Studying at Sciences Po in Paris was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. The city is alive and vibrant, the university has interesting courses with passionate professors, and the people you meet are amazing. Although at times the bureaucracy can be frustrating, this shouldn’t put you off going, especially if you know what to expect. Being able to speak French is definitely an advantage, even if it is only the basics.

For me, being given the opportunity to study completely in French for a semester was both scary and exciting at the same time. The style of teaching is different from UQ, as are the types and structure of assessment pieces. This can be challenging at first, even after learning what the methodology for the “exposés” and “dissertations” is, but you quickly get used to it. One tip I would give for Sciences Po is to have back-up options for subject selection, because unlike UQ, once the courses are full they will not take any more students.

Finding a good local boulangerie is a must-do, but is also quite easy since there are so many around. The food markets are also another must-do, as fruit and vegetables are usually much cheaper and fresher than any you would find in a supermarket. To get around, I would really recommend either taking the velib or the bus wherever you can. Although the metro can sometimes be the quickest and most direct route, I loved being about to watch the city pass as I travelled. My bus or velib ride to uni past the Madeleine, through Place de la Concorde, across the Seine with a view of the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame then along Boulevard St Germain was a highlight of my day. No matter what time of day or weather, it was always so beautiful.

Paris itself is such a cultural hub, with always so much to do and see. The museums are amazing and there is something for everyone, from Centre Pompidou with modern and contemporary art, to the Louvre and Musée D’Orsay. As a student studying in the European Union, these state owned museums are mostly free as well! It is impossible to run out of things to do in Paris, and areas like the Marais, Montmartre, as well as the 5th and 2nd arrondissements are always such lively, interesting places to walk around, and to either have a coffee during the day or a drink at night.

I would definitely recommend an exchange at Sciences Po in Paris.

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