France is an ideal place for the student who wants to explore Europe. It's easy, really easy, to reach most of Europe's important cities (plus hundreds not so important but still worth the trip). Amsterdam, London, Brussels, Barcelona, Milan—all await you for the weekend or for a longer stay.
Why study abroad in France?
France is a multitude of athletic, touristic, and cultural activities. To studying in France is the opportunity to live in the place that invented savoir-vivre—the art of living well. Did you know that France is the most visited country in the world? The French people are proud of their cultural heritage, lovely countryside, quiet towns and fine restaurants. Most of France's institutions of higher education are located in city centers, close to cultural and social life. Museums, libraries, cinemas, theaters, and cafes are rarely very far away.
Language - Why learn French ?
French – the official language of almost 200 million people – opens doors in 47 countries on 5 continents. In France, many public and private institutions offer courses in French as a foreign language.Whether it is for a short or long stay, in Paris or in one of the regions of France, beginning French or with specific goals, there are many different training centres to welcome you and offer you a programme that meets your needs.
In all French universities and other institutions of higher education, courses are taught in French. You will need to be able to write, read, talk and take notes in French. The best solution is to acquire a reasonable level of French before you come to France, then possibly take an advanced course when you arrive.
Higher Education in France
The flexibility of French higher education allows you to design an academic itinerary that is perfectly suited to your goals and background. Thousands of possibilities exist in every field of knowledge. Somewhere in France there's a program that meets your personal goals. More likely you'll find a multitude.
International students who already have begun their higher education in France, and who may even hold a university degree, may obtain further training in France. Many opportunities exist for students to transfer into degree programs and receive credit for the postsecondary work they have already done. In fact, that's one of the best ways to study in France.
France's universities are public institutions. The universities offer academic, technical, and professional degree programs in all disciplines, preparing students for careers in research and professional practice in every imaginable field. The universities offer dozens of different national diplomas.
French universities enroll over 1.5 million students. International students make up about 10 percent of total enrollments, one of the highest percentages among OECD countries.
Some of France's specialized schools are public; others are private. Specialized schools are selective in their admissions and enroll far fewer students than the universities. They train students for careers in engineering, management, art, and architecture, to name just a few. Specialized schools prepare students for professional practice. France's famous grandes écoles fall into this category. They are unique institutions, prestigious and very selective. Many are devoted to training high-level managers and engineers. Their programs are so well attuned to the needs of industry that their graduates are in very high demand.
Once you've identified programs of interest to you, you must apply for admission. The first step in this important process is to be sure that the institution at the top of your list is willing to accept you. The institution will need to review your academic background to determine whether you are likely to succeed in its program. Each French institution sets its own admission standards. When the institution admits you, it will send you a letter that will enable you to apply for a student visa at the French consulate in your home country.
International Students from outside Europe (that is, students from countries other than the 30 countries of the European Economic Zone, plus Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland, San Marino, and the Vatican) must obtain a long-term student visa from a French consulate if they intend to study in France for more than 6 months. Upon arrival in France, international students must first register with their educational institution and then obtain a student residency permit from the local authorities. After the first year of study, visas are automatically renewed, provided the student holding the visa is able to produce the required documentation
The Academic Year
In France the academic year begins in September or October and ends in May or June. The exact starting and ending dates vary from institution to institution and from program to program. There are several breaks during the year: 2 weeks in December-January for Christmas and the New Year, 2 weeks in February for winter break and 2 weeks in late March–early April for the Easter break. Summer vacation stretches over the entire months of July and August, and sometimes includes parts of June and September as well.
Studying in France is relatively inexpensive because the government funds a significant share of the cost. Annual tuition in a public university is between 126 and 692 Euros, depending on the program. Costs in private institutions are higher. International students are treated just like French students.
Cost of Living
Most students need 600 to 800 Euros each month to cover the costs of food, transportation, and housing. The amount you will need depends on many factors, including where you live and the type of educational course. While most students will benefit from special meal and accommodation facilities, some will be paying very high tuition fees. For example. a minimum monthly food budget will be somewhere between EUR 150 to 250. A cinema ticket costs EUR 9 on average, a soft drink in a café costs about EUR 3.50, and a meal in a restaurant costs at least EUR 10 (more often around EUR 14 to 17).
The type of accommodation you choose -flat, hotel, apartment hotel, room in private house, hostel, campus accommodation, hall of residence, will depend on your status, budget and length of stay. Universities throughout France offer housing in student residences apartments at reduced rates (between 120 to 300 Euros per month). They are usually located near campus sites and offer better quality than the campus accommodation run with public funding, though they are also more expensive. Campus accommodation costs from EUR 118 to 400 per month, depending on the location and type of flat. A privately rented bedsit can cost from EUR 450 to 650 per month.
More and more students are finding shared flats an economic accommodation solution. Monthly average rents average 15 Euros per square meter in Paris and 7 Euros per square meter elsewhere in France.
Working in France
International students may work half-time as long as they are registered at an institution approved by the French social security system. Even first-year students and students coming to France for the first time have the right to work half-time. The minimum hourly wage in France is 8,27 Euros gross, that is, before withholding of mandatory social-benefit taxes, which come to approximately 20 percent of the gross payment.
For more information, go to:
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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