Claire - Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Rennes

Bachelor of International Studies
Semester 1, 2018

Academic experience

I studied in the English program at Sciences Po in Rennes. It was run very differently and I took a lot more courses than back at UQ. As it was not as organised as UQ I had to be more proactive in finding out information about timetabling and assessment. Otherwise, however, it was very straightforward as subjects in the program were planned in advance and we could not choose what we did. This meant enrolling and registering was very easy and also made organising the UQ study plan very straightforward. The courses I studied included French Politics, African Studies, Local and Regional Governance in Europe, Higher Education Policy and Development and Research and Design for Resilient Cities as well as French language subjects.

Personal experience

Overall being on exchange was full of incredible personal experiences. I met so many amazing people from all over the world and got to travel to places I never expected to go. I also gained greater confidence, independence and self-sufficiency living alone in foreign country.

Accommodation

In Rennes I stayed in the accommodation provided by the university. It was in a great location, near the uni and the city centre and was very affordable. I would definitely recommend staying in the accommodation provided as it made meeting other students a lot easier. 

Costs

Before going over I had around $14,000 from working, the OS help loan and a $1000 scholarship. I found this to be more than enough. 
Monthly rent was my greatest expense at 244 euros. Then groceries which are very affordable in Rennes (in the end I could do my weekly shop for 10 euros). Rennes is also a very walkable city so there was not need to pay for transport. This meant I had plenty of money left over to travel, eat out and do any extra activities.

Professional Development

In terms of professional development, learning to adapt to a new system of education was a great skill I developed on exchange. Furthermore, improving my French language was also valuable.

Highlight

It's hard to pick a highlight when just living and experiencing a different country is such a wonderful experience in itself. Having an extended period of time in a new city in a new country and having the opportunity to explore the city so well and adapt to the lifestyle is such a wonderful opportunity and one I may never have again.

Top tips

For future exchange students I would say just be as prepared as possible before you leave and be patient with yourself if things don't go to plan. 
There will be hard times when you feel homesick or overwhelmed but in the end it will be such an incredible experience!