Thursday, March 6, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

The professors will all be mean and strict, the students unwelcoming and aloof, and the facilities less than substandard. These are just some of the preconceived notions I held, and dire warnings I was given, before my first class at Sciences Po. Needless to say, there were more than a few butterflies in my stomach as I left home this morning and made my way to campus. But much to my relief, these gloomy predictions failed to carry any weight.

From the start, I could tell that the professor would be great. He was very friendly, open to questions and suggestions, and didn't even assign the 25-page research paper I've grown accustomed to at American University, which makes him my new best friend. The only complaint I have is that he's a mumbler and a fast-talker all at the same time. A bit difficult for this foreigner to understand, but maybe it will ultimately help me improve my French. As for the students, when I asked the girl sitting next to me where I could go to print out copies of our readings, she actually walked me all the way to a computer lab and proceeded to provide invaluable advice about student life at Sciences Po. Quel service!

The facilities are less impressive, but I'll get over it. Hopefully I won't have to use the library too much, which, according to my fellow student, is miniscule and not much help. The classroom was a bit worn down, but it certainly wasn't any worse than those in the horrifically unappealing building that houses the School of International Service at American University. And while the computer lab might have been smaller than what I'm used to, because of its location at the top of seemingly endless flights of stairs, I didn't have to fight for a spot as is usually the case back home. Apparently, French students aren't interested in a side of cardio with their homework.

With my worst fears allayed, and despite the reduction of free time and the resurgence of assignments, I can honestly say that it feels good to be back in school. Now, if only I hadn't scheduled myself for an 8:00 am class on Fridays...

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