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The School Days

February 1, 2013

Now that the actual spring semester at Sciences Po is two weeks in, I feel I can finally make a judgement call on my classes.

It’ll be a pretty cool semester.

I’m in seven classes, each of which meet once a week for two hours, and the semester is twelve weeks long. I have four media classes, one politics class, one French language class, and one arts class. It can seem a bit overwhelming and unstructured, but:

Course Schedule

4 day weekend, guys.

And my earliest class starts at 10:15.

That’s enough to make up for any horrible aspects of the semester, but there don’t seem to be any.

In the journalism program, there are 15 students total, and we take four classes together — three of which are back to back to back Wednesday. Sciences Po has compiled a group of superbly nice and really impressive students and assigned us to friendly and experienced professors. Together, we have the following courses:

  • Reporting About French Culture, a seminar with just the 15 of us in which we hit the streets and suburbs of Paris to interview citizens on current issues;
  • Media in Transition, where the 15 of us plus a few others discuss (surprise!) the trends of transitioning media;
  • Media and Politics, a larger lecture course in which the professor takes blows specifically at the UNC J-school for being American (okay, cool); and
  • Basics of Journalism, where we the 15 learn about history and writing styles and everything else that has to do with journalism.

Outside of my journalism classes, I’m taking:

  • The Personalization of Politics, which is fascinating;
  • Cinema & Art, an elective in French where we watch weird movie clips and discuss maybe camera angles, but I really can’t be sure since the vocabulary is new for both French and non-French students; and
  • French Language, where I’ve already been called out on my improper pronunciation of the “r.” What else is new?

I can’t quite tell how my classes will compare to those I’ve had at Chapel Hill. I do already know that my politics classes are far more interesting than the ones I’ve taken, but they’re also more specific than “State Government” and ” American Politics.” There’s definitely more theory and history incorporated into my journalism classes, but I don’t know how deep we’ll be going. It’s nice to be in a French grammar class while I’m here so I can mix learning in the classroom with practicing in the city, and it’s interesting to be in an arts class taught in French. Confusing, at times, but interesting.

And then I’m done with the week by Wednesday evening. I’m working on planning a few trips throughout France and Europe during my long weekends, though nothing’s set in stone. And even if none of the trips work out (not going to let that happen, though), Sciences Po and Paris can surely keep me busy enough.

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