"I am a part of Paris, Paris is a part of me."
- Vasundhara studied in the French Language Track in 2016 (photo: Siljan Tveitnes)
Vasundhara is a student at Vassar College in the United States, where she is pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in International Relations and Media Studies. She studied in the French Language Track of the University Programme in June and July 2016. She talks about why she decided to come to Sciences Po and her experience studying and living in Paris over the summer.
What led you to apply for the Sciences Po Summer School?
Ever since I was 16 years old, I’ve been hearing about this school and reading about the people who went here, so I thought I should see for myself and study some French along the way. As I am interested in politics, Sciences Po is also the ideal place to study French as the conversations in class would improve my political vocabulary and help me to talk about topics I find interesting.
How did you find the academic environment in the Summer School?
Judging Sciences Po by the quality of education I’ve received and the quality of the teachers in the Summer School - who are simply the most incredible people I’ve met -, my impression is overwhelmingly positive. It’s also fascinating how you can have a classroom with people from 20 different places across the globe and then have a discussion with them. I will never forget my first day of class when our professor asked us to simply talk about the educational systems in our own countries. There were students there from Syria, Japan, China, India, Brazil and several other countries. Within that one-hour discussion I had a first-hand account of how young people from several continents think about education.
What has been your experience living and studying in Paris?
I have lived in New Delhi and New York for a long time, so I am used to the feel of big cities. Now that I have lived in Paris for two months I have become a part of this city as well, and it has become a part of me. As you go in the metro every day you become a part of the city life and you get to see what it is actually like to be someone who lives in Paris, rather than just a tourist.
Living in Paris in this time of immense political and international confusion is quite exceptional and exciting for someone who’s studying political science, since you get to talk about and discuss these issues in a tangible manner with other engaged students and professors. Just like with the city itself, you become a part of all these things and you no longer look at them from an outsider’s point of view.
Of course, Paris’ beauty should not be forgotten. There will always be the bridges, the sunsets, and the river, the street-musicians and all the art. This city is very much alive, vibrant, and culturally complex. You will never be at a loss of things to see and discover.