Thank you for your willingness to share with us your experience abroad. Can you tell us something about yourself? What do you study? Where did you spend your exchange stay?
Hello, I’m Alex and doing my Master’s degree in International Security Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences. Before coming to Prague, I graduated from a study programme in International Relations taught jointly by LSE and HSE in Moscow where I am from. For the third semester of my current studies, I went to amazing Paris to do my ERASMUS+ exchange at Sciences Po!
Where did you learn about the Exchange programme? Where did you find more information about it?
I got all the information on the official webpage of the Faculty of Social Sciences. Moreover, a few FAQ sessions were conducted by the Faculty and my study coordinator, I think they were more than helpful to clarify all the questions that I had.
When choosing your exchange programme where did you start from: having your dream destination in mind, and searching for a way to get there, or did you just want to have an experience abroad (wherever) and you chose among the offered possibilities?
To be honest, Sciences Po Paris was my first and only choice. I was obsessed with living and studying in Paris, and Sciences Po was the best match which combined both. During the application period, I was also watching a new season of Emily in Paris, so I had extra motivation. Since I did not provide any alternatives in my ERASMUS+ application, it was a bit risky, but I just knew inside myself that everything was going to work out.
Why did you choose Sciences Po Paris?
I was inspired by the stories of my friends who did their degrees there. Sciences Po is not just a top-3 school, but also an empowering and thought-provoking community based on universal values you want to be a part of. You will get access to numerous lectures by high-ranking officials, career fairs, international conferences to name just a few.
Tell us something regarding your first days. How was the acclimatization process: any culture shock? What about the classes, teachers, classmates? Have you been experiencing any language barrier or any other difficulties?
I had been to Paris about 10 times before coming here, so I knew what to expect. Keep in mind that if you want to have many friends, rush to all parties, gatherings, picnics, etc. at the beginning of your stay because this is the time when small groups of friends are formed. Later on, it will be more difficult to make new connections. If you worry that you do not speak French, you should not. Despite this stereotype about French, everybody speaks English (unless it comes to the prefecture) and will be more than glad to switch to English, even if you are the only non-French speaker in the group. All the classes were highly practice-oriented, so be ready to change your mindset if you come from a highly academic background, as I do.
How was your daily life there? Was it as you expected it? If you had the possibility, would you extend your stay?
Paris is a very vibrant city, it offers so much to explore: festivals, museums, exhibitions, pop-up events, etc. I had 4 classes, meaning ample time to blend my academic pursuits with exploring Paris and other cities throughout France. Although I had an opportunity to prolong my study stay, I was fortunate to secure my dream internship, which led me to stay on in the city.
Would you recommend the destination to other students? Would you recommend this type of mobility?
Without any doubt! I enjoyed every second of my stay here, and I bet you will too!
Can you please share your contact if someone has additional questions for you?
Sure, you can always contact me via LinkedIn.