France is getting students’ attention with the number of international students going up steadily. And the reason is certainly the 150-odd scholarships on offer.
One such initiative in this direction is that now students need to make only one electronic application to apply to up to 20 institutes of higher learning. Launched in 2007, it is a completely dematerialised process, in which the student sends no papers to France. Instead, it is the nearest CampusFrance office (http://www.campusfrance.org/en/index.htm) in India that checks the veracity of the e-file and validates the information for universities.
Grants and scholarships
The Indo-French Consortium of Universities (IFCU) was created in 2008 to offer dual master’s degrees or joint PhD research projects. Today, joint degrees in nuclear technology, nanotechnology and synthetic chemistry are on offer. French and Indian companies also offer co-financed scholarships. French firms such as Thales, Orange, DCNS, Alten, Michelin and Indian firms such as Neemrana group and Krishnakriti Foundation have offered scholarships to Indian students.
Learn French before you go
The medium of instruction for most French universities is French so learn French before you go to France. Even though your course may be entirely taught in English, it will help your journey of personal and professional advancement. A common advice to aspirants is to become members of the Alliance Française library and the French Information and Resource Centre. Both have a wealth of information on history, habits, art, cinema, comic books etc. A French tutor programme is also on at over 30 institutes of higher education in India. Though associated with arts, France is emerging as a popular destination for management and sciences studies. Creative fields like architecture, design, cinema and animation studies also attract students
Alain Perrier, press counsellor, Embassy of France. says that Indian students choose Grandes ecoles (elite universities) and these institutes generally have very good industrial placement services. In fact, students have the option of doing course internships in any of the 25 Schengen states. For example, a student who’s studying in France on a long stay visa for a master’s course can choose to do his/her internship in Germany or Italy. Also, now students get a one year visa instead of three months’ visa that had to be converted upon arrival to a temporary residency.
Questions for visa interview
The interview is known as No objection certificate interview. Students are quizzed on basic questions such as study project, motivation to choose France, their future study project, their plans to continue into research, financial implications and family background. Level of language proficiency is also assessed during such interviews.
Medication and insurance
The French state gives medical insurance through social security system. Therefore, if a student falls sick, he or she is sure to get good treatment, and a reimbursement of up to 70 per cent of the medical expenditure is borne by the French state. However, it is advisable to get a three-month medical insurance from India as it is a mandatory visa requirement. After the three-month period, the student is covered by the French social security system.
Living and eating
Depending on the city, the cost of living varies from 500 to 600 euros per month. Those with a student visa can work up to 20 hours a week. As salaries are good, they can earn around 600 euros a week. In fact, many Indian students cook their own meals. And on days when you wished to take a break from cooking, then there are plenty of French bakeries.
Source: Inputs from Embassy of France in India