My Spring Semester in Sorbonne

Alice Fanyan, a third year student of the World Economy program at the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, shared her experience of studying at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and living in the French capital.

My Spring Semester in Sorbonne

Alice Fanyan

Studying and living in Paris was my dream, which came true this year! In the spring semester I studied at the Sorbonne University, one of the most famous universities in France.

Studying at the Sorbonne

France has a 20-point grading system, so when getting a grade, you need to take into account the scale of transfer to the HSE grading system. The approach to learning depends on the chosen course (undergraduate or graduate). I took three courses: one course was a bachelor's degree one (European economics and politics), the grade for it was formed according to the same system as at HSE: 50% cumulative grade (grade for seminars and intermediate exams) and 50% final exam. The exam was in the format of writing an essay or answering 3 questions.

I also took two master's courses: Political Economy and Development economics. At these courses exams were already 100%, which was unusual, but the teachers explained the assessment formula at the beginning of the semester, so there were no problems with studying. Moreover, for any questions, you can contact the international department of the Sorbonne, the managers always answered quickly and helped to resolve all the issues that arose during the education process.

Life in Paris

Exchange experience is a great opportunity to make friends from all over the world. To do this, you can go to various events from Erasmus and ESN Paris.

One of the problems that can be encountered in Paris is the search for housing, since not everyone is provided with a dormitory from university. That is why often you have to look for a room or studio on your own. In order to rent a house in France, it is necessary to find a French guarantor, which complicates the possibility of renting. Instead, you can contact the agency, the Visale organization, or search for groups on social networks for students who have already studied in France last semester and are moving out of their rooms. I lived in the 13th arrondissement, it was very quiet and perfect for living in Paris. When choosing housing, you should also pay attention to the location of the apartment, because the north of Paris (18, 19, 20) districts are considered life-threatening.

The Paris transport card costs 75 euros per month (Pass Navigo) and includes all 5 zones of Paris. You can use it throughout the whole Île-de-France region. For example, you can take the RER to Versailles and other suburbs of Paris.

You can live in Paris for years and still not to see it completely! Despite the fact that Paris is considered an expensive city, you can still find an opportunity to have a good time for free. For example, students under the age of 26 can visit almost all the museums in Paris for free, they just need to show a student visa or a student card (carte d'étudiant). Various exhibitions are also constantly held there, for example, this year the most famous exhibitions were DIOR and Pop Air, but you need to buy tickets for them.

Paris is very conveniently located, and from it you can travel to different cities in France! Some of the most useful apps for tracking ticket prices are FlixBus, Trainline, and the SNCF website. For example, you can go to Amiens, Lille or Etretat for only 15-20 euros.

Exchange semester gave me a lot, it taught me how to live independently, solve problems, meet and make strong friendships with people from all over the world, speak French and English fluently, allowed me to broaden my horizons and learn a lot about how people live in other countries. It is impossible to express in words such invaluable experience, and this is definitely the best decision I made during studying for bachelor's degree, so if there is an opportunity to go to study for the exchange semester, you should definitely use it!

If you have any questions, I will always be happy to answer them here: