This article focuses on the issue of adaptability in the field of education, particularly English as a foreign language teaching, and explores the question of whether academic debate can foster adaptability among university first‐year university students majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. To answer that, the authors designed and conducted a study in 2017 and 2018 at a university in Moscow, Russia. The study involved two groups of students: those who attended regular English classes and those who, apart from regular classes, weekly attended and actively participated in specially designed English debate classes. To evaluate whether any alterations to the students’ adaptability level occurred, teacher‐assessors completed the Adaptability Scale at the beginning and end of the project. In addition, the students were asked to fill out a self‐assessment questionnaire to rate their own adaptability development. The results of the control and experimental groups were compared and a series of t‐tests was conducted. The findings reveal that, in the experimental group, English debate classes fostered positive growth in the level of adaptability, and all its components experienced a significant enhancement.