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Why come to study in France in 2020?

France famous place to study

Nowadays, France is one of the most popular countries among students in the world who want to come and study in France. Every year thousands of students from all over the world come here in search of a good education and a good life. In this article, we would like to talk about the main advantages to study in France and its features. You can learn more about the process of getting an education and how to study in France.

Academic culture

When people think about studying in another country, more and more people pay attention to France, as it is the home to some universities, which are included in the rankings of the best universities in the world. The French pay great attention to higher education and make large investments in research, so French universities have an excellent reputation in the international academic environment.

The QS World University Rankings 2020 includes more than 30 French higher education institutions. The QS World University Rankings 2020 includes more than 30 French higher education institutions. Among them there are such universities as Université PSL, École Polytechnique and Sorbonne University. These universities are at the 52nd, 61st and 83rd positions respectively. French business schools are also known all over the world for their quality teaching and high competitiveness. In addition, French educational institutions are distinguished by the best education in the field of Human Sciences and Arts.

It can be argued that France is one of the few countries that welcomes foreign students from all over the world for a long time. This tradition began many years ago, or rather in 1257 – the year of the foundation of Sorbonne University. The “Sorbonne” has become one of the main educational institutions where students from all over Europe have flocked. Nowadays, the nationalities of the international students in France are not limited by European countries. Every year, more and more students from all over the world come to France in order to receive a quality and highly-valued education.

Study abroad, study in France, Sorbonne
Study in France, Sorbonne

A perfect higher education system

Foreigners often decide to study in France because the French system of higher education is very developed. It is represented by a network of 3,500 public and private institutions found throughout the country. These 3,500 institutions include several types of educational institutions: [1]

  • Publicly-funded universities

State-funded universities serve as the main academic research centers in France, offering students degrees in all disciplines. At the moment, most French universities are public. The list of these universities includes such educational institutions as Université de Strasbourg, Université de Bordeaux, Université du Havre, etc. According to data for April 2020, there are 59 universities and one National Polytechnic Institute in France. There are also a large number of state educational and research institutions.[2]

  • Grandes Écoles

“Grande école” is a higher education establishment that is separate from, but the main framework of the French public university system. “Grandes Écoles” recruit their students by competitive examinations and provide high-level education. Some “grandes écoles” are elite education institutes with highly competitive admission requirements.

  • Schools of architecture

The examples of such educational institutions are École des Beaux-Arts, École Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Paris-Belleville, École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Versailles, etc.

  • Specialized schools

There are more than 3,000 specialized schools in France that offer education in various specializations: tourism and hotel management, culinary arts, social work, design, fashion, etc.

All French universities give freedom of choice to their students and try to adapt the learning process for them. For instance, if you study in France, you will have the opportunity to attend the institution on a full and part-time basis, making the optimal schedule for yourself from the list of courses available to you. In other words, students make up their own curricula supplementing compulsory courses with elective courses. The list of courses varies depending on the profile and specificity of the university you have chosen. Theoretical training (in most cases) is organized on a lecture principle. Exams are given in writing. Students’ knowledge is assessed on a 20-point scale.

However, finding the appropriate university is generally not a big deal for potential students, because it does not matter which region of France  you are to go to., You can always find a world-class education. Moreover, some universities in France offer students to take some courses at home, using distance learning.

Career building assistance

Almost all educational institutions in France that provide higher education offer support and assistance to their students in building a professional career through internships, business cases, seminars, conferences and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Likewise, universities ensure that students get industry-specific opportunities and get to participate in various career-building workshops that include writing cover letters, networking, and preparing for interviews.

Most universities in France require students to take up internships. Internships in France tend to be full-time positions that last anywhere between one month to six months. The university will help students in all the required paperwork. The students are subject to the following rules:

  • The internship must be contractual (signed by the establishment and the structure hosting the student).
  • If the internship lasts more than two months, the student must be paid 577,50 Euros per month (1st January 2018).

Funding and guarantee of University educational programs

The French government pays great attention to education and actively finances the development of higher education in the country. The government pays a very large share of the actual cost of each student’s education. This amount varies from 10,000 to 15,000 euros per student per year.

In France, there are also various scholarships available and the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs offers extensive grants for international students.

Young people wishing to attend a French educational establishment to graduate will find there are a great number of financial opportunities awaiting them to make attending university much easier. Both loans and grants are available to students who are expecting some money to finance their educational project. In addition, the French government compensate for some of the costs of attending university in the country, making it a wise financial choice to attend a college in France. Tuition costs in the country are far lower than in other areas. Combined with the remarkable institutions and learning capabilities in the country, studying in France has a multitude of advantages and benefits that are sure to be appreciated.

A large selection of educational programs taught in English

International students often face language barriers when choosing a university or educational programme in France. But, there is a solution – you do not need to know French to study in France. If you look at the French education system in more detail, you can find a suitable program in English at almost any institution in the country. France is also the 1st non-English speaking host country for students in international mobility. At present, there are more than 1,500 educational programmes in English in France, which are attended not only by international students, but also by native French.

France is one of the world’s top economic powers

In the ranking of European countries by the volume of GDP France took 3rd place in 2019. Moreover, France ranks second among European countries by market volume. This data shows that France is a country with a high standard of living, which is necessary to ensure a decent level of education.

A foreign student in France is not different from a local student. For example, they receive the same transport and meal benefits in university canteens as locals, as well as preferential medical care. The state may also partially subsidize the cost of living for the student.

Paradoxically, studying in France is cheaper than in other popular student countries, such as the United Kingdom and the United States. If you are from an EU country, you will not have to pay more than local students to study in France.

Other advantages that make it plausible to attend college and study in France include the cost of living in the country. Survival in France is much more affordable than in many other countries. An example of a more expensive country is again the United States. Costs are exponentially lower for almost everything, whether it’s housing, food, or even entertainment.

An attractive destination for students

According to UNESCO data for 2016, France ranks 4th in the world for the hospitality of international students, after US, the UK and Australia. In 2016 France welcomed 325,000 foreign students. Following the decision of the French president, France intends to improve its cooperation agreements and attract more international students and researchers, and host them in better conditions as well. To this regard, the confirmation of the extension of mobility scholarships is excellent news. In accordance to the decisions taken by the French President, the government aims to improve the international cooperation agreement in education, attract more and more foreign students and specialists, and improve the conditions for them.

France, a place for International students
France, International students

Top cities for study in France

France has some of the best cities that have been recognized as some of the best in the world for university studies and for student accommodation. France offers a combination of the best universities with quality education and a high standard of living. Below are some examples of the best cities to study in France and they are also the most popular cities in France for French and international students: Lille, Nantes, Paris, Toulouse, Grenoble, to name just quite a few.

A hospitable and pleasant environment and easy adaptation

France is the country where you will always be welcomed with open arms. You can be sure that the process of adaptation to a new environment and new society will not cause you serious problems and will not allow you feel out of place. France is famous for its diversity and the possibility of choosing a place to live and learn that is right for you. Of course, there is always the fear of something new and unknown, especially when you come from a completely different country with a different culture and lifestyle. But you should not be afraid of changes, because France is a multinational country that has already become home for many people from all over the world. You can easily mingle and feel at home.

Accommodation, Study in France and stay in a decent flat
Accommodation, France, Study in France

Accommodation for students in France

Many educational institutions in France have their own residences and provide students with free or very budget accommodation. If there is no residence, students can find and rent accommodation on their own, although most institutions are willing to assist applicants from other countries. Also, we can use the services of hotels, rent apartments, or rent a housing with your classmates. Living with a roommate is a very common type of accommodation for foreign students in France. First of all, this is a great chance to save some money on rent, as well as a great opportunity to find people who will help you adapt to a new country faster.

The average cost of housing for students in France varies from 250 to 700 euros per month. Of course, these are not exact prices and you can easily find a suitable accommodation for you at a lower cost. However, the main factors that affect the cost of housing are the type of accommodation that you have chosen and the region in which you want to live.

If a student rents a room or apartment on his or her own, the government may cover part of the rent. This fact is another important advantage of obtaining higher education in France. For instanсe, if you are a low-income student and have a valid resident permit, there is a possibility that you will be able to get a benefit that can reach large amounts of money. You can use the services of several programs that deal with these issues. The most popular programs are the APS program and the APL program offered by CAF or the French state assistance fund for families. The amount of financial assistance is always calculated individually and depends on many different factors.

Generally, the average monthly student budget in France is around 1,000 euro in Paris and 800 euro outside of the city.

An opportunity to learn an international language

French is the one of the most widespread languages in the world, more than 75 million people use it as their mother tongue and there are more than 270 million French speakers all over the world. Also, French is the second most studied language after English and it is the official language of international organizations such as the United Nations, UNESCO, etc.

If you study in France, you have the unique chance to learn this language and be completely immersed in the French-speaking society. You have the perfect opportunity to practice your French skills with native speakers every day. This is one of the best and fastest ways to learn any foreign language. Even if you have chosen an educational programme at university in English, you can always attend French courses at your university. Knowledge of French will open up a whole range of new opportunities for you.

A rich culture

Living in France means absorbing the unique culture of that country every day. As a student at a French university, you can spend a Saturday afternoon in one of the many art galleries and in the evening go to a live music concert. In addition, here you will get to know real French cuisine.

Study in France and visit museums. Le Louvre
Study in France, Louvre Museum.

The capital of France is on the list of the best cities to study. Paris is an educational and cultural centre for students from all over the world. It easily combines beautiful architecture, centuries-old history, numerous historical monuments and a vibrant nightlife that is an integral part of student life. France is the epitome of culture, history and all the arts.

A variety of entertainment and recreational activities

If you are a French student you have many privileges that you can use when choosing your leisure time. For example, student status entitles you to substantial discounts when visiting the many attractions of France, whether you are in Paris or a provincial city.

 What is more, it is important that you can find the appropriate entertainment for you at any time of year. In winter it can be such activities as skiing or snowboarding in the Alps, and in summer you can go to the coast and enjoy the weekend at the beach.

Étretat beach. Education in France
Étretat beach in Normandy, Education in France

Accumulated experience

After studying at a French University, you will most likely be practically bilingual. This skill will be very useful in a country like the United Kingdom, where so few people speak any second European language properly. In addition, if you want to get a job with international prospects and travel, in this case, experience of living in at least two countries for a long time is always a bonus to any resume. In addition, compared to other European countries, it is relatively easy for foreign students to start their career in France after graduation. But unfortunately, French is also one of the biggest hurdles if you plan to stay after completing your bachelor’s or master’s degree in France. To find a job, you will almost inevitably have to be fluent, or at least almost fluent, in French.

Two years after graduation work permit

Students who have already obtained a master’s degree after studying in France are entitled to apply for a one-time non-renewable temporary residence permit called APS (Authorization Provisoire de séjour). This permit is valid for 12 months. Under the new scheme called “second residence permit”, this period can be doubled to 24 months. Students who have received work related to their academic program can apply for day jobs by completing an application for change of status (from student to employee) in their application.

Specialist support

The process of admission to a French university may seem complex, as the requirements differ for nationals of different countries. In general, you must first pass the exam at the French Embassy in your country, only then you are eligible to apply. Sometimes the university also requires additional documents to continue the application process. As a rule, there is also a requirement to take a standardized exam. Once you have received your letter of acceptance and application, you can apply for a visa. If you find the application process too complicated for you, you can always use study abroad counsellors to help you. They are usually inexpensive. They can help you apply for a visa, collect all the necessary documents for admission, help with finding housing and moving. They also provide services after you move to France, which will greatly help make your life much easier in the new country.

The possible difficulties of studying in France

Most student reviews and comments show that an opportunity to study in France is generally an enriching experience. However, there can always be some problems there are, which should be taken into account by incoming students.

As mentioned earlier, France is not an English-speaking country and most of the French population speaks only French. The problem is not that people are illiterate or cannot speak English in France, that is not the case. It’s just that English is not so common in the country. In non-English-speaking countries like France, not everyone can or will communicate in English. Waiters, shopkeepers or employers do not prefer English as the language of communication. But, do not be afraid of it, because if you want, you can always find a common language with people and communicate with them.

Learning French can be a problem if you want to work part-time, combining work with or after school. Accordingly, the question is how to find a job that requires only English in the French country? Of course, you will spend a lot of time looking for the appropriate option for you, but nothing is impossible. If you are a little optimistic, then this problem can be turned into an advantage and solved in another way. Even with a low level of French you can get a job and get a great opportunity to learn and practice a new language.

Prospects for the future

Obviously, making the decision to study in another country is a serious issue. But if you choose to study in France, eventually, you will have a lot of new opportunities, such as exploring this country and all other things that we have already discussed before. But still, the main advantage remains the education that you get. It will allow you to become not only a graduate, but also a professional in your field, which will be highly appreciated as an international labour market.

COVID 19: Considering the present COVID 19 situation in France at the time when this article was written (August 2020).
Ensure that the above information does not interfere with the requirements imposed by the French Government at the time you consider leaving your country to move to France to study.

If you consider you should learn the language or improve your linguistic skills before coming to France, the best way to study in France is to do it with a native.

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