So last week university started. And I couldn’t be more happy about my choice to come and study here in Sciences Po Paris. Why? Here’s 10 reasons for you:
1. It’s one of the leading universities in the WORLD for international affairs and politics. For those of you who don’t know, I did my BA in international relations and now I am studying Human Rights and Humanitarian Action. Like it or not, but my future employers will care about where I received my education and Sciences Po has a good name. In fact, in 2016 GQ World University Rankings ranked it 4th in the world for politics and international studies. Sciences Po is only outdone by Harvard, Oxford and LSE. However, we did beat Cambridge, Yale and Stanford. What makes it so great? I think a few of those reasons are listed just below.
2. Sciences Po is training us to be top-class specialists. It’s practical. I think what makes Sciences Po so great is that it combines practical teachings with world-class academics. It is most likely not the best school for aspiring academics but rather specialists and real life practicioners. That’s why half of the staff is made up of academics from brilliant backgrounds and the other half is made up of world-class politicians. So theory and practical knowledge would go hand in hand. Even our dean is the former prime minister of Italy, Mr. Enrico Letta.
3. The students are brilliant and they come from all over the world. Sciences Po has students from 105 countries from all the continents. What would be a better way to learn about international relations than this? And they are all super talented because Sciences Po only accepts a handful of all the applicants. All of them have stellar academic results combined with loads of professional experience. Without completely understanding it, I am studying among future world leaders. After all, five out of last six French presidents studied at Sciences Po and so did the leaders of United Nations, IMF, European Central Bank etc.
4. About 70% of the courses are taught in English and 30% in French. This is good for two reasons: it makes studying for internationals without knowledge in French possible and also gives opportunities for students who want to perfect their French.
5. Sciences Po is located in the middle of Paris. Lets be honest, it is a big plus to live in a metropolitan like this. It is so vibrant – something is constantly happening, we are immersed in history and culture and what’s the best part for me, there is hope to actually know French in the end of these two years. Also, it’s nice that the campus is not on the outskirts but right in the middle of all the fuss.
6. It has great social aid system which makes studying here possible for students like me. Sciences Po has SO MANY scholarships. Even L’Oreal is offering a scholarship for Sciences Po students. Also, for European students like me, the tuition is based on your parents’ income. Since Estonian salaries are so low, I only have to pay 5 euros for these two years when the full tuition fee for internationals is somewhere around 40 000€ for two years and 26 000€ for European students. Plus, I get a very generous scholarship which makes living in Paris possible.
7. I honestly think we have the best professors in the world. I do not know how Sciences Po hires them but for example, my “Promoting Human Rights” class is taught by the co-founder of Human Rights Watch Mr. Aryeh Neier. Also, most diplomacy classes are taught by former prime ministers, foreign ministers, high end diplomats etc. And our academics also teach in universities like Oxford, LSE etc.
8. They are extemely career oriented. And that is a good thing for me because after these two years I would really like to start working. And it is tricky to get my foot in the door at the organisations that I am interested in. Therefore from day one they have been super encouraging to start thinking about our future, start making connections and necessary steps towards it RIGHT THIS MOMENT. They have a special career unit in the uni and our academic advisors are there to guide us through it. In Sciences Po the third semester is a compulsory internship/study abroad time which I absolutely love because they understand how important it is to gain more practical knowledge before jumping in the job market.
9. There are endless opportunities for after-school activities. Sciences Po offers collective projects, you could join an association, write for the newspaper, take up a sports class (from horseback riding to martial arts) or for example join in one of the arts classes. It’s hard to choose just one! You will never be bored.
10. We all have an unique study program. So in addition to main master’s programs, everyone also chooses one regional concentration and one thematic concentration. With 9 master programs and 23 concentrations total, PSIA students have 2800 different possible combinations of master and concentrations for their academic program. That means that we have an edge in the work field because there might not be anyone else graduating with the exact same diploma. So my main program is Human Rights and Humanitarian Action but I also concentrate in the Middle East and Diplomacy.
I know it might seem like I am going overboard with this praising thing but I honestly have the best first impression and I am usually pretty harsh with my words. When I do not like something I most definitely say it. And yea we have had some issues with registration and things like that, but overall I am extremely happy to have chosen this school for my master’s studies.
Until next time,