Go global with the FASS/Sciences Po dual degree program

8 August 2018

Aurora Hawcroft enjoying life at Sciences Po's Reims campus, just 45 minutes out of Paris
Aurora Hawcroft enjoying life at Sciences Po's Reims campus, just 45 minutes out of Paris

The first of its kind in Australia, two of the world's leading institutions for the humanities and social sciences - the University of Sydney's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Sciences Po in France- have come together to offer students a dual degree program.

One of the first of our students to come through the dual degree program, Aurora Hawcroft, recently returned from two years of study at France's distinguished research-intensive and internationally-focused Sciences Po University.

She shares the highs and lows, as well as the incredible international experiences and opportunities she gained through the program.

Why did you pick the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and Sciences Po dual degree program?

I chose the dual degree because I had heard about Sciences Po when I went on French exchange in 2015. When I saw the dual degree on offer at the University of Sydney I knew it was the one for me because I was interested in furthering my studies in French, and other cultures. I felt this program would offer me an international learning experience and give me an opportunity to apply my learning in Australia.

Which campus where you based at in France and what was your study focus?

I was based at the Reims campus, only 45 minutes by train from Paris. The Reims Campus is the biggest regional Sciences Po campus, set in a beautiful former 17th century Jesuit college. This is the home of the Euro-American program, which focuses on subjects like political science, history, sociology, law and economics with a transatlantic perspective. Even though I chose a major in economics I was able to take a broad range of classes from painting to television dystopias!

What was the most valuable skill or experience you got out of your time at Sciences Po?

While Sciences Po definitely strengthened my presentation and communication skills, the most valuable experience I had was running the 'Bureau des Arts'. As President, I lead a team that managed all cultural events on and off campus. We managed a budget, venues and organised a week-long arts festival, while also being the first port of call for all artists on campus. It was amazing learning how to lead a team of creatives and watching so many people enjoy the events we produced.

Did you learn anything that surprised you?

That there is such thing as too many chocolate croissants!

What was the most enjoyable thing about studying and living in France?

The most enjoyable thing was the experience of being in an international environment. I was the only Australian in my year, which combined with a demanding academic program was challenging and isolating at first. But, being able to overcome these challenges and foster friendships with people all over the globe has been incredibly rewarding. Now I'll always have a place to stay in the world's finest cities! In Reims, it was extremely valuable to become a part of an international community and to be able to contribute to that community.

How do you think the experience has shaped your future?

My experience at Sciences Po has without doubt put my career aspirations on an international level. I was able to attend the OECD conference in Paris as a student of this dual degree, so working in international organisations is something I aspire to now.