"I long fantasized about studying in France"
- Youstine Faltas
Interview with Youstine Faltas, a new student in the Sciences Po-Columbia dual Bachelor degree programme.
Youstine Faltas was born and raised in Cairo. During the summer of 2012, he moved with his family to the United States. He attended a secondary school there, switching from the Egyptian and French Baccalaureate to the IB programme in English.
When asked about the reasons he applied for the Sciences Po-Columbia University dual BA degree, he says that this programme is an opportunity for him to “fulfill [his] aspiration to study Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Affairs in South of France and New York City, another city [he has] fallen in love with.”
Why did you apply for the Sciences Po - Columbia University dual degree?
At that time I was enrolled in my Jesuit school in Cairo, as a BAC student who was interested in humanities, politics and social sciences. I had often fantasized about studying in France. I used to have lengthy discussions about the international political scene and the political situation in Egypt with friends who are currently doctoral students at Sciences Po. Based on the resources they had and the methodology that I’ve seen them develop at Sciences Po, that vague dream of studying in France became much clearer and, before long, I knew what my top choice in Europe would be.
When I moved to the US, I went through the typical process of looking at American universities and I was particularly impressed by Columbia. This was because of various reasons, like its location in Manhattan (which reminded me a little of Cairo), its prestige, its quality of education, its renowned core curriculum as well as the atmosphere. I started my application, I still hadn’t forgotten my dream of studying in France and Sciences Po but I figured I had to be realistic. I was about to send in my application when a visit to the career center at Robinson Secondary completely changed my perspective. I was astonished to hear the counselor explain how my childhood European dream institution, Sciences Po, and my uncontested top choice in the U.S., Columbia, had a dual degree program.
This dual degree is offered on the Reims, the Menton and the Le Havre campuses. Why did you choose the Sciences Po campus in Menton?
Due to my background and personal experience, coming from the Middle East, eager to be a part of the solution in the region and aiming for a more global and understanding inter-social dynamic, Menton’s Mediterranean and Middle Eastern focus was the obvious choice, especially due to my prior knowledge of several Arabic dialects.
The admission procedure for this dual degree includes a 30-minute conversation with representatives from Sciences Po and Columbia. How did it go during this interview? What questions were you asked?
The questions started in a traditional manner; the interviewers asked about my extra curricular activities, my involvement in academic, athletic and musical groups. They then asked about political literature I was familiar with; I remember quoting a line from the Social Contract by Rousseau. We then went on to talk about current events; which included the escalation of the political and social situation after the disastrous Charlie Hebdo attacks, as well as their implications and repercussions. Then we switched roles and they answered my questions about the programme and Menton.
What are your plans for the summer?
I am currently interning in a non-profit organisation near DC; I do translation work, political reports, corporate research and other basic intern tasks. I have been exploring DC as much as possible, meeting up with people to jam or perform in the streets. I am also currently working on a movie that we will be filming over the summer. Meanwhile I’m trying to meet up with as many people as I can from the Dual BA programme before leaving; many of them live in Metro Area.