B. Arts
B. Arts

I studied at Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Rennes in Rennes, France in semester 2 of 2013. I was in my 2nd year, and study a Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies at UQ, and in Rennes I studied a Certificate of Political Science. This program had set subjects and was in English, which was the appeal as I then spoke no French! Having a set subject load made it easy to gain approval by the Arts faculty for my study plan before going.  This institute is part of the SciencesPo Universities of France, which are renowned political science institutes. They are prestigious and have very high entrance exams. However, I was disappointed in the English program, it was not well run and not academically challenging at all. It was not well thought out and was at times desperately disorganised. However, this low workload allowed me to spend my time on more fun activities, such as meeting people, socialising, and travelling!

The redeeming feature of the university and the reason I chose Rennes, was that it was of course, in France! Living in France was the best six months of my life. Rennes is a vibrant student city which comes alive at night! It attracts students from all over the world, all willing to have the time of their lives and not waste a minute. I was the only Australian there at that point, and it was so much more fun to meet others from all over the world. I have made life long friends. With Paris only 2 hours away and England very close by, Rennes is a wonderful base! I was able to travel before my studies, in the semester break, and for 2 months after. Learning French was a highlight of my time!

On the logistics side, moving to France is quite complicated. As a non European Union citizen, there are a lot more hoops to jump through and many fees for various things along the way. French administration is notoriously mad, so be prepared! It can be very frustrating at times.

I stayed in a student dorm which was good, great location and friends! However, you must buy everything yourself including bedding, cleaning products, and cooking utensils which can add up. You can apply for CAF (housing subsidies) which you may be successful in getting. It’s quite a large amount, so push through the administrative disasters!

I had the time of my life on exchange, I recommend the experience to everyone!

-    Bring lots of those tiny ID photos! You need them for everything, including your ‘GoCard’ equivalent.
-    Pre-drink! Alcohol is vastly cheaper in supermarkets. Think 1.60euro for a bottle of wine.
-    Be prepared for frustrating administration.
-    Make the most of the location, and travel! The English program is easy so you will have spare time!
-    Rennes is much cheaper than Paris, but be aware of various administration costs

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