From Sciences Po to UCLA

By Margot Catteau

My experience at UCLA as an exchange student from Sciences Po is very exciting.

Concerning the class format, one very challenging thing for me as a French student is participating in class. Indeed, here you are constantly asked about your opinion, ideas and questions, and it is clearly something I am not trained to do.

I also really appreciate the unusual class format of “role playing” during some of professor Stephen Commins’  “Urbanization in the Developing World” class sessions, which requires you to be creative and proactive in  discussions.

Another enjoyable point at UCLA is the fact that we attend “only” four classes (compared to nine at Sciences Po), which give us the time to go deeper in our assignments and to really get the most out of them.

As for the content, I have to say that taking professor Vinit Mukhija’s class, “Graphic and Urban Information,” has been particularly exciting for me. We don’t have any practical design courses at Sciences Po, and this is a great opportunity to get fundamental skills in graphic conception and communication. Thanks to professor Mukhija’s enthusiasm and patience, the atmosphere in class is studious and relaxed. Everybody really gets “caught up in the game.” This course is the high point of my experience here.

Living in L.A. is an incredible experience per se. Of course, L.A. is an incredible urban experience, challenging my European vision of cities and pushing me to broaden my reflection on urban problems and solutions. I clearly realize how important it is to take into account the culture of a city before designing plans or policies for it.

But living in L.A. is also an incredible human experience. We have met so many different people with amazing personal stories! And my anecdotal advice for any future exchange student is definitely to take Uber sometimes: You cannot imagine how many crazy and interesting exchanges you can experience with Uber drivers here!