The French connection
France, officially called the French Republic, is the third largest and wealthiest country in Europe. The use of its official language, French, is in vogue in several places in India. We analyze why studying in France is a good choice.
Why study in France?
The quality of French higher education is widely recognized and is based on the “LMD” degree structure — Licence, Master’s, and Doctorate. Licence requires three years of study, Masters needs five and Doctorate eight years of study and research.
France attracts students from across the world. It is currently the third most popular destination for international students. Yet many prospective students are unaware that fluency in French is not necessary to study in France. Courses in English are becoming more common, though a little more expensive than ones taught in French. But it is recommended to have working knowledge of French to make the most of your experience there.
When to apply
The period of enrollment is generally between December 1 and January 31 every year. English language proficiency is tested for all courses taught in English and scores of TOEFL/IELTS are accepted. For all graduate/ degree courses, one should be at least 18 years of age and have successfully completed 12 years of formal education. Entry to all post graduate courses will require a Bachelor’s degree. You have to submit transcripts, resumes and in some cases, essays, too. Generally while submitting the application, the colleges / universities will only ask for copies of the relevant documents. Once accepted into a program, students will need to send original copies.
University/ college studies begin in September every year. The application deadline for most courses is January end, but students need to check the dates and details before applying to the Universities of their choice. Some deadlines may vary depending on the course and the college applied to.
Popular fields of study are Computer Science, Business Administration, Engineering and Human Resource Management. Tuition fees in France range between 9,000- 10,000 Euros per year for Bachelor/undergraduate courses and between 18,000-19,500 Euros per year for Masters Courses. MBA in most colleges ranges between 28,000-30,000 Euros for the entire course. The fee may vary college and course-wise. Students can choose their colleges and universities as per their budget.
One must have a passport and obtain a student visa. A long stay student visa is generally issued for a period longer than six months and enables a student to obtain a one-year residence permit. A prospective student will need to prove that they have sufficient resources, estimated at a minimum of 500 Euros a month approximately to support themselves without working. This amount varies depending on the city of residence the course of study, life style and personal expenses.
Most colleges offer scholarships / financial assistance for their international students, though they may have different selection criteria. A scholarship / financial aid application will generally be selected on the basis of a student’s academic record. Some may even place importance on the consistency and quality of the statement of purpose. Knowledge of French may not be mandatory, but will be considered an asset.
The French government has funding options for Indian students. The Charpak Scholarship program, run by the French embassy in India, helps students get a full/ partial fee waiver at universities, and also some monthly stipend. The Eiffel Scholarship program, offered by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, covers travel and living expenses, health insurance and accommodation. It is important to note that scholarships are mostly given to Postgraduate students, even by the French government.
HELP AT HAND
All French universities and colleges have an International student services office or helpdesk to help them settle in and answer any queries. Student services offers assistance with administrative formalities, accommodation, insurance, transport, cultural life.
Source: This article was originally published in Mid-Day newspaper – PDF File: Study in France