Heather's story | Exchange in France

Heather in FranceWhat is your uWaterloo program?
Joint Honors Political Science and History

What semester(s) did you go on exchange?
Winter 2014 (my 3B term)

Where did you go?
Université Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris, France

What was the most interesting course you took? Why? (Doesn’t need to be PSCI)
Dialogue interculturel avec le monde arabe: The course looked at the relationship between the Arab world and Europe, with a particular emphasis on France. It was a completely new perspective on studying international relations that tied together elements of colonialism, religion, immigration, and security.  The highlights of the course were the ‘field trips’ we took to the Grande Mosquée de Paris and the Institut du Monde Arabe.

What was the coolest experience you had on exchange? 

The most amazing part of studying in France was being able to travel around the rest of Europe.  I visited 18 different countries in 8 months, which gave me some incredible new perspectives on the rest of the world.

How do you think going on exchange contributed to your education as a political science major?
Going on exchange forced me to adapt to an entirely different style of education and gave me an appreciation for new approaches to studying political science.  Outside the classroom, I gained a greater awareness of other cultures and global issues that I can relate back to topics I’m currently studying. 

What advice would you give to a student considering an exchange?
Do it, absolutely! Just make sure that you start planning well in advance. The International Exchange Office at UW is a wonderful resource, but depending on your host university, the whole process can take a lot of initiative and independence on your part. Be prepared to get a little homesick and deal with some bumps along the way (setting up a bank account in a foreign country is always fun), but know that the overall experience will be 100% worth it in the end.