J’aime la France

The country is fast emerging as one of the most popular destinations for Indian students seeking higher education


France is one of the advanced developed countries but has traditionally not been popular with Indian students wanting to pursue higher education. The primary reason was that English was not the primary medium of instruction. Also, the rules governing the ease of procuring a student visa for Indian students were not very friendly. But all that is passé. Today, France is fast emerging as a popular destination for Indian students, especially for the ones seeking their master’s degree. It offers international students a unique educational experience with its world-class universities, diverse academic programmes, and a high quality of life.

In 2022, around 7,000 Indian students registered for various programmes in France. This is estimated to increase to 30,000 registrations by 2030. Here is a look at the primary factors contributing to this trend.


Attractive student visa

One of the most attractive features of studying in France is that Indian students pursuing their masters degree in France are now eligible for a five-year post-study work permit. This is significantly higher than what the U.S.A., Canada and some of the major European countries offer to Indian students. This gives sufficient time for the students to secure a good job and subsequently to seek permanent residency in the country. Unlike the U.K., France is still part of the European Union which gives easier access to the students to other major European countries as well.

High quality of education

France is home to some of the biggest and most prestigious universities in the world. Some, like University of Paris, ENS Paris, and HEC Paris are examples of truly global universities with state-of-the-art education facilities. One of France’s primary strengths as a study destination is the diversity of academic programmes it offers. Whether you’re interested in arts and humanities, science and technology, or business and management, French universities provide a wide variety of courses to fulfil this interest, both at an undergraduate as well as postgraduate level. France offers good opportunities, especially for students wanting to study in fields like business management, engineering, fashion, hospitality, art and design.


English-taught programmes

While French is the primary language of instruction, many universities especially for the masters programmes are offering degrees with English as the primary medium of instruction. This makes higher education in France more accessible to Indian students who are not known to be proficient in French. However, it’s always advisable for students to learn French since it will allow them to blend with the local culture and also improve their chances of securing a good job after completion of their course.


Lower cost of education

Education in France is not entirely free. However, compared to the U.S.A. and even the U.K., France is relatively cheaper to study in. The French government provides scholarships and grants which are available for Indian students too, provided they get selected for the same. The French government also provides housing assistance to ease the financial burden on students. The student visa also allows Indian students to work for 20 hours a week which helps them to earn while studying, hence helping them manage day-to-day living expenses.


Research and innovation

For students wanting to pursue their PhD, France offers a great opportunity for research and innovation. The country is home to numerous research institutions, and many universities have collaborations with major industries. As a student, you get exposure to cutting-edge research projects and gain valuable practical experience, enhancing your academic and professional profile. High-quality research projects can also get funded by the industry with most universities having strong tie-ups with the global industry.


High quality of life

France is one of the most advanced developed countries in the world with rich history, cultural diversity, and beautiful landscapes. While the countryside is pristine and breathtaking, the urban infrastructure boasts world-class transport, healthcare and education facilities. Students can explore world-famous museums, art galleries and historical sites. The opportunity to immerse oneself in French culture, cuisine, and traditions is an educational experience in itself, contributing to personal growth and enrichment. The per capita GDP is close to 40,000 dollars, which is among the highest in the world ensuring that its citizens on an average are among the richest in the world.

In conclusion, I would advise students to look beyond the U.S.A., Canada, the U.K., and Australia when they aim to pursue their dreams of studying abroad. France is one such attractive alternative. However, one should consider factors like the type of course, quality of university, objective of studying abroad, budget, and future goals before making an informed decision.

(The writer has a PhD and is an overseas education consultant, trainer, and life coach at Career Crafters-Panaji. He has over two decades of experience dealing with students at the higher education level.)