Starting a college education is a thrilling experience. However, the excitement and that fear of change shoot up when the university is outside our home country. A study abroad experience has its perks and drawbacks. Of course, you will get to visit new places, meet people, and learn about a new culture. However, the unknown surroundings, the language, and the lack of familiar faces are all things that might scare you off from moving abroad. Today, we are going to cover the pros and cons of studying in France.
PROS of Studying in France
1. Inexpensive Education
Unlike many universities in the US for example, French universities offer affordable courses. This means you do not need to apply for a student loan and spend years paying it back. In addition, the French government offers many students a benefits programme that reduces tuition fees to almost nothing. Although this is not the case for everyone, these fee structures are still lower than other universities in Europe.
2. Low-Cost Transport and Accommodation
You will find the transportation costs of studying in France very comforting. In fact, the TER network offers discounts for young people and students in each mainland region. On the other hand, many French students in Paris use the bike renting system called Vélib’, which is affordable and hassle-free.
Speaking of housing, the Caisse d’Allocations Familiales grants financial aid to students. This is available to all students, whether they are French or foreign citizens, as long as:
- they are already renting or co-renting their apartment;
- they are not related to the landlord;
- they have little to no means of financial support.
The aid ranges between €100 and €200 per month. It generally takes two months from the application date to receive the first payment.
3. Opportunities Post Graduation in France
Many students who study abroad end up staying in the same country to seek a job. However, generally speaking, it is not easy to get a work visa or a residence permit in another country after graduation. The good news is that France is not in the list of those countries. Anyone who studied full time in France can apply for a one-year work permit.
Cons of Studying in France
1. Language Barrier
Most of the universities in France have English medium options for foreign students. So studying there should not be an issue. However, it is a well-known fact that locals there tend to speak only French. Because of that, it might be stressful for you to interact with fellow students or local communities, which means that you will have to make the extra effort to learn the language.
2. Private Education is expensive
Although most of the courses are available at public universities, there is a little range of courses only available at private colleges. However, the problem with that is that private institutions in France, just like any other country, can be expensive.
3. Expensive Living
Even though, students can benefit from financial support and discounts, studying in France and living there can be costly. According to The Economist, the French capital is, in fact, the most expensive city worldwide along with Hong Kong and Singapore. Therefore, it might be a bit tough to cope with living expenses there, you might want to opt for smaller French cities, like Poitiers, Brest, and Limoges. For more information about the most affordable student cities in France, visit The Local.
Student Reviews about France
Here we have selected some reviews sharing students’ experiences for 4 of the most popular French institutions. Check them out and find different points of view for programme studies, student life, admissions, etc.
From my point of view, the only thing that I need to say about the university is that has helped me a lot in every aspect. First of all, I would like to talk about the integration and how with their buddy program for going exchange needed to find some people of other countries to get more points, that could be the most important thing because, in the beginning, you don’t feel lonely. After that, about the classes, I could say that I like how they manage to impart them, since being different from my country, seeing both types is new to me may have had a good impression. After this, as I have done some subjects in my country, they had helped me to get other ones so it has been easy for me. In conclusion, I would say that the management of the university with the ambience with all the city of Lille, has made that it have a good impact on me. The only bad thing that I would like is a sports complex, but you can’t have everything.
Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) is a business school which believes in combining technology and management to create a better world. The courses offered by the college are one of the best in the country and the campus itself is state of the art. While GEM offers a wide and abundant student life, the student associations are predominantly French. However, there is still a huge admission of international students in each course.
Academically speaking, the faculty are some of the most experienced and finest teachers. They are not only experts at teaching but have experience in working industries as well which gives us concrete live cases to study about. The modules are designed such that every course adds to the value of a student.
This 4-year programme provides a general business education and allows students to study a variety of subjects to choose what they wish to specialise in. The ESSEC BBA programme allows students to have several professional and associative experiences.
The strengths of the programme are its reputation and job opportunities upon graduation, but also its international dimension.
The weak points are a lack of depth in certain subjects, but this can be justified by the fact that the training is global and generalist.
The Grande Ecole is one of the most recognised degrees in France. And Essec ranks in the top 3 universities which helps the students in their quest to find jobs. Companies value the university rankings. One suggestion would be to brush up on your French language skills.
F.a.q. about Education in France
Is France good for international students?
France has one of the most prestigious educational systems in the world. It is also one of the European countries that welcomes the highest number of international students annually. The country has many globally recognized universities including:
Do I need to learn French to study in France?
Many courses are available in English, therefore knowledge of French is not required. However, learning French will be a plus for you to get the most out of your abroad study experience. Learning the host language is always the first step to make to enable an easier settling.
Can I Work in France on a Student Visa?
Students can work part-time in France while on a student visa. However, there is a limit of 964 hours in one year. This time limit changes when one gets a residential permit/visa.
France is considered to be one of the most beautiful countries in the world for its history, its products, and landscapes. Even if it might be costly to move there, students can work part-time and have access to financial aid and student discounts. Interested in studying in France? Do not hesitate to contact us.
Editor’s note: This article was first published on the 11th of October 2019. We’ve updated it for current readers.