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GECD establishes exchange with Sciences Po in Paris

This article first appeared in the January 2011 issue of the DUE Newsletter.

The Office of Global Education and Career Development (GECD) has announced the formation of a new exchange program with the prestigious Institut d'Études Politiques in Paris. The Institut, known as Sciences Po, is a major research university in the social sciences with a demonstrated commitment to international teaching and learning.

Previously, MIT professors, including Suzanne Berger and Kathleen Thelen of the Department of Political Sciences, have taught at Sciences Po, and MIT graduate students and undergraduates have gone there to conduct research or take classes exploring French language and culture. The new exchange simplifies the process for undergraduates (mainly those in political science) to study for a semester or year at Sciences Po, taking courses offered in both French and English, in their major and beyond.

Additionally, the Institute community is enriched by the presence of Sciences Po students, who contribute their unique point of view in MIT's classrooms, labs and clubs.

Elsa Lamy, one of the Sciences Po students spending this year at MIT, "brought an international perspective to our conversations about American history from which all the other students benefited," said history professor Meg Jacobs. Lamy herself remarked on how welcoming the diverse MIT population has been, and added how pleased she is with “MIT’s flexibility and responsiveness to the students’ needs.”

Sciences Po offers a more regimented core of courses, which strengthens key competencies and encourages more independent learning. Students who participate in the exchange report that what is most beneficial — and often most challenging — is experiencing these multiple perspectives and considering alternate ways of doing things.

“It wasn’t always easy,” said MIT senior Alison McKenzie, who studied at Sciences Po last spring. “But it was definitely worth it.”

For more information on study abroad or the Sciences Po exchange, contact GECD at

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