Campus Life

Advice for 1As and Exchanges

By October 11, 2023 No Comments

Advice for 1As and Exchanges

 We’re officially six weeks into the school year, and that means you’re either ready to give up or……no, let’s face it – ready to give up. On the bright side, you’ve already made it through one-quarter of the year!

If you’re a 1A or an exchange student, we asked you to submit questions to us pertaining to academics, social life, or anything else you may want advice on. In this article, we’ve answered twelve of these questions which have probably been on every new student’s mind at some point. Whether you’ve been managing to stay afloat and maintain a good work-life balance or you’re feeling completely overwhelmed, hopefully you’ll find some of the advice below helpful.


  1.     How do I revise for the midterms?


      Make a summary of key points and concepts for each lecture (including examples – and be able to explain all of them!).

      Make a short summary of key points from readings (these are not as important as the lectures).

      Make Quizlets or flash cards with all definitions (dates of events, authors of important works, etc.).

      Do not start to revise two days before the exam – you will hate yourself for it. Starting about a week in advance reduces stress and improves your memory. Spacing out your studying leads to higher retention of information.

      Don’t overstress yourself; it can feel overwhelming, but we all make it out on the other side! Make sure you eat well, get enough sleep, and take mental health breaks.


  1.     What is some concrete advice for procrastination?


As someone who has struggled with this a lot in the past, I can gladly share some tips that have helped me improve my habits. Everyone is different and might procrastinate for different reasons, so you may not find all the advice below helpful, but hopefully at least one of these tips will give you some insight into how to stop procrastinating.


      Oftentimes, we struggle with procrastination because we feel unmotivated by the task at hand. Try to get yourself interested in the subject (even if you have to temporarily trick yourself into liking it!) Moreover, you can try watching a movie or TV show that will make you feel motivated to study (these include Gilmore Girls, Legally Blonde, Hidden Figures, The Good Wife, The Devil Wears Prada, Dead Poets Society, and many more).

      Silence your phone and put it at the other side of the room (or even in another room). Even if we don’t mean to, we often find ourselves absentmindedly reaching for our phone by habit. If you think it may be necessary, delete your social media apps the week before an important assignment or exam.

      Try to break up the work into smaller parts that are more manageable; if you’re preparing for an exam, study one to two lectures a day. If you’re writing an essay, start by just making an outline or writing your introduction. This makes the task seem far less daunting. Also, you’ll find that once you start and have accomplished a small part, you may feel motivated to do even more. The most difficult—yet crucial—part is starting.

      Think about your future self and how grateful future-you will be that you started studying or working on an assignment early. If you can’t do it for yourself, imagine that someone else is counting on you (your family member, your best friend, etc.) and that you’re doing it for them.

      Similar to the last point, imagine your dream life and/or dream job. How can you get there? What are the steps to reach that goal? Would you get there by procrastinating?

      If you’re really struggling, just stop. Sitting in front of your computer staring blankly at the screen for hours without being productive will leave you feeling worse about yourself. Take a walk and get some coffee, take a nap, take a shower, listen to music…just do something that disconnects your brain from the work and leaves you feeling refreshed and reenergized. Make sure you’re also getting enough sleep and eating right (i.e., nutritious foods) because if you’re sleep deprived or living off junk food, you’ll feel even more sluggish and unmotivated than usual.


  1.     How do I get a carte Vitale?


      The carte Vitale is the French health insurance card that allows you to be automatically reimbursed for some health costs, such as doctor’s visits. It can be used anywhere in France.

      First, you must create an account on the Ameli website.

      You need to have a French social security number in order to obtain your carte Vitale.

      Once you have received your social security number, you can order your carte Vitale on your Ameli account online (in the section « Mes démarches »  « Ma carte Vitale »  « Commander ma carte Vitale »).

      Once you’ve completed your order, you should receive the carte Vitale in the mail within 2 weeks.

      To use the carte Vitale, simply present it to your doctor when you go to an appointment. You may also be asked if you have a carte Vitale at the pharmacy in some cases.

For any further questions regarding this, you can email Anne-Charlotte Amaury, the student life coordinator:

  1.     How do the buses work?

      There are multiple ways to buy a ticket to use the buses or trams in Reims.

o   You can buy a ticket on-board the bus from the driver or from the vending machines (« Distributeurs Automatiques de Titres ») at the CITURA shop or tram stations. For example, a 1-hour ticket costs 2 euros when bought on the bus. You can recharge this ticket (at a machine, not on the bus) up to 4 times.

o   You can buy a « carte GRAND R ». This is a rechargeable card. It can be obtained by creating an account on the CITURA website and purchasing the card online for 5 euros (and then choosing which fare will be charged/loaded onto it; for instance, you can get a student subscription for 1 year or 1 month or choose to buy a bundle of 10 1-hour tickets). You can select to have the card mailed to you or pick it up at the CITURA shop in Reims (6 rue Chanzy). Alternatively, you can also buy this card for 5 euros directly at the CITURA shop (bring photo ID with you).

o   Download the CITURA app on your phone. On the app, you can buy a 1-day ticket, 1-hour ticket, 1-month subscription, 1-year subscription, etc. The ticket you buy will then be registered in the app. When you board the bus or tram, you’ll then need to scan the QR code located at the entrance to the bus/tram.


  1.     How do I know if I will be able to receive CAF benefits?


      To determine if you can receive financial aid from the CAF for your apartment (and how much), you can do a simulation on their website that will give you an estimate of how much money you can receive (this depends on how much you pay in rent as well as some other factors). Follow the steps below to do the simulation:

o   Go to

o   Click on « aides et démarches » in the upper left corner

o   Click on « accéder à mes démarches »

o   Click on « logement » then « commencer » to start

o   Answer the questions

o   Click on « calculer » to get the estimate of how much money you can receive per month

o   If you want to proceed and ask for this aid, click on « faire la demande » and create an account (« créer mon compte »)

      For a more detailed guide to the CAF procedure (in French and English):

  1.     What is the best bar in Reims?

        Saint Maurice (« St Mau »), directly across from the university, is probably the most popular among Sciences Po students. However, the Ernest Hemingway bar in the city centre also tends to be well-frequented, especially close to the summer months when the evenings are still warm enough to sit outside.

  1.     Is there anything to do in Reims?

 Many of us have skeptically asked the same question before, but yes! Apart from the many restaurants and bars in Reims, there are also several nice activities (some of which are free) to do in the city. These include:

      Watching a football game at the Stade de Reims

      Going for a stroll, bike ride, or picnic in one of Reims’s parks:

      Shopping in Rue de Vesle; this street has many big brands as well as the Galeries Lafayette

      Watching a light show at the Cathédrale Notre-Dame or the Basilique Saint-Remi

      Watching a movie at the Operaims cinema in the city centre:

      Attending a concert/ballet/opera at the beautiful Opera house:

      Ice skating at the UCPA Sport Station in the winter

      Riding the ferris wheel in the city center around Christmas time

      Going to the Christmas market (it is the 3rd largest in France, with 150 stalls!)

      Going to the Halles Boulingrin, Reims’s indoor market, to buy fresh food or just browse (see hours here:


  1.     What’s the best place to study in Reims?

      Médiathèque Jean Falala (in front of the cathedral)

      Carnegie Library

      A coffee shop, if you’re not bothered by some background noise (Bubble Coffee, Columbus, Starbucks, Emilie and the Cool Kids)

  1.     How do I find association events I want to participate in?

      The associations always post upcoming events on their Instagram pages!

      These are the main bureaux Instagram accounts:

o   @bde.scporeims

o   @bda.scporeims

o   @as.scporeims

o   @spe.scporeims

o   @rimun.scporeims

      But the smaller associations also have Instagram accounts where they post their events. Here are some of them:

o   @leterrier.scpo

o   @lemixe.scporeims

o   @leseizescpo

o   @uf.scpo

o   @period.scporeims

o   @jeuneseuropeens.reims

o   @lerosbif.init

o   @aira.scpo

o   @aspa.reims

o   @alas.scpo

o   @lastrada.sciencesporeims

0 @transatlantic_scpo

  1. Where should I go on dates in Reims?

        Food dates:

o   Le Gaulois

o   Cook House

o   IT

o   Saïgon Cà Phê

o   Pizza Sarda

o   Coffee shop (Bubble Coffee, Columbus)

o   Amorino

o   (See list of other restaurants below if you want cheaper options)

      For activity dates, see my list above of activities to do in Reims.

  1. Where are the cheapest places to eat out in Reims?

 This of course depends on what you consider cheap. Obviously, big fast-food chains are the go-to if you want a cheap meal:




      Five Pizza


However, there are some other places, including sit-down restaurants, that have reasonable prices as well:

      Anamour Grill (highly frequented by Sciences Pistes for their kebabs, you can get a kebab + fries + drink here for 7 or 8 euros)


      Pizzeria l’Antica




Additional tip: For the best deals, download the app « Too Good to Go ». Many restaurants and bakeries sell their leftover food at the end of the day for a reduced price. This reduces food waste and saves you lots of money at the same time. 

  1. Where are the cheapest places to get groceries in Reims?

      Leclerc Drive and Carrefour

 Consider this article your survival guide for the next year in Reims. If you have more questions you’d like to ask us, let us know on Instagram and we may write a second edition of this advice article next semester. Until then, good luck!

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