Sciences Po – 3rd Year Bachelor of International Studies/ Diploma of Languages

Living in Paris as a student will be something I could never forget. I’ve had more picnics in the past six months than I have had in the rest of my life combined. Free entry for all students of the European Union under the age of 26 into most museums and galleries has saved me a ridiculous amount of money. On top of this, Paris is such a beautiful city that even after months of living there I still found myself having to stop to take in the breathtaking surroundings.

Sciences Po is an incredibly well-known and highly academic university in Paris. If you’re ever asked by a French person what university you attend, don’t be too surprised if you’re given a weird look or even told congratulations. It has a pretty good reputation. Its teachers are all leaders in their respective fields, balancing their own careers with their lectures at Sciences Po. Despite this, I found most of my teachers to be highly accessible and willing to help if I ever had a question. Sciences Po is quite the fan of oral presentations (exposés). I had to do at least one for every class. The idea of standing in front of the class and giving a presentation was a little daunting at first, but when you and everyone else have so many to do you quickly get over it.
As for challenges I faced at Sciences Po, the strict attendance policy was at times a little annoying. In the end though, I’m glad it was there. I needed the incentive to make it to that 8am Tuesday class during those winter months when the sun didn’t rise until 9am and for some reason it rained almost every Tuesday morning.

Deciding what kind of accommodation I wanted in Paris was an extremely difficult decision. I eventually opted for a studio apartment by myself booked through an agency. It was a little bit more expensive but well worth it. For 800 euro a month I had my own apartment (albeit it small), that was a 30 minute walk from Sciences Po, and situated in the Latin Quarter on a very busy restaurant filled street about a 2 minute walk from the Pantheon. By going through an agency I had an additional fee of about 700 euro, but it was honestly worth it knowing I had a place to go to as soon as I hopped off the place. Some of my friends couldn’t find permanent accommodation until about a month after arriving.

5 Tips:

  • Buy a set of scales at the beginning of your trip. I didn’t buy one until the end when I was trying to pack to go home. Wish I bought a hand held set of scales at the beginning of my trip. I did a lot of travel while I was there and they would have been very handy.
  • Don’t buy coffee around Sciences Po. It’s very expensive and not very good. If you love coffee, make the effort to find the good ones. Café Coutume, Telescope, Ten Belles, Sugar Plum, Tuck Shop, and Kooka Burra will help you with your coffee cravings. You’re not the only one searching for good coffee in Paris though; in fact, somebody made a website:
  •  Picnics, Picnics, Picnics!!! It’s probably the best way to enjoy to Paris. Gather some friends, buy some wine, cheese & baguettes and find a good place to sit and chat for a few hours. Beside the Seine is always a good place, and I loved the Luxembourg Gardens.
  • I lived on the busy cobble stoned street called Rue Du Pot De Fer, just off Rue Mouffetard. My street had heaps of good cheap restaurants and bars on it and a wonderful atmosphere once the weather started warming up. You could get a three course meal for 12 euros at lunch time.
  • Everyone is going to complain about the bureaucracy in Paris and how long it takes for anything to get done but personally I had no problems and didn’t find it as horrible as everyone told me. I guess the key is to just have patience.
    Also, be ready for class sign-on. Just like at UQ the tutorial you want can fill up quickly, so don’t mess around and log on 5 minutes after the sign-on opens. Be quick and you will get everything you wanted just like I did.

If you have any questions don’t be afraid to contact me!

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