Bachelor of international studies
Bachelor of international studies

Academic experiences

I studied at the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Rennes, France for my first semester in 2015.
I was in my 3rd year at UQ studying a Bachelor of International Studies majoring in French and Peace and Conflict studies.
At IEP I Certificate of Political Sciences in English, which was the best option for me because, my level of French was not at a standard for a full French load.
The program had set subjects, which included 6 English classes that included subjects from political science areas and also French history and culture.
The set program made getting the study plan approval easy.
But I still had to attend most days during the week however the workload was light which gave me extra time to have fun!
There was not very much integration between the French students and the international ones in the English program, which meant meeting French people was difficult.

The beautiful city of Rennes

Personal experiences

Rennes is such a beautiful city, which made the whole experience that much more interesting.
Living in France was perhaps the best part of it all, the people, the food and the culture are so interesting and vibrant.
When people think of France they think of Paris with the amazing shopping and big city living but there is so much more to France than Paris.
I am glad that a chose to go to a smaller town because I think it gave me a more authentic experience and I got to see more than just the tourist destination.
If you are worried about the language many people in Rennes still speak English as well as French so getting around was not a trouble.
They were also more than happy to listen to me stumble over asking for a baguette at my local bakery.
Rennes is a beautiful city especially in the spring and at night.
There are many parks for outdoor activities and some awesome restaurants and bar, which are pretty cheap.
Being a student city it is full with many young people from around the world and there is also some event on.

Travel is a form of education

Accommodation

Accommodation was interesting.
I stayed at a student residence on boulevard de Sevigne that was about a 10 minute walk to the university and 20 minutes to the centre of town.
It was a great base to meet other students, especially because many of the international students stayed there.
This meant I was never cooking or eating alone.
The rooms were small but had ample storage, a bed and a desk.
The best part I think was the fact we got our own bathroom, as small as it was it was perfect for what we needed.
There was a shared kitchen on each level.
However you must be aware that you have to buy everything; bedding, cleaning products, kitchen utensils (pots, pans, toaster, kettle, knives and forks; the works).
This was a little expensive because you had to kit yourself out but there is a 2euro shop in town or if you can organised a trip to Ikea that would be the best option.

Budget

As far as expenses go the UQ abroad recommended $10,000-$12,000 Australian is enough to get you through the 5 months living in Rennes.
The Rent is quite cheap and food is roughly similar to what it costs in Australia.
There are always cheaper options for things, especially the Saturday farmers market where I could get all of my fruit and veg plus meat and fish for around 10-20Euros a week.
Rennes is very walkable; the public transport was good however most things are walking distance but if not then it's a 1.80euro bus or metro ride.
There are also a lot of hidden costs with social security, visa and insurance that you have to pay in order to be able to live in France so be aware of lots of paper work and dealing with a very annoying system.
However if you do plan to do quite a bit of travel before and after I would recommend saving a little more.
In summertime things do get a little more expensive especially in the big cities.

In love in France

Academic development and employability

This experience was perhaps the best choice I have made, not only for my academic development but also so self-growth.
I made so many friends and had countless incredible opportunities that have changed my outlook on life.
Developing my French language was also important for my future career and being able to adapt and thrive in new environment was extremely rewarding.

My new sévigné family

Highlight

There is not one single highlight of my experience; it was a combination of the place, the people and pushing myself that made it incredible.
It was only once I got out of my comfort zone that amazing things happened.
From beginning to end.

Top tips

- Be patient, with yourself and others.
This is not an easy experience but it will pay off.

- Be ready to deal with frustrating administration.

- Take a chance and get out of your comfort zone; it's the only way you will get to meet people and do awesome things.

- If the weather is bad still go out.
Winter in Rennes is overcast and rainy for most of it but don’t let that stop you.

- Explore the city; in my opinion there is no better way to get to know a place then eating your way around it.

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