France is a popular international students' study destination abroad. Besides the breathtaking scenic beauty, dense historic past and cultural richness, France also houses some of the oldest universities in the world. The University of Paris founded in 1179, University of Toulouse founded in 1229 and University of Montpellier founded in 1289, are till date are rated worldwide as centers of academic excellence. During the last four years four French scientists have received the prestigious Nobel Prize, a signal honour for the country. This achievement reflects the high level and efficiency of engineering studies in France. Education in France is subsidized by the state and thus provides good value for money by offering internationally recognized degrees at affordable costs. In order to attract more international students, French Universities are now increasingly using English as the medium of instruction specially in areas like management, engineering, political sciences etc. For students lacking proficiency in French, language centers and special courses are available during vacation time.
Higher Education in France offers the following two options : At Competitive Institutes (Grandes Ecoles) entry is selective. Specialization in engineering, commerce, civil services and teaching are offered. The duration of studies vary from 3 to 5 years. In State Universities, any student who has completed the secondary school diploma may qualify. Two categories of courses are offered : General courses - These are divided into 3 cycles. Each cycle leads to a national diploma. The 1st cycle is of 2 years for undergraduate studies. 2nd cycle is of 2 to 3 years of graduate studies and the 3rd cycle is of l to 3 years of post graduate studies. Professional courses - These are offered at "Instituts Universitaires Professionnalisés" (IUP). The curriculum consists of 3 years of technical courses with a 6 month vocation training and practice in an international firm. Medical studies which include medicine, dental studies and pharmacology are also offered at the universities at the Faculty of Medical Studies. The duration of these courses are 7 years. Art, Architecture, Agriculture, Law, Public Administration etc. are offered in specialized schools. The duration of these courses varies from 3 to 7 years.
International students who are not from Europe (that is, students who are not nationals of the countries of the European Economic Region plus Andorra, Monaco, Switzerland, San Marino, and Vatican City) must obtain a long-term visa marked "student" in order to study in France for longer than 3 months.
International students of all nationalities enjoy the right of multiple entries into France. Once granted, their visa is automatically renewed for the duration of their studies in France.
A special visa exists for prospective students. The so-called étudiant-concours visa is granted for stays of no more than 90 days for the purpose of taking an entrance examination or visiting institutions of higher education. Prospective students who pass their examination receive a full student visa without returning to their country of origin. The prospective student visa also may be granted to students whose admission to a higher education institution is contingent upon their completion of a short course of remedial or refresher work.
What documentation do I need to get a visa?
The passport must be valid for the entire period of validity of the visa.
Proof of enrollment
Each French embassy sets the level of financial resources to be demonstrated by prospective students from that country. The amount is on the order of 3,000 francs for each month to be spent in France.
Proof of insurance must be provided by students over 28 who are nationals of a country that does not have a reciprocity agreement with France or who are enrolled in an institution that is not recognized by the French government to participate in the student health insurance plan.
In some cases, the consulate may require proof of vaccination
Scholarships and Financial aid are available for International Students in France.
Problems that may arise due to lack of finance may be overcame by various trusts and grants available. Many organizations are ready to finance you if you have some extra talent or you are good on your studies. These grants will be very helpful for continuing your higher studies in France.
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