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The PSL Welcome Desk Lends a Hand to International Students
Welcome to Paris and PSL! Cesar, Clotilde and Maciej, who oversee PSL’s office for international students, tell you more about their own backgrounds and also about happenings during the year at PSL, including evening events, workshops, study periods and more.
The team at the PSL Welcome Desk! From left to right: Maciej, Cesar and Clotilde.
Maciej: I’m from Poland and I studied linguistics at Warwick in the U.K. for five years. I arrived in Paris in 2016 and I’m currently doing a dissertation at EPHE on ancient Greek linguistics.
Cesar: I’m from Colombia. I did academic work in various countries, including Colombia and the U.S., before coming to France in 2014 to get an MBA at ESSEC. Now I’m in the second year of a master’s program in energy at PSL because I want to continue my engineering studies, particularly in the field of renewable energy.
Clotilde: I’m French, from Paris. After joining preparatory classes for Grandes Écoles in literature at Henri IV, I’m pursuing studies in classics at the École Normale Supérieure (I even have the same mentor as Maciej!). Specifically, I’m studying ancient linguistics, doing a comparative study of ancient Slavic and ancient Greek.
Why work at the Welcome Desk?
Maciej: I like organizing events and meeting new people. But when I arrived in France, I was totally alone and I got very little help. It’s important for me to share my experiences and extend a hand to those who, like me, find it difficult when they arrive in a new country.
Clotilde: I’m on the Student Council and the Student Arts Council at ENS, and we organize a lot of events every year. I wanted to be exposed to an environment that was different from ENS. So when I saw a post on Facebook about a student position helping international students at PSL, I realized it would be a great challenge for me, since I want to practice a foreign language, like English.
Welcome Desk projects for the upcoming year
Cesar: When you arrive in Paris, having to manage everything in addition to your studies gets complicated. Dealing with the administrative formalities isn’t necessarily simple in France, and in any case every country has its own way of doing things. And the language is a big barrier! I speak Spanish, English and French, and I think that helps give students a place where they feel welcome and not so left out. There are many international students just in my master’s program at PSL alone. During Orientation Week at the beginning of September, we were able to provide orientation for international students and we organized events throughout the week. That went over very well, and it was clear that the students need more opportunities like that to get together.
2018 PSL Orientation Week: An Opportunity to Learn More about the Campus and Life in Paris
Clotilde: That’s why, in addition to the usual programs for language conversation partners, we want to increase the number of cultural events available, like visits to museums, concerts, etc.
Maciej: Cultural events but also fun events! Karaoke nights, dinners where everyone brings a dish from their own country... basically, anything that brings students together for something entertaining.
Cesar: In addition to all that, we’re also organizing workshops on specific topics. They involve things like how to deal with administrative formalities or find a student job, but also more specific topics like renewing your visa.
Clotilde: And we should point out our big innovation this year, which is that we’re also available every day of the week to answer questions from students. We’re not just organizing events; we’re also setting up an office where we can provide personalized service.
Maciej: In addition, I’d like to organize cultural trips outside Paris: to Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte. We want to show that there are some really beautiful things to see and share outside Paris!