Academic experiences: A semester at Sciences Po was an education in French bureaucracy. Be prepared for queue ups, stuff ups and uphill battles. As for the academic side of things, I found that the courses were pitched much lower than those at UQ. Having said that, a full course load is 6 subjects and each subject had a seemingly infinite number of assessment pieces. So while the courses didn’t prove to be overwhelmingly challenging, I found that I had to churn something out each week. Despite this, it was an interesting opportunity to take subjects not offered at UQ and taught in a very different way.

Personal experiences/What you got out of it

My exchange was a wonderful opportunity to eat a lot of cheese, drink a lot of wine and buy a lot of shoes, all in the name of “experiencing French culture”. It was also a really good opportunity to work on my Franglais (I think saying that I worked on "my French" is a bit of an overstatement). If you can fit a language class into your timetable, I would highly recommend them as a great way to cover the basics (and also make your day-to-day life a bit easier!).

Expenses

Paris is not a cheap city to live in by any stretch of the imagination. Rent will be costly (as will the walk past all the fashion houses on the way to uni if you are anything like me). However, grocery shopping is surprisingly cheap (I would recommend Carrefour or Auchan chains for the best prices) and with a bit of careful budgeting you can make your money last the distance.

Accommodation

I stayed in apartment found through a family friend in the 5th. It was all stitched up before my arrival.

5 TOP TIPS:

  1. L'as du Falafel for Lenny Kravitz-endorsed falafel for the low low price of 5 euros, ask for extra chilli sauce. Accept no imitations.
  2. Hammam at the Grande Mosquée for when it all gets too much.
  3. The Village Voice and Shakespeare and Co for booky events targeted at Anglophile expats.
  4. Free’P’Star Vintage Boutiques for when you are sick of all the clothes you brought with you and have bought too many shoes on the way to uni to justify splashing out again.
  5. Paris Walks for some interesting insights into the places you pass through every day.

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