Paris from an apartment window

France Would Make an Amazing Study Abroad Destination. Here is why

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Guest post: This post is written by my older sister, yeah like real sister, who has studied and lived in France for about 3 years. And to show my gratitude for her time and effort she put into this post, I thought I would do a special author bio and put it on top of the post. 

This is Bống, my older sister. She is an ex foreign student in Lyon, France with a governmental scholarship who has a PhD in International Relations. As great as a profile could be, she is now a wife, yes, just a wife. Okay just kidding but she is a wife to a kind French gentleman, and they are both living in Vietnam right now, happily ever after. 

So if you want to end up like her, you might want to consider studying abroad in France (ok I’m just kidding, maybe not about the French husband part though).

Here is her Facebook and she also helps her husband with his French learning website and app, check out his website and Youtube Channel here if you are interested in learning French from a native. And if you are Vietnamese, he has a website in Vietnamese here for you.

Girl smiling standing on a bridge

Here is her full analysis of why France is a good place to study abroad (because she just loves to analyse and makes everything so damn dry). I hope this gives you some insight of what studying abroad in France might bring you.

Thanks to the advantages that this nation has gained through colonizations and revolutions (and the fact that it was in the winner side of the both two world wars), France has proven itself to be one of the leading countries in the world in economics and technology. 

And with this strength and advantages, France invests in education, especially in the basic sciences, which are essential for the competition among great world powers. So yeah, you can say that education has always been a major focus in France.  

a guard standing in front of university of Paris
Image by Robin Benzrihem

With so much investment from the government, there are lots of scholarships and you will be exposed to the most advanced kind of education. I’m sure it would make a worthwhile place for your study.

While America is dominating the world with its culture reflected in films, fashion and education, France – a powerhouse that has always prided itself on the cultural values ​​which have been orienting the world for centuries – of course will not be dominated. 

So when it comes to French education, I do not want to talk about the degree you get which will be recognized in the world and stuff, because everyone knows that. But more deeply, you will get in contact with the new knowledge, ways of thinking, and expose yourself in different perspectives in this Americanized world. Humanity and critical thinking are the two greatest things I have learned in France. 

2. Friendly and helpful environment for students

Couple hugging in a French metro

If you are a student under 26 years old in France, you will have many social advantages. When you belong to any of the vulnerable social groups (children, students, the elderly, pregnant women), you are always prioritized, which shows the importance and focus on humanity and justice in France. Here I just list a few priorities for students:

  • Public transport tickets up to 50% off
  • Free social insurance that covers up to 70% of medical expenses
  • Cheap student housing + housing support up to 50% by the government
  • Free entrance fee to all public museums
  • Public library registration fee is reduced by up to 50% (In Lyon only 10 euros / year)
  • Public swimming pool entrance fee is reduced by up to 50% (the price is only from 2-7 euros / time depending on the swimming pool)

In addition to this social support, as a student you also have free access to a huge library of books and research journals from offline to online. Extracurricular activities and clubs for students are uncountable . This is a clear example of how France focuses on its people’s education. Every commune has a library and a public swimming pool open to everyone, and of course, students are always on the top of the privileged list and pay less than usual. 

3. Low cost of scholar fee and living cost

As mentioned above, with the social support and incentives provided by the French government for students, your student life in France will be quite cheap. For example, if you live alone in a student dormitory in Lyon and have a not too luxurious lifestyle, each month you will only spend about 400-500 euros on housing, meals and transportation.

The tuition story is, on the other hand, a bit less joyful. France has always been one of the countries with the cheapest tuition fee in Europe: almost free, with only about 200-400 euros / year for University, Master and PhD degrees. 

But from 2019, the policy to support tuition fees of French government has changed. Accordingly, foreign students studying in France have to pay from 2700 to 4000 euros / year for the University or Master/PhD level. Thus, international students will have to pay 10 times higher fees than French students. However, compared to English-speaking countries such as the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand, … this tuition fee is still cheap.

Also, with a student visa in France, you are allowed to work 20 hours / week. With manual jobs such as in restaurants, and fast food restaurants, shippers …, you can earn the minimum wage in France (after income tax deduction) is about 7.5euro / h. 

In summer vacations, there are also a number of other student jobs like picking grapes, selling fairs, … that can help you fatten your wallet.

4. And there is more

A motorcycle on a street in France

There is not a single blog out there written about studying abroad in France that doesn’t mention French food culture, how beautiful Paris is, the castles, fashion and all other stereotypes, you name it. 

We won’t talk about that today, because those are the results of how the Americans romanticise France. France, in reality, might not be how they portray it on the internet. This post is here to help you see the whole reality, we won’t lie to you that France is absolutely charming and mesmerising everywhere and studying in France would be like you getting lost in heaven.

That’s just bullshit.

In the next post though, we will have a closer look at the stereotypes and romanticisation of France and examine whether or not you can expect those if you choose to study abroad in France. 

However, if you have the desire to study in Europe, to a country with poetry and romantic scenery, to a cultural cradle of Europe, to a good quality education with affordable living costs, then consider France!

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