Dear first years…
Welcome to Sciences Po, and welcome to Reims. Having shuffled through what we’re sure are very prestigious offers to universities around the world, you’ve decided on the Reims campus of Institut d’études politiques de Paris. Set to both impress and baffle employers and non-francophone friends everywhere, you can be sure that at Sciences Po Campus de Reims, you’ll be in for a wild ride.
At this point in the summer, you’ve graduated, and are most likely starting to think about what comes next. What will France be like? What will speaking French every day be like? What will speaking English every day be like? Where will I live? What will I study? And of course, the ultimate: will the French government decide to give me a visa (for those unfortunate to be outside of the Schengen zone) to let me into their country?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there, so don’t panic. We’d probably recommend adopting that as your your personal catchphrase as you move to navigate your way toward an amazing start at Sciences Po.
In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on the university you could learn to call your own, the town you could learn to call your home, and the set of amazing people you’re sure to meet along the way.
Sciences Po: realising your Machiavellian dreams in a nutshell
Sciences Po was founded in 1872 as the Ecole Libre de Sciences Politiques by a group of French intellectuals and politicians lead by Emile Boutmy, seeking to fill a void of political leadership left by the demise of Napoleon III with a new class of educated, informed public servants. That’s the Wikipedia version – in 1945 Charles de Gaulle (who, you’ll learn/probably already know if you are French, decided to political mess with most things in France) broke up the original school into L’Institut d’etudes politiques de Paris (which includes Reims and the other regional campuses) and the National Foundation of Political Sciences.
In Reims, we like to spice up the historical awesomeness just a little bit more. Our campus (shiny and newly updated in 2015, lucky you), founded in 2009 as the Euro-American campus, lies in the ancient buildings of the College de Jesuits, founded in 1615 by Henri the (badass) IV previously of Navarre. As you’ll undoubtedly have drummed into you by your first week (and if you miss it, don’t even worry, it’s above the front door), the college has been home to some of the greatest French intellectuals, including Condorcet and Jean Baptiste Colbert. Not only that, but this year we will be proud to welcome the Euro-African program, previously of Paris, to Reims.
Housing: Every newbie Sciences Piste inevitably arrives at the endless dilemma.
The closeness of Yellowhouse? The community of Residium? The convenience of TDC? The canal side view of Quai 207? For those of you brave enough to venture outside of the “Golden Triangle” (Carrefour Market >> Sciences Po >> Home), Reims is ripe with possibilities. What you’ll quickly learn is that each location has both its failings and its own (not too subtle, don’t worry) perks.
2. Administrative Registration: as personal anecdotes will no doubt attest to, completing the process of administrative registration (on time, and with your sanity still intact) remains one of the first, lets say minor hurdles to finding your way to campus in August. Again, I will refer to the statement made in paragraph three. Don’t panic. Help is available through official channels, and if there are any other questions, CYOC and the community of 2As are here to help. Keep calm, and carry on filling in the boxes.
3. Visas: If you haven’t gotten it done yet, start. Now.
4. Flights: as time ticks, so upward do the airline prices. Better get on that one.
5. Train tickets: welcome to Europe!
6. Summer reading: because there’s nothing better to accompany long summer days like fourteen chapters of the best, most calculated 16th century statesmanship from our main man Machiavelli.
For now, relax, sit back, get reading, pull out that packing list, and get ready to meet your new cohort, new campus, and your new university.
Welcome to Sciences Po, we’re happy to meet you.
The Sundial Team
The team of the Sundial Press will be recruiting reporters, journalists, editors and photographers on return to Reims in September. For more information or questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message via our Facebook page.