Bachelor of Commerce, 3rd year
Bachelor of Commerce, 3rd year

Academic experiences

As a third year Bachelor of Commerce student, I decided to study abroad for a semester at Sciences Po, one of France's most prestigious universities.
Whilst the main campus is located in the heart of Paris, there are several other campuses throughout France, each of which focuses around a certain region of the world.
I opted to study in the 'Euro-American' campus of Reims, located about an hours' train ride north of Paris.

Studying and living in this quaint city was a unique learning experience.
With a population of around 500,000, Reims can definitely be considered small. Similarly, the Sciences Po campus of Reims is a tightly knit community of around 500 students (including around 40 exchange students).
As a result the campus is similar to a high school in that you can get to know almost everyone.
In my experience, it also means that it is quite easy to make friends or to get to know your fellow exchange students.
Moreover, classes are small, similar to our tutorial classes.

Furthermore as this university specialises in the areas of political sciences or humanities, I used up my quota of electives to study subjects that I normally would not be exposed to.
The academic system is very different to the system at UQ.
Classes are generally worth 5 ECTS each, meaning you will take around 6 classes to reach a full UQ study load.
There is compulsory attendance - if you miss more than 3 classes, you fail the course.

Interestingly, there are always at least 3 forms of assessment per class, which always includes one oral presentation (either individual or group) per class.
Thus, classes are partly student-led, with each 2 hour class generally having around 20 minutes of student presentations.

Cathedral, Reims

Personal experiences

I highly encourage everyone to partake in a study abroad.
Whilst I experienced some of the most stressful days of my life, I gained so much more in terms of experiences, skills, and friends.

I would recommend studying at the Sciences Po Reims campus if you have a passion for the humanities, and want to experience a more intimate academic life, within the setting of a charming French city.
I personally loved the peace and tranquillity of Reims, and also the fact that Paris is only an hour train ride away.

Sacre Coeur, Paris

Accommodation

One of the major benefits of studying in Reims is that accommodation is significantly cheaper than that in Paris.
Moreover, accommodation is largely organized for you by the school.
There are a fairly wide variety of choices, but I will detail the two most popular below.

The cheapest is the Teilhard de Chardin Residence operated by CROUS.
This is the furthest residence from campus, about an 18 minute walk.
It is around a 30 minute walk from the city centre.
A single 9m2 room (fridges included) is around 250 euros monthly, with shared kitchen facilities on each floor.
They also have 18m2 studios (i.e. with kitchenettes in the room) for 350 euros, although there are not many of this type, and placement is not guaranteed.

Utilities fees are included.
This residence has no Wi-Fi in the rooms; bring an Ethernet cable from home!

Laundry costs ~3 euros per use of the washing machine, and ~2 euros per use of the dryers.

The closest residence to campus 'Residium' is located only 5 minutes from campus.
They only have 18m2 studios for around 550 euros per month, however utilities are not included (this also means more paperwork).

Wi-Fi available. Laundry is free.
Approximately a 12 minute walk to the city centre.

Les Calanques, South of France

Budget

  • Accommodation: 250-550 euros/month
  • Laundry: approx. 5 euros per wash

Academic development and employability

It was a humbling experience to study with the regular Sciences Po students, who take almost double the course load of the average student (~50 ECTS per semester).
Furthermore, they are well versed in the matter of public speaking, and most seem to have a great knowledge and interest in politics or other humanities subjects.

Top tips

In the Reims campus, many courses do not have final exams during the 'final exam period'.
Since there is a two week gap between the final class, and the final exams period, I recommend selecting only courses which do not have final exams, so that you can have an uninterrupted break where you can travel.

If you plan to travel to other French/European cities by bus, know that bus companies sometimes use very obscure, or out-of-the-way bus stops, some of which do not even have a sign to indicate it is a stop.
Try not to depart or arrive at strange times in winter, because the bus stop may be far away from any shelter.
Do your research first!

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