PARIS, FRANCE -1 JULY 2016- Opened in 1951, the Jussieu Campus of the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) located in the 5th arrondissement of Paris in the Latin Quarter is also known as Paris 6, Photograph by EQRoy, Shutterstock.

France is the fourth most popular destination for international students in the world, right after the US, the UK and China. The French system delivers inexpensive quality education that has been praised many times by international organisations. 

The French culture has influenced the western world and, still, plays an important role today. The French language is, after English, the second most commonly studied foreign language. Attracted by the relatively low tuition fees and the chance to live in the country of culture, wine and cheese, nearly 300,000 foreign students stay in France.

In order to apply to a French university, European Union (and European Economic Area) applicants will have to:

Provide proof of English language proficiency.

Provide proof of a high school diploma.

Complete the university application.

You might be asked to write a test essay.

Mention if you plan on receiving financial aid from the college.

It won’t be difficult to gather the necessary information. French universities participate in education exhibitions and open days, in which you can have the opportunity to talk to people that work in your university of choice and get first-hand information. The French government supports much of the costs of attending a university in the country. The internationally recognised diplomas encourage international student enrollment. 

International students in France have the same benefits as the native ones, in terms of tuition fees, health coverage and any assistance for finding a house through a specific university service. Universities are paying special attention in integrating the foreign students by holding parties and outdoor activities, something that can prove extremely useful for young people coming to a country without knowing anyone. 

You don’t have to be a full-time student. In many cases, French universities offer the chance of a part-time study program or very flexible class schedules. The French education budget can cover the needs of the poorer students through an internship referral system. Also, the French university administrations put a big effort in helping the students get a job. Special career offices inform students about internships and available jobs. 

Many universities have bilingual programs or programs taught in English. If you want your child to improve his/her French, while specialising in another discipline, studying in France is an excellent opportunity. But, if you are not so willing to learn the language of Napoleon Bonaparte and Voltaire, France is on the top of the list of countries offering English taught Master’s programmes. English is used in lectures for technology, business and science courses. At this moment, there are more than 450 English-language programmes at undergraduate or taught postgraduate level. 

The Bologna process had as a result the standardisation of degrees into License, Master and Doctorat levels, which means that you will be required to study three, two and three years respectively to complete them. Most of the French universities are funded by the state. This doesn’t mean you will be able to participate in their programmes totally for free, but a small nominal fee of €400 per year can get you in one of the world’s most famous universities. Getting in a university in France doesn’t mean you will relax and spend your days going in romantic trips around the country. The French system gives easy access for the first years, but is  strict when it’s the summer exam period. This way, the system filters the students that are laidback and allows only the best to progress. 

33 undergraduate programmes are English-taught. If you want to join one of them you will have to apply through the online post-baccalaureat admission process (APB), just as all French students do. In France, there is a well organised student housing system of Cites-Universitaires which can help you find an affordable room. You can also apply for a grant from the local Caisse d’Allocation Familiale (CAF) to receive a rebate for a part of your rent. There are some social criteria to control the rebates, and if you want to apply you should do it between the 15th February and the 30th April for a course starting in the next academic year. Another important matter is the health coverage for UK students. Thanks to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), UK and other EU students are exempt from the requirement of purchasing a health insurance. 

France is considered a student-friendly country. Paris, Grenoble, Toulouse, Marseille and Bordeaux are the major cities that foreign students go. Combining the culture, the scenery and studying something that your child really likes, France may be a golden opportunity for new experiences not so far away from home. Here are some useful links to get valuable information: