Planning to study in France? There are so many reasons that make studying in France very appealing. Schools with great reputations, interesting and intellectual student life, as well as a rich and unique culture, make it one of the most popular countries to study in the world.
There are challenges to navigate, as with every other major study destination, but if you research and get prepared – the experience will be truly rewarding. For example, whilst the younger generation speaks English, French is widely used day-to-day – from grocery shopping to dealing with administration. However, it will mean that you might even be able to speak French when you graduate. If you intend to work in the country when you graduate, speaking French is definitely a must. But speaking the language can give you a great leg up no matter which field you study in. With 274 million speakers, French is the world’s fifth most widely used language. It is also one of the UN official languages and world’s third most used business language.
#1 Work Opportunities in France
Graduating from a university programme in France means that you’ll be in a great position. France is home to many of the world’s 500 largest corporations and its industrial groups are leaders in their sector with very impressive global operations – including Airbus (aeronautics); Sanofi (health); Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton (luxury goods); and Danone (food products).
Many universities partner with these companies, as well as innovative startups in the country. In fact, Spotify’s biggest competitor in Europe is the French company Deezer.
That said, the unemployment rate in France today is at 9,1% (November 2018). The top industries such as engineering, IT, computer science, web design, sales are going strong. However, you might find it difficult if you are looking to join industries such as social sciences, architecture, marketing or journalism – especially if you don’t speak French.
#2 Student Life in France: On Campus
France used to have a complicated system of degrees and diplomas but are now being standardised to Bachelor, Master and Doctorate degrees. A lot of schools are state-funded, but business schools are mostly privately owned.
There is also a system of elite schools called the grandes écoles – which can be compared to graduate schools. This includes some top institutions such as Audencia Business School, Central Nantes School of Management and IESEG School of Management.
If you also prefer to study in English whilst in France, you’ll also be happy to know that schools in France today are making a larger effort now to offer programmes in English. And with a large percentage of students coming from around Europe and abroad, there is also a lot of diversity on campus. Plus, you can expect lots of activities and events organized by student unions.
#3 Student Life in France: Off Campus
Students in France also never fail to travel around the region. Just like other European and Schengen countries, students get access to many discounts on rail passes and other travel opportunities. You might even get opportunities to travel as part of your programme or internship.
You’ll also be surrounded by testaments of France’s long history and wonderful heritage. There are more than a thousand of museums throughout the country, for example. From hundreds of castles and medieval towns, you’ll also get to experience paintings from the greatest artists such as Monet, Gauguin and Renoir.
Plus if you get the chance to study in, or near, the capital city of Paris you’ll never be too far away from an exciting contemporary social life. Paris has it all, and it is one of the most majestic capital cities in the entire world. You can’t miss The Louvre, Notre Dame de Paris, Montmartre, the Musée d’Orsay, Versailles, and the hundreds of exhibitions.
#4 Cost of Living for students
Depending on where you study in France and the type of accommodation, the average student in France spends about €600-800 a month. Living in student halls mean you can expect to pay between €150-350. However, in Paris, a student lodging is around €400 and up to €800 if you’re in private apartments.
Transportation also varies from city to city. There are usually discounts for students as well, which comes down to around €50 per month. Food isn’t a big a problem either. Prices at a restau-u (restaurants in the university) are great for students. You can even find complete meals for €3.50.
#5 Study in France: Visa Information
Here’s the good news – especially if you’re outside the EU! France is making an effort to recruit international students now, so the French government has simplified the Visa process. So if you live in one of the 41 countries of the “Study in France” procedure, you now have a single online service to help you. Your visa application will automatically be transferred to the French consular authorities in your country of residence through this platform.
Don’t live in one of those countries? You can contact the French consular authorities in your country of residence to help.
The VLS-TS (”Visa long séjour valant titre de séjour”) visa allows you to stay in France for three months to one year for studies in higher education. With it, you can benefit from VISALE, the free rental deposit service for students and receive housing subsidy with the CAF.
This is just a taste of all the amazing things you can expect from student life in France. Want to learn more about what you can expect from schools there? Check out the different schools and programmes available in France, and discover even more reasons you should plan to study in there!