As many countries gradually open up for international students, France too, is paving the way for them despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The French government is making strong efforts to enable students from across the globe, including Indians, to let them join their institution safely at the beginning of the academic year. This includes some of the nearly 10,000 Indian students enrolled in French universities.
France’s Growth Story
- France was host to 358,000 inbound mobile students in 2018-19, 21% more than five years before
- The ‘Bienvenue en France’ strategy envisions 500,000 international students in France by 2027
- When it comes to Indian students, France aims to welcome 20,000 by 2025, as per Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India
Key Requirements For Students
From January 24, 2022, those aged above 16 years with a vaccine pass (a digital or paper version of a vaccine certificate showing full vaccination; a certificate of recovery from COVID from 11 days to 4 months prior; a certificate stating medical reasons for not being vaccinated) are required.
The administration has streamlined specific systems to facilitate the stay of non-European Union (EU) students under which students in French higher education institutions are covered. For those vaccinated as per the European regulations, no more tests are required on departure. Proof of a complete vaccination schedule is necessary to arrive in France, regardless of the country of origin. However, students must cross-check the eligibility conditions while applying.
Why France Attracts Foreign Students
According to Béatrice Khaiat, director-general, Campus France, the ‘Bienvenue en France’ strategy (which was brought into inception to help institutions highlight their ability to host new international students) and the emphasis on the internationalisation of institutions and services for foreign students have enabled France to boost its standing as an attractive destination for international students.
France was host to 358,000 inbound mobile students in 2018-19, 21% more than five years before. The ‘Bienvenue en France’ strategy envisions 500,000 international students in France by 2027. As per data from the European Commission 2020, France hosted 28,476 students under the Erasmus Plus Scheme, the fourth highest in the continent.
In France, 113,442 visas were granted in 2018 for purposes of academic study or practical training, an increase of 14% over the preceding three years. The gain is largely attributable to increases in long-stay student visas (+17%).
What’s In It For Indians
Around 47% Indian students enrolled in French institutions pursue business programs. With an increasing number of courses taught in English, more international students are expected to study in France. When it comes to Indian students, France aims to welcome 20,000 by 2025, as per Emmanuel Lenain, Ambassador of France to India. The two countries also signed an agreement to mutually recognise each other’s degrees in 2018.
According to Anuj Soni, Yocket Counsellor for Europe, a French educational degree will open doors to more than 570 French companies working in India and countless entities in France, should a student wish to stay back after completing his/her course.
“With more than 500 scholarships available for Indian students in France, French universities or colleges offer career-oriented courses, fusing practical and theoretical aspects. Over 1,500 courses are taught in English. Also, learning French means speaking the official language of 30 countries throughout five continents,” says Soni.
Some other scholarship schemes include Eiffel Excellence Scholarships, École Normale Supérieure International Selection, Emily Boutmy Scholarships at Sciences Po University and INSEAD MBA Scholarships.
The official working week in France lasts 35 hours, and employees are guaranteed a 30-day annual vacation and many social benefits. Explaining the other norms for the workforce, Soni says, “The official minimum wage in France is around 1,5554 euros per month. The hourly rate is 10.25 euros. The average salary in 2021 in France was about 3,085 euros per month.”
Some of the best courses to study in France that can land you lucrative jobs include data science/AI and business analytics, biosciences and biotechnology, banking and finance, business management and engineering.
For Ashfaque Khan, who aspires to pursue master’s in management at some of the top B-schools like ESSEC Business School, EDHEC Business School, ESCP Business School and Emlyon Business School, choosing a Grand Ecole program was driven by the option it provided to look for work opportunities in France later.
“The one plus one year stay back policy after master's appealed to me. The international outlook, practical program structure and promising professional prospects were some of the other appealing features,” says Khan.