France has become a favourable destination for international students in the recent past. The French government is also offering a host of scholarships to woo international students. The following post takes a quick look at the same.
France is one of the most sought-after countries for higher education for international students. France undoubtedly possesses a strong intellectual tradition, and whether you want to experience the richness of the traditional and cultural activities, want to improve your French, or just want to try something different, there is a wide array of options for the international students in this country.
France is the 4th most popular destination for higher studies among international students across the globe, with about 300,000 foreign students currently comprising France’s student population. The opportunity to live and experience France, and relatively low tuition fee are undeniably appealing; however the quality of education is certainly of one of the strongest factor to choose France as your international study destination.
However, language can be a hurdle for many international students especially Indians. Here is a guide that gives an insight about what to expect when you reach France to study.
Higher Education System in France
Earlier, France used to have a very complicated system pertaining to diplomas and degrees. However, things have changed completely now and under the Bologna Process, the degrees offered by educational institutions are being standardized into Doctorate, Masters and License levels which correspond to Doctorate, Masters and Bachelor degrees, requiring three, two and three years respectively for completion.
As per French Higher Education System, anyone who has obtained their secondary school certificate or baccalaureate can enroll in a public university, but often there are some competitive exams which are conducted after first year to secure a one of the limited places for the second year. A large number of higher education institutions in France are funded by state, and thus the tuition fee is very nominal.
Unlike public universities, which have highly stringent entry examinations, there are some semi-private universities that do not have very stringent entry requirements but the fee is very high in such universities.
Language Requirements by French Universities
A majority of universities are now offering bilingual programs or are teaching entirely in English and these education programs are of particular appeal for the students who either want to learn or improve their French, while specializing in a different academic discipline.
However whenever you choose any university, ensure that it has English as a medium of study. But if you want to enroll in a degree program which is taught in French, you will require an intermediate level of French skills, and to prove your skills in French universities may demand you to pass Diplôme d'Études en Langue Française (DELF) exam with a B2 certificate at least. Sometimes a C1 certificate also works depending on the course.
Financial Support and Working in France
French government offers several scholarships every year to a number of international students. These scholarships are normally advertised on the official French embassies websites and French consulates across the world.
Apart from this, to help the students financially, they are allowed to work for up to 19.5 hours a week during the semesters. Though, they can work full time during their holiday period to support their expenses. The non-European students are no longer required to apply for a separate work permit, and can easily & legally work as long as they possess a residency card or a valid student visa.
Students, who have completed their Master’s degrees, can apply for a temporary work permit of six-months which allows them to find a job after the completion of their studies. However, some stringency was recently introduced in this provision and several applications were rejected.
Student Life in France
The French universities do not have the similar level of student activities as there are in other English speaking countries like UK, USA or Australia. However, there are several social events and extra-curricular activities organized by bureau(x) des étudiants (BDE) or student unions.
Most of the universities also make an active effort towards welcoming international students in France and possess international student offices, buddy programs and student associations to aid ease the transition of the students who have come from abroad. There are several other benefits that are offered to students in France including generous discounts in transportation, entertainment and food. Though eligibility criteria for these benefits may vary from place to place, but students certainly enjoy a lot of privileges.