AUP graduation ceremony at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris.

Campus

What does it mean to be an AUP student?

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Finding your place by getting lost; fitting in while standing out; the only way to completely understand what it feels like to be an AUP student is to feel the almost-tangible vibe of our school when you enter our campus. Originally, it was the academic programs and the opportunities they offer that caught my eye—well, after the initial Paris factor. I jumped at the opportunity to study international politics, in an international school, in a cosmopolitan and political hub, where some of the biggest international institutions offer internships to students. So much more than a course load goes into an educational experience, though, and I would argue that my involvement in the community, whether on-campus or off, is the most important way I’m gaining the most out of a university experience.

I remember when student leaders and staff members laid out all of the ways to get involved at AUP during the first week of school. The athletic director lures in the futsal and volleyball and basketball players along with the equestrians and those who just want to keep up on their fitness. AUP Student Media entices the up-and-coming writers, journalists, bloggers, videographers, and photographers. AUP Music and Performance draws in a crowd with their guitar melodies in the corner while the theater kids sing show tunes a few tables down. Then you have the future politicians of Debate and Politics Club and Model United Nations. The charitable clubs soak in the goodwill of volunteers who want to help Syrian refugees, children’s hospitals, low-income neighborhoods, environmental initiatives, and international NGOs. Then the gaps are filled by everything from gender and sexuality to finance and entrepreneurship to computer science then wine society and back. Now I’m one of the Student Government Association members who hosts Clubs Night for the new students as well as many other student-led initiatives throughout the year.

My favorite part though, is returning to my studio apartment after a long day on campus—walking over the Seine, the sun setting behind the Eiffel Tower. Maybe I’ll grab dinner with my friends in Le Marais or Montmartre. Maybe I’ll go home and pack for my weekend trip to Spain or Italy. Most likely I’ll go home with a baguette and some homework, but either way, I go home satisfied with another day well spent at AUP.

By Jasmine Paul