Exchange semester at Sciences Po

Ivan Smekalin, 3rd year student of  "Politology" programme participated in the student mobility program at Sciences Po Paris and shares his experience.

Country, city: France, Paris

University: Paris Institute of Political Science

Dates: January 20 – May 20, 2020

I want to say right away that I do not pretend that it is universal to all programs, even within France or a University. Something may sound naive, but it is honest.

So, what has happened that is positive and what I am very happy about?

In a word - the experience of studying at one of the most prestigious universities in France. I didn't know it was prestigious until I arrived. But when I saw the reaction of people who heard that I was an exchange student at political science Sciences Po, I understood the word "prestigious University" differently.

Student section

More information about the program: Sciences Po University College, an exchange program for bachelors. I had 5 courses and 6 classes for two hours a week. For each lesson, you had to read at least 30 pages in English. I studied in an international team: there were courses (international relations, French political theory, political economy) that were mostly Western Europeans; others were mostly East Asians.

The level of teachers. I was surprised by it. They are responsible for their work: they look prepared; they always had everything in order with documents and the organization of the educational process.

The level of the students. Even the weakest student, as it seemed at first, showed himself during the oral presentation much above the average level to which I was accustomed.

The interestingness of learning material. I chose the courses myself, so they are biased towards what I am interested in. However, any course with an interesting syllabus can be ruined. Here, all expectations were justified.

This is all supported by the HSE. For mobility, I spent 300 thousand rubles (3,500 euros): 150 of them covered the Endowment Fund grant for mobility, 30 thousand for the flight paid for my faculty, 60 thousand-an increased scholarship, not so small salary of a trainee researcher covered the rest.

Cultural part

It's still in Paris! I put an exclamation mark on it, because I really love this city.

Free museums. A long-term student visa for a citizen under the age of 25 gives the right to free access to all historical monuments. So I saved a lot of money.

Colorful food. I write this item for people like me who thought that there are stores with familiar food, and there are stores with food "type in France". No, in all stores (Carrefour, Auchan, Monoprix), the range is strikingly different from the Russian one.

The city is a tourist attraction. Leaving the Central metro station (for example, San Sulpice, where I studied), you will not be able to avoid bumping into a monument that you have heard about, seen in a TV series or read in a book.