Student testimonials: Marc
- Students in the courtyard of the Reims campus (photo: Manuel Braun)
Marc is a 16 year-old high school student in Barcelona, Spain, and an alumni from the last Pre-College Programme edition. In this interview, he shares some of the highlights of his stay at Sciences Po.
What has been your experience studying in France?
"France is not so far from where I come from: it is only an hour and a half by car. However, living and studying there offered things that I just can’t find back home. The French educational system is much more devoted to reflection and critical thinking than to memorising concept and it is quite different to mine."
What did you learn at Sciences Po?
"The structure of the programme was both original and practical. We were introduced to different disciplines within the field of social sciences and had the chance to examine current issues such as European integration or peacebuilding. As an elective course, I chose to study the French language and thoroughly enjoyed the lessons.
Throughout the programme, we also explored ideas and authors that have helped me better analyze recent events in my country: in the debates surrounding Catalan independence, concepts such as nation, nation-state and self-determination are key to understanding what is at stake. One of the most important contributions of the Summer School has been the study of concepts and ideas that are relevant to my political reality."
And what about the encounters you made?
"That’s one of the things that impressed me the most - and to this day I’m still thankful for it: the programme gave me the oportunity to meet people from all around the world and I still keep in touch with many of them. We all had different nationalities, different languages, different lifestyles but the atmosphere at the Summer School couldn’t be more welcoming! We had the opportunity to feel part of one big community. Weeks after we all left, many of us still keep in touch and comment on our daily lives, on political topics or on our applications."
Retrospectively, what would you say you have gained from these two weeks?
"Looking back at these two weeks gives me an intense feeling of nostalgia. First of all, it gave meaning to the days when I was preparing my application, writing my motivations and asking for recommendation letters. I still remember the feeling of joy when I was accepted in the programme.
And it didn’t disappoint me: I gained friends, knowledge and many, many memories. I gained a whole experience that, frankly, can’t compare to anything that came before. I had never experienced such a different educational system, met people from so many nationalities or immersed myself in daily life in a different country. Now I’m back here, in Barcelona, but something has changed in my mindset and I can only be thankful to Sciences Po for that."