A Unique Experience in Menton Past Review

By (IRG, The University of Texas at Austin) - abroad from 08/24/2015 to 12/18/2015 with

Sciences Po Paris in Menton: Menton - Direct Enrollment & Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
It was absolutely worthwhile for me. This campus has such an interesting variety of students from different places and each student is driven and knowledgable about the focus of the university, the Middle East and Mediterranean. I spent most of my time with other exchange students from elsewhere but still spent many events with the entire school because it is such a small campus. It can be a bit slow because Menton is a quiet town but if you have the funds it will not be a problem as you can always explore around Menton or the rest of the French Riviera or anywhere else. Depending on the classes you pick, this program can enable you to have a lot of time to travel, if that is something you are interested in. If you like to relax and enjoy the beach and a slower pace of life and are interested in the Middle East and/or political science and/or improving your french this would be a good choice. Keep in mind if you are looking for a busy city setting this truly is not for you, but I learned a lot about my self and gained knowledge of not only the south of France but also the countries surrounding France and how to travel.

Review Photos

Sciences Po Paris in Mention: Menton - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Sciences Po Paris in Mention: Menton - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo Sciences Po Paris in Mention: Menton - Direct Enrollment & Exchange Photo

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? None

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

This campus is a unique set up and certainly different than if you are used to a large university like I was. There is a small library but mostly I used my home university's online databases to do research. The courses really just depend but overall the way they are structured means less daily work and instead just a few large grades throughout the semester which can be somewhat stressful if you are not used to that kind of set up. It seems like rigorous because you have classes once a week for longer periods of time instead of the M/W/F and T/TH if you are used to that. The university is very focused to the students around you are very knowledgable on political science and middle east studies so sometimes some catching up is needed, especially if your degree is unrelated to these things.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

It's France, things are different and that can be frustrating in many ways. The administration is small and willing to help but english is not their first language so it is helpful to try to communicate first in french. There is often lack of communication between schools so know what your own university expects of you going in because chances are the host administration will not know those procedures or requirements. The are also willing to help with questions unrelated to the university if you need help with housing, or are looking for a doctor or have general questions about those kinds of procedures.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived in Villa Jasmin which is one of the all girl dorms in Menton. The dorm itself is clean and well maintained but a huge downside is that they were very strict on guests when I was there (although apparently it differed in previous years). We had issues with food going missing and also people not keeping the kitchen clean but other than that no major issues. I would say that if you want to be able to host things or have significant others over then try to find an apartment, but for the four months I was there the dorm was a great option in terms of cost and convenience.

* Food:

There is no food on campus because it is quite small, there are only coffee machines and vending machines. The food in Menton is good, somewhat limited for cheap food as it is a small town, but overall the grocery store had what you would need and the cheap cheese and wine and fresh produce was a definite plus.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt fairly integrated, my french was not great so that makes it difficult but the town is small and the campus life is active so you know many students and have things to do. The shop owners are mostly Italian and speak english for the most part and are usually very nice, as are the residents of the town.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The system is different, in Menton I would get recommendations from other students if you need a doctor, do not go to the one they have you go to for your school physical. If you submit the forms they give you after your appointment you will get your copay back, and the admin at the university can help with that.

* Safety:

Menton is a small town with only students and retired people so it is very safe. Take the normal safety precautions if you are out alone super late but overall I never felt unsafe.

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


* 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)

I think it depends on your lifestyle. If you want to be social and such it can get pricey because you are eating out and buying alcohol or train tickets to get to Nice or Monaco etc. and the events put on by the school usually cost money but are worth going to so that factors in. Groceries in general for eating at home can be about $50 a week if you do not make super elaborate meals.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent probably about 70euros
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Buy the Zou pass for the trains to Nice because it can be pricey going back and forth and the pass pays for itself very quickly and makes it worth it. Also pay the cotisan to the BDE initially to make the costs of the future events lower for you, unless you think you will not go to most of them in which case it is cheaper to pay per event.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? No
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

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

I did not have classes in french so that part did not include using the language but being in Menton you are surrounded by the french language and some of the administration does not speak english well, if at all. Most of my french use was with traveling and eating and shopping or going out, my french did not really improve in terms of conversation but being more comfortable at trying to speak and pronunciation did improve.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Intermediate
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? Advanced French I
How many hours per day did you use the language? 0
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? You have to really make an effort to speak french because people will speak english to you as soon as they know it is not your first language. Make an effort to continue to speak in french and to interact with the french speakers at the university (they separate between french track and english track) and if you are able, take a french course to learn or one of your classes taught in French as I think that would make a huge difference and was something I did not do.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

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

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
  • International 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?
  • Small campus facilitated a lot of interaction between students
  • Riviera setting in the foothills of the Alps is beautiful
  • Variety of students and backgrounds, especially from the Middle East was helpful when learning about the Middle East
* What could be improved?
  • Program was very vague before going to France, it was hard to know what to expect
  • School is still young and suffers from the curse of French bureaucracy so administrative procedures are excessively frustrating
  • Get exchange students on the Facebook page as soon as possible because that would have been extremely helpful
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Take two semesters if you can, that way you can travel to more places with the people who are from there. Take a course in French or a French language course, if you are interested in Arabic-take it! Pack light, there is lots of good shopping once you are there and know current topics on International Relations and politics because these students love to talk about it and will ask you about your own political situation!

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!