France: 'Totally different' study methods

March 12, 2004

Josie Kaye, 21, is taking a year out from her bachelors course in politics at Nottingham University to study at Sciences Po, the prestigious Institute of Political Science in Paris.

Bureaucracy was her first hurdle. "Really simple things are really complicated here. Finding accommodation was probably the most difficult thing I had done in my life."

Housing is her biggest expense. "I pay London prices, but get help from the French government."

Income consists of an Erasmus grant, a British student loan, an overdraft and fees from teaching children English.

She has had to adapt to totally different French study methods. "In England, we're always taught to answer in one sentence and write towards that answer; here you divide the question into two - thesis and antithesis - or you get zero marks. That was really hard to understand."

She gets less feedback and guidance from teachers than in England, but, she said, "it is the best way to learn the language".

She will resume her course in Nottingham in September but hopes to return to Paris to take a masters.

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