Sciences Po Bordeaux, Paris
Having this opportunity to conduct my first solo program evaluation was immensely impactful. It was everything I had hoped for from an immersion, both in France and professionally. I was forced to dig deep into my professional toolbox that I had been building during my time at MIIS, and not just for my work in evaluation. I called upon my intercultural and leadership training, every MPA class I had taken, lessons learned from group work, and the time management skills I struggled to develop all throughout grad school as a mom and student.
The primary reason I came to France is because my level of French had reached a level I believe I could only push past by immersing myself in a French-speaking environment. This is a perfect metaphor for the immersion I experienced professionally as well. Being marooned here, without a group to work in and bounce ideas off of, without a professor to guide me through the process, forced me to push past the level of student and trainee, and present myself as a professional, even if I still felt like the student inside. Thankfully, I did have a great IPSS advisor and my supervisor in Bordeaux was happy to help. But, I am so grateful for having been pushed to stand on my own.
I know that my work process and final product could always improve, but as a growing and learning experience, this was top.
To any future immersive learners, feel free to contact me for French visa and travel tips, or just to ask anything about the experience. I was glad to learn from others and would love to pay it forward.
Best of luck, fellow MIIS Mafia!