The Judo Championship welcomed students from 126 universities across 23 countries. In her category, Laetitia secured 9th place competing against 17 other judokas.
The European Universities Sports Association (EUSA) Championship 2019 was organised for students that qualified from their domestic university competitions and, in case of the UK schools, first competed in the British Universities and Colleges Sports Nationals in February this year (BUCS).
Laetitia qualified after winning the BUSC Nationals 2019 against the best sportspersons from top British universities, such as Oxford, Manchester, Glasgow and South Wales. You can read an earlier article about her here.
For Laetitia, the Judo Championship in Zagreb was her first individual international competition and she was proud to represent and promote ESCP, and to endorse its values. She believes that there is a great deal to learn from a student-athlete project and she is grateful for ESCP’s trust in her skills and passion.
Just before returning for the second year of her Bachelor in Management studies, Laetitia shared more about the event with us:
How did your trip begin and did you enjoy Zagreb?
I landed in Zagreb on 30th July, three days before my fighting day. At first, all I got to know of Zagreb was the student accommodation where I was staying (along with the other competitors) and the competition stadium. I soon realised that I was about to fight at the stadium (Dom Sportova), where international judo players fought a week ago at the IJF World Tour Zagreb 2019. It was impressive and exciting. Then, after the competition, I discovered the city of Zagreb. It is a rather small city compared to London but the people are tourist-friendly. The city has some great historical monuments and it was interesting to learn about Zagreb’s history.
Did you have support from your family or friends?
I have had a lot of support from my family, friends and fellow club members in France (ACBB), but also in GB (Budokwai). I received support messages, met some friends at the competition who cheered for me, and my mother travelled with me. She has been very involved and sacrificed a lot to support my ambitions and my student-athlete lifestyle. At the end of the day, I try my best to thank her and, when I fight, I try to make her proud.
Do you find it a similar challenge to travel across countries for competitions and to study at different European campuses with your studies?
Travelling across campuses for my studies and across countries for competitions are two very different challenges. One is about settling in a country for a year or so, and the other a few days of visit, during which you usually don’t get the chance to see much of the city or the country you are in. When travelling across ESCP campuses, I learn more about a country’s culture, but when I fight abroad at international competition my focus is more on the performance than the country. It is quite similar to a business trip.
Does your Bachelor degree’s style of three years and three campuses help with making you more open and at ease with travelling and interacting with international students?
For sure, the answer is yes. I am way more relaxed when travelling because I became more adaptable throughout my first Bachelor year. Let me give you an example: while I was in Zagreb, I met some Italian judokas. Because I started to learn Italian in London last year, I was able to speak with them in Italian and we bonded. They offered me to come and train with them when I have the time. In September, I will start my second year of studies in Turin; I feel confident about my capacity to adapt to the Italian lifestyle and to fit in - and I have to thank the ESCP Bachelor in Management for that.
With the start of the new academic year now in full swing, those who have not yet fount their extra-curricular activity may look for an inspiration within from the existing and ever-dynamic student societies.