms of advice for students thinking of coming to live here, I would say try not to live with people from your own country.
A lot of people make this mistake. While it’s probably quite comforting and you make good friends, you miss out on lots of other good things – like learning the language and socialising with people who might do things differently to you. If you’re living in a new place, it’s definitely important to mix with locals and other international people – and never say no to opportunities!
Can you take us through how you came to intern and work at ESEI?
I was finishing my degree in a professional school in France and I took part in a programme from Erasmus called Leonardo da Vinci.
I had the choice: stay in France and look for a job, or go to any European city and do an internship for six months. One of my best friends was here in Barcelona already and as it’s quite close to my family in France, I thought why not? It was a good opportunity for me to do something different.
I really enjoyed the internship and after ESEI decided to keep me on. That then led to an offer to take the Master’s in Marketing and Communications – which was a great chance for me to further my career and take on a new role in the school.
What type of student were you?
At school, I wasn’t the type of student who would do a master’s. I finished a professional technical Baccalaureate in HR – and I wasn’t planning to go on and study at university.
My technical school gave me the chance to work one week and study one week alternately throughout the year, for two years. This was a really nice way of doing things for me and I was pretty content to step right into the workplace after I had qualified.
But once I’d started working at ESEI and saw the possibilities that higher education offered, I began to change my mind. I wasn’t really a person who liked to study – but I definitely became one thanks to ESEI and the lecturers on my master’s course.
What were your top three moments from your course?
- Graduation. I wasn’t a great student when I was younger. So telling my family to come to my graduation ceremony – something that celebrated me completing a degree in another language – was quite a big thing for me!
- Though this isn’t a specific moment, I’d say it was when my classmates became friends – by that I mean, we were more than just classmates and we enjoyed hanging out socially too.
- My thesis defense was another big moment for me. It took a lot of preparation. It was something I’d never done before, so I had doubts and even made mistakes, but it was also very rewarding. We worked on the project for the whole year, made all the decisions ourselves, and then at the end we had to explain our reasoning to highly experienced professors and professionals. I had to go into what the project was about, the action steps we took and the whole process we went through.
And what other challenges did you face?
I think studying in another language was maybe my biggest challenge. Really, when I arrived I spoke very little English. So I had to learn the language while working.
I think that’s what we call a “baptism of fire”!
Yeah! One year of learning a language and then starting a master’s in that language is like triple the work. But it was fun – and you get to meet and talk to people in a common language, which is something I’d never experienced before.
It’s also kind of disturbing, because now there are certain things that I can explain better in English than I can in French!
What sort of extracurricular activities did you do?
I was part of the student council, so I helped organise some interesting things like the ESEI barbecue, outdoor foreign cinema and local language exchanges.
I enjoyed the whole experience – and my classmates would go out together all the time. We’d play sports, go to events, and do lots of other social things, which we still do today – three years later.
Also, I found visiting companies, learning about co-working, freelancing, and working in corporations to be really useful – and ESEI gave us a lot of opportunities and insight into business in the city.
And are you still in touch with your old classmates?
Yes, and even though a lot of my classmates have left the city and in some cases the country, we’re mostly still in contact. Some are still some of my closest friends, even three years later.
What opportunities have you had since your course?
Thanks to the mentorship and training I received at ESEI, I’ve been able to find a sector I can progress in. It’s also given me the freedom to learn and grow as I work, as I also build my own events, artist bookings and marketing company Emperium Entertainment outside of work.
In one word, what’s the best thing about ESEI?