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France: study destination

Q.  How do you see France as a study destination for Indian students in view of recent visa curbs by leading countries?
France remains committed to welcoming Indian students,   it is a warm, friendly and safe country offering quality education in all spheres.
France has consistently taken steps to make the student visa process more transparent and friendly.
The French Embassy at Delhi, and the consulates at Mumbai and Pondicherry  process student visas, in the near future French student  visas will also be processed at Kolkata and Bangalore.
Until last year a student had to apply for a temporary residence permit upon arrival if he/she had to stay in France for a long duration, now the visa issued to students from India already gives them this status from the date of their arrival in France.
A student going to france can travel to all Schengen territories and thus have a more enriching experience as part of his/her stay.
All these measures are thus a process of facilitation for the student.

Q.  Most of the Punjabi students don’t want to study abroad but want permanent residency. How does France see it?
Globally relevant skills offer the possibility of professional insertion the world over. France allows a student to stay 6 months more after the completion of his/her studies and if the student finds a job commensurate with his qualification, he /she can then stay for a period of at least 1 year to validate a first job experience. This period can be later renewed based on conditions put forth by the company.

Q.   Why do you think students are moving to France and other EU countries?
There are many reasons. The quality of education, safety, opportunity to learn a new language , ease of mobility, finding professional internships as an integral part of  courses, experiencing a rich culture as also the number of scholarships available to study in Europe through the European Union and its member nations make for a very attractive deal. Also the global recession has perhaps contributed to students looking beyond the USA.
Aside from these factors, it is also partly due to sustained actions of Campus France by providing accurate information to thousands of students and the large number of active partnerships being inked between French and Indian institutes and universities.

Q.  What are the visa criteria for France?  Do only the interview or academic records also count?
A genuine student with a coherent academic project, the financial capability to support his stay and academic costs, having the requisite background to successfully complete the course and an appropriate level of linguistic skills (English for courses taught in  English and English and French for  bilingual courses and French language competence for courses taught in French)

Q. How important is to know the French language before a student flies to France?
If you are going to France for courses taught in English (and France offers about 800 higher education degrees taught entirely in English) knowing French prior to departure is not mandatory. However starting French learning  at any of the 15 Alliances Françaises is highly recommended, as it will serve to make the entire experience a great deal more memorable and worthwhile.
France,very  welcoming country…

Q.  These days every parent is concerned about the safety of his child. How safe is France for Indian students?

France is a very welcoming country and has a long history of absorbing people from all over the world. Most Indian students who are studying in France describe their experience as “amazing and wonderful” both for a professional and personal enrichment. France and India have a long history of mutual trust , the strong symbol of friendship being reinforced very recently when Indian troops marched alongside French troops on the French National Day.

Q.  How’s the job situation in France in this age of global recession?
Like everywhere else in the world the job situation in France has also taken a hit. Students from India who have opted for highly professional courses in selective institutes have found employment opportunities either, in French companies expanding businesses in India, in France or elsewhere.
Define first your project and learn French…

Q.  What message you have for our students aspiring to go to France?
Prepare your study project well, take the help of trained Campus France Counselors to define your study project, and try and learn French . Gowith an open mind and the experience will be wonderful.
Some additional info for this article:
Top French universities : University of Sorbonne, Joseph Fourier, Univeristy of Toulouse, University Pierre and Marie Curie, University of Lyon
Professional Institutes of Grande Ecoles: Ecole Polytechnique, ENPC, ENS, Ecoles Centrales, Ecoles des Mines, INSAS, HEC, ESSEC, INSEAD, ESCp-Europe the ESCs, Sciences-Po, and so many many more.
These are not ranked in any particular order
Top courses in demand: Management , engineering and technology,
Fee structure  from 400 euros per year in public universities, to on n average 12000 euros for masted programme taught in English, exceptionally 45000 euros or MBAs at the top listed B schools.
Any warning signals :Counselor-Campus France: Nidhi Chopra (chandigarh@india-campusfrance.org)