On May 5-6, students in Hamilton’s Junior Year in France (JYF) program visited three cities in the east of France: Nancy, Metz and Strasbourg. The trip coincided with the second round of the French presidential elections which Socialist Francois Hollande won over UMP president- elect Nicolas Sarkozy.
In the morning, several students accompanied Professor of French Martine Guyot-Bender, the JYF director, to vote in Metz, her primary residence in France. Later in the day, after a visit of the historical center of Strasbourg, they had an outside visit of the European Parliament which currently has 27 members, the European court, and the European Council. They learned about Hollande’s victory (by a smaller margin than expected) on the TGV back from the east to Paris.
During the last few months, JYF students were able to become fully acquainted with a different political and electoral system through the media, multiple courses on French and European history and politics, conversations with their host families — who are from the entire political spectrum — as well as through a series of conferences/discussions with Science Po professors who also teach for the JYF. It will be interesting for this group to witness the U.S. elections in November.
Students who took courses at Sciences Po this year included Hamilton juniors Kathy Joyce, Elaheh Nozari, Noah Ford and Jasmina Hodzic, and Josette Bockelie (Bennington College), Meriem Trabelsi (Grinnell College). More students took courses on the European Union at the Institut Catholique and through the JYF.