France is country in Western Europe that is often called l’Hexagone or “The Hexagon” because of its unique shape. Its total land surface area is 6,40,679 square kilometres. Along with Spain and Morocco, France has both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. It is the 42nd largest country in the world.
France is a developed country and has been an influential power since the Late Middle Ages. It is the global centre of culture and is visited by around 83 million tourists every year. It has the world’s fifth-largest military budget. France is also one of the founding members of United Nations (UN).
France enjoys a favourable climate throughout the year. While the northern France has a temperate climate, rest of the country enjoys a Mediterranean climate. The climate of the Alps and other mountainous areas is primarily alpine.
Whites, North Africans, Blacks and Asians constitute France’s population of 66 million. The French enjoy a high standard of living. France also has a high HDI. Christianity is the most prominent faith in the country.
France is the most popular tourist destination in the world. It is a pride custodian of amazing climate, stunning locales and outdoor activities. This European country is historically rich. In addition to this, France is also famous for its diverse cuisines and of course, wines!
Famous tourist attractions are Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame de Paris, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre and French Riviera. The French are very courteous and polite. They focus a lot on their clothing and personal appearance. Also, they love to cook. Having a meal with the French is a joyous experience.
The main reason why students choose to come to France is its education system that offers courses in many disciplines such as Business Management, Arts, Architecture, Tourism, Hotel Management, Culinary Arts and Social Work. The cost of education in France is also affordable.
France has more than 3,500 educational universities and colleges out of which 83 are
publicly-funded. Major universities of France are École Normale Supérieure, École Polytechnique, Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University, Paris-Sud University and École Normale Supérieure de Lyon.
Universities and colleges in France are known for high quality education. There are over 450 undergraduate and postgraduate study programs taught in French institutions. While an undergraduate program is 3 to 4 years long, a postgraduate course in France usually lasts for 1 or 2 years.
Students who want to take up an undergraduate program in any French university can do so in a diverse range of streams such as Film Studies, Global Communication, Medicine, European and Mediterranean Cultures and Communication Technology among others.
Studying in France is a feasible option and the cost of study programs is lower than in other European countries. An undergraduate program will cost somewhere around Rs. 15,000 per annum. A postgraduate course will cost Rs. 20,000 per annum. Of course, the tuition fee varies from one course to another and one university to another.
International students are required to apply for a student visa. The admission process varies from one university to another. Some universities also demand proficiency in French.
Some of the scholarships provided by French universities can cover either total or partial expenses of going to college. Here’s a list of scholarships that international students can take advantage of:
1. Chateaubriand Fellowship by University of Illinois.
2. The Michaela Farnum Memorial Scholarship by International Studies Abroad Inc. (ISA)
3. Dr. Carlos E. Memorial Scholarship by International Studies Abroad Inc.
4. ISA Diversity Scholarship by International Studies Abroad Inc
5. GSE Language Development Scholarship by Global Student Experience
6. IES Abroad Excellence in a Foreign Language Scholarship by Institute for the International Education of Students
7. GSE Summer Scholarship by Global Student Experience
8. GSE Academic Scholarship by Global Student Experience
9. Annette Kade Scholarships by International Student Exchange Program
10. Arcadia University Gilman Scholarships
TThere are different types of student visas in France:
1. Visa de court séjour pour etudes (‘Schengen’ short-stay student visa)
You can come to France and study for up to three months on this visa, without the need for a separate residence visa. This is suitable for those enrolling on a language course or other short-term programme. It is issued free of charge and cannot be renewed.
2. Etudient concours (visa for sitting entrance exams)
On this visa, you can come to France to sit an entrance exam at an institute of higher education. If you pass, then you can apply directly to your local prefecture in France for a one-year, renewable, residence permit.
3. Visa de long séjour temporaire pour etudes (temporary long-stay visa)
This visa allows you to study in France for between three and six months without the need for a residence permit. It is non-renewable.
4. Visa de long séjour etudes (long-stay visa)
If you want to study for longer than six months, then you need to apply for this visa. As from 2013, this type of study visa, (which is also your residence permit) now lasts for the duration of your course in France: three years for bachelors, two years for a Master's and four years for PhD. Long-stay visas act as residence permits and are called VLT-TS.
The extended stay VLS-TS' visa is for all international students (except those from Algeria who don’t need one) who wish to enrol in a course at a French institute of higher education. You have to provide information on your academic background, French language proficiency and adequate financial resources (approximately EUR 615 per month).
On your arrival in France, you must contact the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII), send them the official form issued by your consulate, possibly have a medical examination and pay a fee of EUR 58 in the form of a tax stamp (available from tabacs (tobacconists), tax offices and online here). Some universities have an agreement with the OFII, whereby you do this through them rather than the OFII (check with your own school or university).
5. Extended stay research scholar visa
If you have a Master’s degree or higher and want to come to France to take part in research or teach at university level, then the institution can bring you over on an extended stay research scholar visa VLS-TS. You need a hosting agreement from the institution, describing the work you will be doing and its duration, which needs to be stamped by the local prefecture. You then send this to the consulate in your home country along with your visa application.
Like the normal extended visa, you must report to the OFII on your arrival in France (as above). Two months before the visa expires, you must apply for a residence permit which lasts between one and four years. With this visa, family members (spouse and minor children) are automatically entitled for a residency permit marked vie privée et familiale.
How to apply for a French student visa
Some countries require you to register first with CampusFrance, the French national agency for higher education and international students, in order to apply for admission and get a student visa through the CEF procedure. You can check CampusFrance to find out if you need to do this. Otherwise, you should apply for a course via the university website, and get your visa at the French embassy/consulate in your home country.
Whether you are taking part in an exchange programme, enrolling at a French educational institution as an independent student, or as part of a programme organised by an institution in your home country, you will need to provide the consulate with:
● an official enrolment or acceptance letter on the headed paper of the institution, stating your full details, details of the French institution and specifying the start and end dates of the academic programme.
● proof that you have sufficient funds (currently EUR 615 per month), for example, bank statement, guarantor’s letter, or notice of a grant or funding from an official source.
● an airline ticket/reservation showing date of departure or handwritten statement from yourself with an intended departure date.
● Proof that you have medical insurance with a minimum cover of EUR 30,000.
● proof that you have accommodation. If you’re staying on campus or student housing, then you’ll need an official letter from the university or college confirming the details. If you’re staying with family or friends then they’ll need to get a certificate of board and lodging (attestation d’accueil) from their town hall.
If you are an Indian citizen or legal resident, over the age of 18, desirous of pursuing your studies at a French institution of higher education, for a period longer than 3 months (90 days), you must complete the Campus France application process prior to applying for the French visa.
France is a culturally significant country in the world. From gorgeous art galleries and museums to impressive streets and cafes, France is a complete experience in itself. France’s capital, Paris, is a business hub. It is known to have a great nightlife with lots of cafes, restaurants, and pubs to hang out at.
The French are also movie buffs. Cinema forms an important part of the French culture. Enjoying wine with cheese is like an art in France and international students must give that a shot as well.
Here’s a list of general expenses that an international student will have to incur while studying in France:
1. Accommodation - Rs. per annum
2. Food & groceries - Rs. 60, 000 per annum
3. Phone & internet - Rs. 30, 000 per annum
4. Public transportation - Rs. 45,000 per annum
5. Electricity, heating and water - Rs. 1,30,000 per annum
6. Entertainment - Rs. 55,000 per annum