NYU Stern

Sciences Po: Student Feedback

Wei Peng

Wei Peng

Best part of my IBEX experience:
Being able to travel on budget and meeting people from all over the world. Since everyone comes from various backgrounds, there is always something to talk about.

You might be interested to know:
I chose Sciences Po because it's located in a city much like NYU, but [it operates] at a completely different pace than a business school.

If you go, you must...:
Try the baguette sandwiches at the Sciences Po cafeteria and witness a mass service in the Notre Dame Cathedral on Sunday night since the choir is angelic.

What I would say to students interested in participating in IBEX:
Definitely apply! It's a great chance to experience different cultures and travel.

Contact me about IBEX Sciences Po:
Wei Peng - wp454@stern.nyu.edu


Student Profile

Name: L. ‘Esmeralda’ Martinez


L. ‘Esmeralda’ Martinez

Highlight of my semester abroad:
I loved making international and French friends while I traveled. I visited a few in their hometowns and still keep in touch with them!

You might be interested to know:
This was my third semester abroad; I was at NYU Florence for Fall 2011 and Spring 2013. I’m still going to graduate on time with a double major because of my ridiculously careful planning.

My career goal:
Eventually, I want to own my own international business, possibly in the travel sector.

What I would say to students interested in participating in IBEX:
Do it! It’s going to take you out of your comfort zone and be one of the best experiences of your life.

Feedback from Students


"Open a checking account as soon as you get there. It takes at least 1 week for it to be working, and bills are paid through this account (direct debit)."

"I handled my expenses with an American checking account. I recommend setting up a French bank account, it would have been beneficial."

"Luckily, Bank of America is part of an international ATM alliance which allowed me to draw Euros from BNP Paribas and use a travel card that did not incur exchange fees. I also opened a French bank account since most phone plans required one. Definitely do not open one with LCL since they promised a 100 euro bonus for opening an account, but never fulfilled this promise. Societe Generale had better reviews overall."

Expenses (in USD)

Air ticket to/from IBEX site: $1,300
Housing: $3,800 for the semester
Food: $125/week
Books: $50
Local transportation: $20/week
Phone: $80-120/month (5 Euros calling card can talk to the US for more than 2 hours)

"There is a mandatory fee to receive access to the French healthcare system.  There is also a fee for a welcome program, which is highly recommended."

Living Issues

"Student life is great. The guys in the program had a constant soccer game every Sunday afternoon. Our group of friends were about 20% Americans, 30% French and the rest international students from all over. It was very easy to meet students from the host country."

"The orientation program was the easiest venue to meet people, along with language and sports classes."

"Student life around the university was very exciting.  Sciences Po offers sports classes and many clubs. Some clubs throw social events which are actually very fun."

"Not much student life for exchange students, besides the International Student Council. All associations go through a strict approval process to gain status at the school, so there are limited clubs. However, sports and language classes are a great way to meet local students."

"I had a monthly plan with B-n-you (the mobile subsidiary of Bouygues Telecom company) which allowed me unlimited calls within France and to the US."

"I did not like printing things at Sciences Po.  Sciences Po gives you 600 free pages of printing, but you can only print through a desktop in the library, which are almost always full.  There is also never study space on campus since all the tables are usually full by 9:30am unless you wait for someone to leave."


"I lived in an apartment which I shared with a professor from University of Paris. There was a cafe at Sciences Po with food for purchase. There were also student restaurants around Paris that serve lunch and dinner for around 4 euros. Other meals I ate out or prepared myself.  I found my apartment on craigslist after arriving in Paris, while staying at a hostel. There is sufficient supply for housing in Paris, but there is extreme demand so finding accomodation is very competitive and can be difficult to do prior to arrival."

"Rented my own studio, no meal plan, went to the supermarket, bought food, and learned how to cook. Great experience, very satisfied, everybody in the program is on the same boat, so we all help each other out, go to each other's houses for dinner parties, etc."


"The registration process at Sciences Po is extremely competitive. Most courses fill up within a matter of seconds (not an exaggeration), especially electives.  My classes were confirmed ahead of time. If you had serious schedule issues, the administration is able to help you if you request changes promptly after registration."

"Classes fill up after five minutes, so you have to register the second your time opens up with a lot of backup options."

"My favorite class was "The Business of Wine in France and the World." It was extremely enjoyable to learn about wine and the wine industry, and a very social classroom environment. I do not recommend "International Economic Negotiation" as although the professor was very knowlegable, the course lacked structure or concrete objectives."

"All the courses I took at Sciences Po were quite memorable and expanded my perspective, but Social Policies in Europe with Bruno Palier definitely stood out. I had gone into this class with no prior knowledge or any expectations, but Professor Palier made the class worthwhile. An integral member active in the discussion of European welfare states, Professor Palier was extremely knowledgeable, drawing relatable examples from the home countries of our multinational classroom. Furthermore, this class provided an extensive overview of the development of the welfare state and put into perspective, the state that United States sits at in comparison to the Northern European countries.  The Business of Wine was another one of my favorites. Despite its focus on wine, this course really put wine into perspective on the world level and how France is competing with its New World winemakers."

"Sciences Po offers a great variety of subjects which is beneficial if you are looking to use elective credits. The system focuses largely on papers and presentations, so it helps develop those skills.  Many business, economics, or finance related/focused courses are meant for students without much prior knowlege of the subject, so they often cover material already covered in Stern's core classes.  Most courses are politically or policy focused, and not mathematically or technically focused. Workloads from class-to-class are much less than for Stern classes, but most courses require 15-20 page papers at least once per semester.  Grading works on a 0-20 scale in which the average grade is 12-15, and 9 or 10 merits a pass. Grades above 16 are very difficult to achieve."

"Knowledge of your progress in class is nonexistent.  I received one grade back across all 5 of my courses throughout the semester.  The workload is comparable but not as evenly distributed.  Most courses only involve two components (one paper and one final) which would both be due towards the end of the semester so everything usually piles up in the end. The program is also more demanding on written skills since most papers were more similar to dissertations. The grading system is set up completely differently on a scale from 0 to 20 with 10 as a passing grade, no alphabetical grading scales."

"Favorite class was “Constructing the Europe of Universities” (in French), which was an extremely interesting course about integration of research, students, and knowledge in a globalized and in the E.U. world. The quality of instruction is advanced for the most part, the grading system is comparable to Stern, with the difference that less work is given (homework is rare apart form papers and tests). Strengths include a political aspect to the business world, the professors, the tightly-knit group that is put together for the program driving of students from all over the globe, and the interactions that come from the program. The main weakness is the limitation on what courses you are permitted to take in the program (such as the economics courses) which may overlap with something we have already done in Stern (Organizational behavior = MOA in Stern)."

Travel Tips

"I traveled about half of the weekends I was abroad.  It was very easy, but discount flights from Paris often leave from Beauvais, which is logistically more complicated.  I recommend booking train and air tickets as far in advance as possible.  Travelling within France is often as expensive as travelling to other countries.  Most phones don't work outside of France without purchasing extra calling credit."

"I traveled once to twice a month. Cheap airfare is readily available and the rail/bus system is very well connected throughout.  Just book early to apply discounts and receive cheaper rates.  Also, be alert to the random strikes that occur throughout Europe. Be ready for cancelled flights within 24 hours and arranging alternative means of transportation."

"Low cost airlines are much cheaper there. No trains are needed anymore in Europe. You can buy round-trip plane tickets to London, South of France and other destinations for less than $100. Flew to Stockholm for $60. Very easy to travel around."

"The officers monitoring the metro system are extremely strict and always check tickets, so do not throw out metro tickets on the metro. Fines are upwards of 30 euros if you are caught without a ticket."

Career Development

"The school did provide a career fair that was mainly conducted in French.  Junior Consulting is also a great opportunity, it is an association that consults for local businesses."