The academic year 2021-2022 saw over 4 lakh foreign students choosing France as their study abroad destination. But from India, only 10,000 students made that choice though the situation is expected to change soon.
This belief was also seconded by French Foreign Affairs Minister Mrs. Catherine Colonna, during an interaction with students at the Lady Shri Ram College in Delhi. “We want the number of Indian students to rise to 20,000 by 2025. I know it’s an ambitious target, but I also know that between India and France, the sky’s the limit,” said the Minister.
What can France offer?
First off, France offers an excellent academic environment. In Management, for instance, ¼th of the top 100 Masters programmes in Financial Times ranking have been French for the past 6/7 years. In Science, this country, which is no bigger than the state of Karnataka in India, is 2nd after the US in terms of Fields Medalists (the most prestigious recognition in Mathematics).
The reasons behind such great results come from a high level of theoretical knowledge, along with an emphasis on experiential learning with yearly internships being mandatory from 1st year of the Bachelor’s onwards in certain business schools, which means at least 15 months of professional experience through relevant internships by graduation time.
On top, involvement in a hive of active student associations is also the norm in Management schools, in particular, allowing students to put into practice their learnings in concrete manners.
Also, coming to France means coming to Schengen. One can access 26 countries from the zone during their studies and for at least another 2 years post-master’s graduation (if from India). It tremendously expands one’s career opportunities.
Benefitting from public systems
Furthermore, the cost of studies is reasonable: INR 11 crores were distributed by the French Embassy to Indian students before their departure. But on arrival also, international students are receiving similar benefits as domestic ones. The Public Health System, which is free of cost, accommodation, and allowance representing on average 30% of students’ rent makes it possible for students to study in some of the best programmes in the world and enjoy a reasonable cost of living.
International experience in a globalised country
Finally, the very fact that 1 out 10 students in France are foreigners means that Indian students can enjoy a real international experience, comfortably studying in English Medium (over 1600 programmes are taught in English in France), while taking the time on their side to acquire fluency in French. And when you know that 50 countries around the world speak French as 1st or 2nd language, you will have the realisation that it’s a lifetime opportunity.
Maud Le Bars
Last but not the least, France is listed among the 5 countries on the MakeinIndia website and is the 3rd largest foreign employer in India. In Europe or India, career opportunities would therefore flourish post studying in France.
(The author is the South Asia Area Manager, Rennes School of Business, and Conseillère du Commerce Extérieur de la France )