SciencesPo is a great school. I don't mean that from the standpoint of a student actually going to it, but from what they tell me. They keep saying how it is the best political sciences school in Europe. They tell us how 60% of all French Prime ministers and almost all of French presidents have gone to SciencesPo.
I would just like to publicly state that I have never been to a school that is more unhelpful, disorganized and just all around inconvenient. There doesn't seem to be any administration that I know of. I have no idea where the main offices are located. I don't know who to contact if I have a problem. There is no centralized office building. No, in fact, I'm going to expand that. There is not only no centralized office building but there is no centralized campus. The buildings SciencesPo uses are blocks away from each other. The fifteen minutes they give you between classes can sometimes no be enough time.
Now don't get me wrong, I absolutely love Paris. I think I'm starting to really see why I felt so homesick. It was the utter and complete lack of any semblance of competency and ownership on behalf of SciencesPo. I have not had anyone ask me how I was doing in the courses. The center for North America has not had a meeting (which they said they would host by late September). And despite how much I appreciate what the UC people in Paris have done (re housing, insurance) they have done a really crappy job letting us know who the other UC students we're here with are.
This all has led me to this conclusion. If you are going to SciencesPo either 1. be EXTREMELY proactive; 2. have a friend going with you (its better to be freaking out with someone); 3. don't go. Again, I don't want anyone to think that I am regretting my decision to come to Paris. I really am not. I have met some of the most amazing people here.
I completely lucked out with my host family. I had them over for dinner tonight. It was a lot of fun. I made them burgers which they ate. They said they liked it, so I believed them. Gerogiana and Jerome actually had seconds. Then for dessert I made Strawberry Shortcake. Oh, and they loved the idea of putting Guacamole on the burger. They hadn't ever tried that before! As they were walking out, I gave them a pint of Ben&Jerry's Cookie Dough ice cream. Georgiana said they had never tried it, and lord knows I didn't need another pint of it. So I gave it to them.
I have made some pretty amazing friends. My orientation group is filled with kids from literally all over the worlds, from both hemispheres and four continents. My roommate is this crazy, awesome, hilarious canadian.
So I guess in that respect SciencesPo is decent. It has given me the chance to make these friends and stay with that host family. But seriously... if I didn't get Michele Bonhomme and if I wasn't in that orientation group, I'm pretty sure I would have worked out how to get home for Winter and Spring quarter this year.
And it is such a shame. I absolutely love Paris. This city is so different from anywhere else I have ever been. Every metro stop is different than the one before it. Every line takes you to another world. For example, if I get off one metro stop early on the 12, I am in Africa. When I did that the other day, I got off the metro and I was literally the only white person I could see. It was really cool knowing that these little areas exist.
The weekends are fantastic here. I can go out and explore and walk down streets that were ruled by kings and invaded by Nazis and built and rebuilt for centuries. That is not like anything in the United States. But then the realization that I have to go to SciencesPo and face that law class. I am so tired of not knowing what the F*&% I am supposed to do. I'm tired of feeling like the kid in the class who showed up for his final without studying. I am tired of looking at the clock and thinking, "man, I wish I could stop time just to prevent me from going to school." It sucks that I hate this school that much. I wanted to enjoy school, to be able to tell my friends how awesome SciencesPo is. But in all honesty I can't.
Luckily I am done with classes tomorrow at 12:15PM and don't start class again until Wednesday morning.