Why France is a Stellar Choice for Indian Students

France is undoubtedly India’s most important partner in Europe. French President Emmanuel Macron, during his visit to India as the Chief Guest of the country’s 75th Republic Day in January 2024, reiterated his government’s policy to have 30,000 students from India in France by 2030, but with much more warmth. He stated, “If we can have these 30,000 students in two years’ time, I would be the happiest President. So, come to France to study”.

Government-to-government ties between Paris and New Delhi are very warm, friendly, and special. This special nature of ties is rooted in a convergence of interests, shared values, and a commitment to fostering cooperation across a range of sectors such as defence, space, renewable energy, mobility, and, of course, education. This has earned substantial goodwill for Indian students in France, apart from decades-old historical and cultural ties.

Here are some reasons that make France a stellar destination for Indian students who aspire to study abroad:

  • Perks of the Schengen Visa: France can aptly be called the ‘Gateway to Europe’. The country’s central location in Europe makes it easy for international students to explore neighbouring countries, enabled by the Schengen visa, which allows travel to neighbouring European countries like Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Italy, and Belgium. Students in France can travel to 20+ countries without permission, among many more.
  • CAF allowance: CAF stands for Caisse des Allocations Familiales, French for Family Allowances Fund. It is a state welfare agency, provided by the French government to provide financial help to people living in France, including international students. Among CAF's allowances is the housing allowance, which nearly every student in France is entitled to. Up to 30 percent of the living expenses can be covered under this scheme.
  • Support services and amenities: CROUS (French abbreviation for the Regional Centers of University and School Works) provides various services to students, including housing assistance, scholarships, and subsidised meals at university restaurants. While the meals aren't entirely free, they are usually more affordable for students. Some local organisations or charities may provide support to individuals facing financial difficulties by providing food and groceries for free or at subsidised rates. Students can also support themselves by working part-time for up to 20 hours a week.
  • IELTS/TOEFL/PTE not mandatory: The scores of standardised English proficiency tests like IELTS, TOEFL or PTE are not mandatory in several French institutions. There are an ample number of programmes offered in English, and the language proficiency is determined on the assumption that the student has already undergone sufficient English language education in his/her home country. On the other hand, some institutions may opt for interviews, writing samples, or other ways of assessment.

You can also read: Self-Application or Study Abroad Consultant: Which is Better?

  • Scholarships: In France, many students qualify for stipends or scholarships (known as bourses), which can cover their food and rent to a substantial extent. The amount varies based on family income, family size, and the university's distance from the place of accommodation. There are various scholarships available for Indian students to study in France such as the Charpak Scholarship, offered by the Embassy of France in India to pursue Master's or exchange programmes in France, including some with a sizeable amount of the total fees being covered. Moreover, several institutions offer their own scholarships to students taking their academic merit and other achievements into consideration.
  • Diverse range of courses to choose from: Being an influential Western nation, France is known for its top-class institutions and internationally recognised academic programmes, including many with triple accreditation. Most of the students who opt for France choose management, fashion technology, creative arts, hospitality and tourism. However, there are also top-rated courses in scientific disciplines, including artificial intelligence, data analytics, renewable energy, aviation and aerospace technology.
  • Multicultural learning environment: French cities and towns are multicultural hubs with diverse populations. Students have the opportunity to engage with people from various ethnicities, religions, and nationalities, both on and off-campus, giving them opportunity to connect with peers, professionals, and academics hailing from different parts of the world. This promotes a student’s promotes cross-cultural understanding and boosts self-confidence to work in any socio-cultural setting, along with opening doors to diverse perspectives on life. Moreover, diversity in faculty members brings in insightful academic discussions that further enriches the learning experience of students.
  • Befriend the French language: Even if a student gets enrolled in a course taught in English, studying in France exposes him/her to the French language for day-to-day activities with the local population. Getting yourself acquainted with the French language means you can connect with a major part of the globe, whether it is for employment or business of further studies. French is one of the six official languages of the United Nations and the third most popular language for business communications.

You can also read: List of Documents Required to Study Abroad Application

  • Friendly and welcoming people: French culture places a strong emphasis on hospitality and social interactions, along with cherishing politeness and courtesy. People often appreciate spending time with friends and family, and social interactions are an integral part of daily life. Moreover, France has a strong café culture where people often gather in public spaces for conversations, coffee, and relaxation. This contributes to a sense of community and approachability. are highly valued in French society. Even though this is the case in general, interpersonal interactions can be highly subjective too, depending on circumstantial factors.
  • Stay back up to two years after studies: The French government allows international students who have completed their studies in France for stay-back for up to two years for seeking employment or gaining professional experience. After completing their studies, international students in France are eligible to apply for a temporary residence permit for job seeking. This permit is typically valid for up to one year, during which graduates can search for employment in their field of study. If a job is secured during this period, the student can transition to a work visa or permit. In some cases, if a student has not yet found employment but wishes to continue searching, they may apply for a one-time extension of their residence permit for an additional six months.
  • Employment opportunities in global corporations: International students in France find employment opportunities across various industries and sectors. The choice of industry often depends on the student's field of study, skills, and interests. Students with engineering and management backgrounds can find opportunities in industries such as aerospace, automotive, energy, and telecommunications, apart from opportunities in the fashion industry, management consulting, international NGOs and MNCs. Prominent MNCs that are headquartered in France include Renault, Peugeot, Capgemini, BNP Paribas, Dassault Systèmes, Total Energies, Thales Group, Airbus Group, and so on.

Do You Know!  The French language is spoken in five continents of the world, from the Indian Ocean islands of Réunion and Mauritius to Canada, Switzerland and Belgium. There are about 321 million French speakers in the world and La Francophonie is an international organisation and community of French-speaking countries with 88 members. Strasbourg in France is the seat of the European Parliament, a key organ of the European Union (EU), while Paris hosts the global headquarters of UNESCO, International Energy Agency (IEA) and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

For more details on studying in France, institutions and courses, feel free to reach out to the nearest branch of Edroots International.