If you want to study in a country that is diverse, has an excellent academic reputation, and offers a culture that is esteemed by almost every other nation, you need to look no further than France. One of the most popular destinations for studying abroad, France is an excellent choice for any prospective international student.
There are currently more than 250,000 international students in France. In fact, around 10% of enrollments at French universities are international students; many of whom studying at graduate level (masters and doctoral studies). The country offers an excellent environment for all international students when it comes to quality of education, lectures and research opportunities.
French is considered a fairly easy language to pick up because of its lexical similarity to English, a significant portion of French vocabulary can be understood by the English speaker; in fact, linguists believe that up to a third of modern English has been influenced by French. While advanced students may occasionally struggle with trickier topics, students of conversational French are likely to experience success.
French Embassy grants
Grants offered by the French embassy are variable according to each country, so it is better to always get in contact with the embassy in your area to see which program might apply to you.
Most grants are awarded on the basis of financial need to students that are less than 28 years of age. The amount awarded for the need-based grant depends on the assessment of social criteria and varies between 1,606 and 4,600 EUR per year. The merit-based grant ranges from 1,800 to 6,102 EUR. At the same time, those eligible for a grant receive exemption or reduction in health cover.
Loans are also available with a maximum amount of 15,000 EUR, but less than 0.1 % of university students take out such a loan. Parents are eligible for tax relief if students are financially dependent on them and are less than 25 years old. The amount of tax relief is proportional to the amount of taxable income of the household.
Tuition fees in France
The major benefits enjoyed by those who study in France include relatively low tuition fees at public universities. There are also certain scholarships and mobility schemes available for those who wish to study abroad in France. Some of the most popular ones include grants from the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research, funding made by National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), awards from regional councils, Erasmus and Erasmus Mundus programs.
Living costs in France
The overall living costs in France depend on your lifestyle but most of all; they depend on your chosen location, mainly the French city you live in. As expected, Paris is the most expensive French city; check the average budget you would need for each of the large cities in France:
- Paris: between 1,050 and 1,200 EUR/month (sometimes even including the accommodation, if you choose to live in a student hall of residence)
- Nice: between 700 and 920 EUR/month
- Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux or Toulouse: between 650 and 850 – 900 EUR
- For the rest of France, you can survive with smaller amounts (at least 600 EUR).
Prices for accommodation are usually above the international average of 200 – 300 EUR/month. The main housing options for students in France are:
- Student halls of residence –between 150 and 600 EUR/month, depending on the university, included facilities if the room is private or shared. Around 13% of international students live in student residences.
- Rent/share an apartment –between 400 and 700 EUR/month, while in smaller French cities you can rent a small apartment for about 300 EUR/month.
- If you will live with your partner and/or child(ren), the price for rent would range from 700 to 1,000 EUR/month, and you could pay higher if you choose an apartment in the city centre. The utility bills (electricity, water, the internet) would be another 200 EUR/month.
French food is delicious, sophisticated and the common conception is that it is expensive as well. That may be because the French truly value every meal and they make it seem like they are always celebrating something when they eat. However, food is not pricey all over France. One person can expect to spend on average about 200 – 250 EUR/month on groceries in Paris, less in the provinces. A more affordable option where you can have a meal anywhere in France are the bistros, brasseries and crepe stands. Some bistros serve substantial meals and a crepe can take the place of lunch and prices are from 2 to 5 EUR.
The price of a bus or metro ticket may vary from 1 – 1.70 EUR, but many cities offer discounts if you buy a weekly, monthly, or annual pass. A monthly pass on bus, metro or tram is usually somewhere between 17 and 33 EUR. In Paris, the metro is the easiest way to travel and taxis are also relatively inexpensive, around 1.25 EUR/km and you would spend 7 – 10 EUR for a short journey.
Scholarships for international students are offered by some universities, by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the French embassy from your country. Some universities offer 10,000 EUR scholarships per year to students that are maximum 30 years old the year of acceptance and who satisfying criteria of academic excellence. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs offers scholarships through The Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Program, mainly for students who enroll in Master’s (1,181 EUR/month) and Ph.D. courses (1,400 EUR/month).
1. How long does it take to get a student visa to France?
The Campus France process takes at least three weeks and the Consulate process takes minimum of two weeks. The application process can begin no sooner than 90 days before the departure date.2. How do you become a citizen of France?
Becoming a French Citizen through Naturalization. Obtain a residency visa. Before you can apply for citizenship through naturalization, you’ll have to get the appropriate visa or entry permit. The general rule is that you’ll need to apply to the French consulate where you live, to begin the process.3. What is a French national?A “French national” or”French” is someone who has the French nationality, either by being born French, or after having become French later. A “French citizen” is a “French” who also have its full civic and political rights, by being older than 18 and not having those rights been removed by a judge for a reason.4. Is French Language compulsory in France?No, French Universities are now using English as the language of instruction especially in areas like Management, Engineering, and Political science etc, to attract more international students. It is advisable to learn some French in order to compete with French students.5. May I work in France?International Students may work part time if their timetable permits as long as they are registered at an institution approved by the French social security system. Even first year students coming to France for the first time have the right to work part time 20 hrs per week.6. What Visa status will I have as a student?International students coming from countries outside the European Union for programs more than 6 months must obtain a long term students visa from the French consulate.7. How can I find housing in France?Several housing plans are available for international students enrolling at French Universities and Institution. They help the students to find the accommodation.