« I am a happy man » a happy recipient of the Boutmy scholarship in Le Havre

Mahendra Dewasi

« I am a happy man » says enthusiastically Mahendra Dewasi, a 21 years-old Indian, recipient of the highly selective Emile Boutmy Scholarship and second year undergraduate student at Sciences Po College Europe-Asia in Le Havre.

"Coming from a very modest family like mine and being able to study at Sciences Po, France’s leading university in social sciences, is like a dream come true", says Mahendra whose parents come from a small village in the Rajasthan province of Northwest India.

A dream that began at the age of 15, when he won a scholarship from the Singapore Ministry of Education to follow the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP). It was a unique experience during which he appreciated the dynamism of Singapore’s educational system and first opened himself up to the world, instilling in him a taste for discovering new cultures.

"I wanted to come to Europe and especially to France since I had always been a big admirer of French culture and since I also wanted to learn French", he explains, before adding: "when you learn a foreign language, it helps you understand better your own language".

A dream that was achieved in 2011 when, thanks to the Emile Boutmy scholarship, Mahendra came to Sciences Po College Europe-Asia in Le Havre to pursue his three year undergraduate programme.

Mahendra Dewasi, a happy recipient of the Boutmy scholarship in Le Havre

The Emile Boutmy scholarship was named after the founder of Sciences Po (1871) and created in 2004 in order to attract the very best international students from outside of the European Union. An innovative initiative made possible by Sciences Po's strategic will to welcome talents from all over the world, and which has benefited 323 students in 2012-2013, a 520% increase in comparison with the 62 recipients from its first year (2004-2005). American, Chinese, and Indian students represent the top nationalities among the Emile Boutmy scholarship recipients.

Mahendra was seduced by Sciences Po's prestige and multidisciplinary curriculum in social sciences, a totally new intellectual area for a student whose idea of a good job before entering Sciences Po meant working in economics or finance but definitively not in politics. He feels very much at ease at Sciences Po's College Europe-Asia in Le Havre, not only because of its specific programme tailored made for Asian and European students but also because of its human-size campus. "This is like family here. All the people have been so kind to me", he says.

Launched in 2007, Sciences Po College Europe-Asia in Le Havre currently welcomes 200 students from 32 countries and offers an English-taught undergraduate programme centred around the relationship and exchanges between Europe and Asia. Located 2 hours by train from Paris, the campus has just moved into brand new and modern facilities on docks facing the Sea of Normandy.

A perfect spot for Mahendra to learn how to cook French "crêpes", one of the local culinary specialties, which he does every week-end at la crêperie "Au petit Breton" where he works as an extra, in order "to be financially independent and not to weigh on his parents' shoulders", in addition to teaching English classes 6 hours-a-week at the Wall Street Institute.

"More than a professional experience, this has been a fantastic human experience for me since it gave me the values of education and money", he says.