Harder than expected August 13, 2018

By (Wellesley College) - abroad from 01/19/2018 to 06/01/2018 with

Sciences Po: Paris - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained a lot of academic independence, American Universities felt like they held my hand to a laughable degree after getting used to Sciences Po. At the same time, I am looking forward to returning to such a supportive environment. Having seen the other side, I no longer feel dependent on wonderful teachers and plenty of office hours, but knowing it is a luxury will make me take much more advantage of it.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Academic rigor was very intense, but the resources for students left something to be desired.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

N/A

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

Independent dorms are a very good option for staying in Paris, mine was in the 6th arrondissement (center city) and included dinner during weeknights.

* Food:

(Paris!)

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I lived in a house with about 50 French girls and had one roomate, we all got along very well. It really helped with establishing a social life, as Sciences Po is very academically minded and not always very social.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I have Spanish citizenship, so it wasn't a problem.

* Safety:

Paris feels safe, though of course there are certain areas to avoid at night like any other city.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes

I learned a lot: the most important elements of what I learned was the information taught in my courses, but I also learned to appreciate and take advantage of the support and attention American teachers and institutions give their students.

Finances

* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

It's Paris, so it's expensive, but there are also student rates for a lot of things (movie tickets, opera or ballet tickets) so it evens out.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? About 100 per week.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Write everything you spend down. Find student places for lunch.

Language

* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? C1 level
How many hours per day did you use the language? 10+
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Live with French students and go to French classes- this takes away the option of English, and is therefore a very easy way to make sure you don't get lazy with French.

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Exchange

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The information as fascinating, and from a. very refreshing, un-USA based perspective
  • The professors are demanding and serious, and won't coddle students or waste any time
* What could be improved?
  • Giving any support for the students (social or academic)
  • Help finding a place to live (I was very lucky)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? The academic rigor was beyond anything I imagined.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Academic or Linguist
You went abroad with specific academic goals in mind; the program credentials and rigor of your coursework abroad were very important to you. You had a great time abroad, but never lost sight of your studies and (if applicable) were diligent with your foreign language study. Good for you!

Individual Course Reviews

Course Name/Rating:

Sciences Politiques au defi du genre (Gender)

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Rejane Senac
Instruction Language: French
Comments: A challenging course, but incredibly interesting and the teacher is phenomenal. Approaches gender from a very well researched standpoint.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Les enjeux fondamentales de la construction de l'Union Europeenne

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Marion Gaillard
Instruction Language: French
Comments: The class is amazingly interesting and the professor is wonderful - however she goes through information very fast and the exam is incredibly hard. The professor acknowledges that this course is stacked against international students.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Nations et Nationalismes

Course Department: Political Science
Instructor: Alain Diekhoff
Instruction Language: French/English
Comments: Regarding language, though the lecture was in French, several readings were in English and there was the option to write the papers in English as well. The course itself was disorganized and fragmented, and the professor is mediocre at best. A great TA, though, made all the difference. Very interesting readings.
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

A primer on International Affairs

Course Department: International Relations
Instructor: Emmanuel Comolet
Instruction Language: English
Comments: Not a bad course, especially if one is not very well versed in international affairs but is curious. The professor is fine and friendly, but do your readings before class or don't come at all!
Credit Transfer Issues:
Course Name/Rating:

Politique de l'Hospitalite (immigration crisis in Europe)

Course Department: Political Science and Philosophy
Instructor: Guillaume LeBlanc
Instruction Language: French
Comments: Very interesting course, though purely lecture.
Credit Transfer Issues: