France is one of the largest countries in Europe and is ringed by six countries with a host of universities and colleges. These countries are Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium in the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the southeast and Spain to the southwest. Across the English Channel from France lies Great Britain. France is also considered to be the gateway to Europe and has a number of international airports, ferry services and rail routes that connect it to the continent.
The country ranks among the most popular travel destinations in the world. It has a number of amazing sights to see and boasts of cuisines only found in this part of the world. There are also some amazing natural and man-made spots for travellers to visit. The country has some of the best art galleries and museums in the world and has been a centre of art and literature through the years.
France also has some of the most amazing landscapes in the world. The beaches and coastlines of Brittany and Normandy are full of picturesque granite cliffs and wide bays. The countryside in this region is something right out of a postcard. The country has rain through the year intermittently and winters often bring snow, the rest of the year finds the temperature variable. The Pays-de la Loire region, south of Brittany and Normandy, is absolutely spectacular in its verdant bounty. The Atlantic coast has some amazing beaches with azure waters and has warm summers and mild winters. The South of France is one of the most popular regions of the country and is also the most expensive and busy areas there. This region has some of the plushest resorts in the world. Central France is also known as the heart of France and is densely populated. It is one of the main wine-producing regions in the world, with its wines being savoured around the world.
France has a long and chequered history. The same is represented in the many museums and artworks dotting the cities of the country. The country has over 60 million residents and Paris is its capital. Paris is known as one of the most stylish cities in the world and is home to iconic monuments like the Eiffel Tower and the widely acclaimed Louvre museum. The country has a rich culture and it is reflected in its population which is courteous and well-mannered. The French are very particular about their appearance and take great pride in their high sense of aesthetics. French and English are the most popular languages in the country.
While at one point France might have been an agrarian society, much has changed in the country. France is home to a variety of industry and businesses, however, it is interesting to note that 35% of all the land in the country is occupied by orchards and vineyards. One of the leading producers of wine in the world, France also has a thriving forestry and fishing industry. Industries like equipment and machine manufacturing as well as the mining of iron and coal have also become quite prominent. Tourism, however, is a large part of the economy of France.
France also is home to some of the best universities in Europe and arguably the world. The education system is well-regulated and monitored leading to some of the most advanced and cutting edge curriculums around. The country has a great public transport system and is clean with a modern infrastructure that blends seamlessly with its old cultural roots. The country provides students with a complete blend of great education, robust economy and industry, along with a lifestyle that will prepare you to be a world citizen.
A hugely sought after education destination, France has been inviting an increasing number of students to study in its universities from all over the world. The country is best known for its modern technological advancements, culture and highly reputed education system. Degrees from French universities are accepted around the world. The country has always been ahead of the curve in terms of subjects like mathematics, biology, medicine, genetics and physics among many others. The country has a strong track record in contributing to science and research. Something that reflects in the increasing number of students flocking to French shores for bettering their career prospects.
France has a selection of some amazing universities also called the Grandes Écoles, or Grand Schools, which are outside of the main university framework. These institutions are highly selective and have earned the reputation of churning out champions in a variety of fields. These universities give admission only to a select few hundred students every year. The entrance tests to these schools are intensive and require a student to have studied a two-year preparatory programme called CPGE, or the Classes préparatoires aux Grandes Écoles.
Over and above these highly select group of schools, France has a number of well-recognized and prestigious universities and colleges. The country offers degrees for students in a variety of fields in a number of categories. Be it for a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree or even a doctorate or a diploma, French universities have the perfect course for you. The first French university, La Sorbonne was established over 800 years ago, ever since then France has been welcoming international students from across the world.
Foreign students can apply to as many as 20 universities with a single application online. France has over 3500 institutes of higher education including over 80 publically-funded universities, innumerable architecture schools, and a multitude of interesting courses to choose from including culinary arts, social work, tourism, over and above the usual engineering, sciences and business programmes. There are also a lot of loans and grants available for students who want to study in French universities. The country has a number of amazing programmes for every level, be it master’s, bachelor’s, doctoral degrees or even diplomas.
France has a far more reasonable cost of living than other places across Europe. The French government also helps a certain amount of students with their accommodation and other costs. Because of France’s EU status it makes it easier for students to travel around the continent to broaden their horizons. Most French universities and even some Grandes Écoles universities are using English as a medium for education. This holds true especially for courses in management, Engineering, political sciences etc. Moreover, French is also taught in this schools to ensure that students do not suffer due to the lack of their grasp over the language.
France offers an incomparable cultural and educational experience to students. It is also a hub for IT and its IT sector ranks second in the world. France also monitors Europe’s space program and the launch and observation of dozens of satellites. The country offers students a mix of state-of-the-art learning infrastructure along with centuries old traditions unlike anywhere else in Europe. The country boasts of a strong economy and a stable political system which make it perfect for any student looking to make a life in France.
The French education system has a highly systematic and organized structure. There are three main stages of education in France, much like India – primary, secondary and higher education. School starts at the age of three for children in France and is compulsory till they are 16 years of age. France’s BEPC is equivalent to the tenth standard for Indians and their baccalaureate is equivalent to the 12th standard for Indians.
Higher education is highly accessible for both, local and international students. The publically funded universities as well as the Grandes Écoles offer a very high standard of education. There are a number of courses a student can opt for, mathematics, physics, technology, computer technology, IT are just a few that are the most sought after. Even courses in languages, literature, arts, social sciences, law, economics and business management are hugely popular among international students. There are over 300 Grandes Écoles universities in France, each of them being extremely sought after and providing students the absolute best education they deserve.
The academic year in France begins in September or October, but this depends on the university and the programme you are opting for. Lectures take place in halls seating 100 to 1000 students, however, most universities ensure that the class size is kept manageable so that each student is given enough attention by the teachers. These lectures are also given to students in the form of pamphlets, since the lectures are not mandatory, and come in handy when exam season is near. Practical classes or labs are considered mandatory in most universities and help students become more familiar with the implementation of what they have learnt in the course.
Universities conduct an ongoing assessment which regularly evaluates what the students have learnt through the year. Over and above these regular tests there are also exams which are conducted about twice a year at the end of each semester. Provided your course is in English you do not need knowledge of the French language, but if your courses are in French you will need to have documents attesting your French capabilities. Level B1 or B2 should suffice for both, bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
The French are passionate about making sure that all the students coming to their shores are given the best education possible. Keeping this in mind, they ensure that all their universities have course material that is comparable with the best in the world. The faculties are some of the best around and the research and lab facilities are absolutely top notch. The bachelor degrees are open to all the students who have finished the baccalaureates, or 12th standard. France excels in providing education in the following fields, international law, sciences, medicine, pharmacology, sociology, geography and linguistics.
Application to the university in France can be either in physical format or online. We, at Rao Consultants help you find the right application form and guide you in filling it. The application will require you to have on hand transcripts from all the institutions that you have attended in the past. This includes both, high school transcripts and those from any colleges that you may have studied at. These transcripts also need to be attested, or notarized, by a relevant authority.
International students will also be required to submit a copy of their passports along with a passport sized photograph. Some colleges also require essays to be written as a part of the application process. The essay is used to assess an essential part of your skill set and it plays a big role in the acceptance or denial of your application. The essays could be on a variety of topics and wold almost always require you to do some research on your part. It is important to have your facts straight in the essay and showcase your writing and skills of literary expression in the best way possible.
Students whose courses are in English will also need to submit proof of English proficiency. They will be required to give a TOEFL or an IELTS test. One must prepare in advance for this test and make sure that they obtain a good score in order to secure admission in the course of their choice. These examinations have a cost attached to them, so make sure that you only have to give them once. Rao Consultants help you prepare for these course in the best way possible and ensure that you come out on top.
Students will also need to attach a copy of their birth certificate along with their application to the university. They may also require a certified translation showing the birthplace of both your parents, it is almost always required for international students regardless of the country of their origin. It is also mandatory to show that you have enough funds to complete your education in France and to show that you will be able to survive in the country.
Once your application has been approved you can go on and apply for a long stay student resident visa. As soon as your application has been approved by the university you need to send the first instalment of your fees to them and they will inform you about accommodation options at a later stage. After you have given the visa interview at the embassy and after they have considered your application you will be notified within 48 hours.
One of the most impressive things about French higher education, apart from its high standards, are the absolutely affordable rates which are the same for domestic and international students. Tuition costs for public universities are supported by the government leading to their rates being highly affordable. The average cost of studying in a public university in 2017 was 189 euros per year for a bachelor’s degree, 259 euros for a master’s degree, 393 euros for a PhD, and 611 euros for an engineering degree. These fees, however, apply only to public institutions.
Fees for private institutions tend to be a higher and can range from 15,000 to 20,000 euros per year. Even some Grandes Écoles charge fees that can go up to 10,000 euros. Some private institutions that conduct courses in management, engineering or business can charge up to 30,000 euros per year. There are also a scholarships and mobility schemes available for students who cannot afford the fees or are economic challenged. Some of the popular grants are French Ministry of Higher Education and Research (CNRS) as well as Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus programs.
The difference between France and other European countries regarding the costs of education are palpable, however, the cost of living in France tends to be higher than nearby countries. Accommodation, food and other ancillary expenses will, of course, depend on which area of France you are living in. One thing, however, is understood, you will have to shell out a substantial sum to fund a comfortable life.
Accommodation costs can range between 200 to 800 euros per month. There are a lot of lodging options for students. Student halls provide both shared as well as private facilities and can cost anywhere from 150 to 600 euros per month. About 13% of students in France live in these type of accommodations. You can also rent an apartment and share it with a couple of others. These type of rented apartments can set you back by around 300 to 700 euros per month depending on the type and size of apartment. Students can also look for a host family to accommodate them, this can cost about 200 euros on an average, but places like Paris being more expensive can lead to costs up to 800 euros.
Food is also a considerable expense in France. One can expect to spend up to 200 euros on groceries every month in places like Paris. The cost of groceries may be lower around the country. Eating out, however, can be a little expensive, eating out can, on an average, cost about 15 to 20 euros. Transportation can be managed easily by getting a student pass. Even the taxis are relatively inexpensive in France, most people, however, prefer to use public transport.
Students outside of the European Union need to obtain visas to enter and study in France. These visas are called VLS-TS and is valid for one year with the option to be renewed later. You can apply for this visa once you have been accepted and enrolled at a course in France. Under the ideal case scenario you should be applying for this visa at least three months before your course commences. It usually takes about a fortnight for the visa to arrive but it can extend for up to 20 days.
Students need to apply to the OFII, the French Office for Immigration and Integration. We, at Rao Consultants, create your account on CampusFrance and upload all relevant documents online. There is also an interview which is conducted by CampusFrance where the student will need to explain their study plans in France. A prospective student’s file is thoroughly analysed before a green light is given. If the university you are applying to is not a part of CampusFrance, you may need to apply to the university directly.
Indian students may also be required to give their biometrics to ensure that there is an extra set of identification markers for you on the official files of French authorities. When you are on a VLS-TS visa you need to renew your visa every year. If you are planning to stay on in France after your degree you will need to apply for another visa. You will need to pay a fee of 99 euros to apply for the VLS-TS.
Students will need to obtain language proficiency credentials in the form of IELTS or TOEFL. In case your course is in French you will need advanced French proficiency certificates as well. Over and above this we, at Rao Consultants, help you align all your documents for the application process. Copies of your school mark sheets, college mark sheets and/or transcripts as well as birth certificate and passport are mandatory.
International students are allowed to work for up to 20 hours a week off campus as part-time employees. Laws in France allow students to work for a maximum amount of 964 hours per year. The minimum salary per hour is about 9 euros. You can apply for a temporary residence permit once you have gained a degree equal to a master’s degree or higher. The temporary residence permit is valid for only six months and cannot be renewed. This time can be used to look for and gain employment relevant to your field. Under this temporary residence permit you can work for about 60% of the legally permitted working hours in any field you want.
You will only be able to work full time when you have signed an employment contract with a company related to your field. The remuneration you are promised must be at least one and a half times the SMIC. Only when these conditions are fulfilled will you be allowed to request a change in status from a student to an employee. A company can recruit you at the end of your studies as well, in such a situation you will need to apply for a change of status from student to employee. To get the change of status approved you will need to show an employment contract from a French company. The authorities will consider the company’s reason for making you the offer, your profile and the number of years of your education you have completed.
France has a thriving industrial and agricultural sector which contribute to a strong economy. The country also has a huge IT and tourism sector which are massive contributors to the GDP. This makes securing a job after your graduation that much easier provided you are willing to do the footwork. Make sure that you have an updated CV, it would also be a great idea to have your CV translated in French to make sure you are reaching out to a wider audience. Applying online is also a great idea and can open a number of avenues for you.
Is learning French compulsory to study in France?
Courses like management and engineering, among many others, now have English as a medium of instruction in France. This move has been made so as to attract more international students from around the world. But to compete with French students it is advisable that international students learn a bit of French.
Are there any mandatory examinations required to study in France?
GMAT is a requirement for studying MBA and other management programs in France. There are also some colleges that can accept students without the required GMAT exam. GRE is not a requirement for courses in France, however, some select colleges may require them. TOEFL or IELTS scores may be required if you do not prove adequate English proficiency. If the course you are going to study is in French you may need to prove French proficiency through a standard test like DELF, TCF, or DALF.
Are international students allowed to work in France?
International students can work part time in France provided they are studying at an institution that is approved by the French Social Security System. First year students too can work for up to 20 hours per week in France.
Do I need to have 16 years of education to apply for a master’s course?
No, 12+3, or fifteen years of education can work just as well. However, for engineering master’s courses like M-Tech and MSc, a 12+4 is usually required.
Is Diplome the same thing as a Diploma?
No, Diplome signifies a qualification in France. Since the word degree does not exist in French the term Diplome is used. The M-Tech degree, for instance is called the Diplome d’Ingeniur.
What will be my visa status as a student?
Students coming to study in France from outside of European Union for a course that lasts longer than 6 months must get a long term student visa from the French consulate.
Do we need to get medical tests before leaving for France?
You will be required to undergo medical tests by a French doctor on reaching France when one applies for the temporary residence permit. It is still advisable to carry your immunization schedule from India from a certified medical practitioner.