FRANCE, The top destination for foreign students
Two recent studies confirm the French university system’s excellent reputation abroad.
For the second consecutive year, the British rating organization QS Top Universities ranked Paris number-one on its Best Student Cities list, based on the performance of Parisian academic establishments and the ability of graduates to find jobs.
Paris edged out London, Singapore, Sydney and Melbourne for the top slot.
This annual index considers university towns of more than 250,000 inhabitants with at least two establishments of higher learning. In addition to the excellent job prospects for graduates of Parisian universities on the French and international markets, QS highlights the “delights of life in Paris” and relatively affordable tuition fees.
In addition, according to a poll by TNS-Sofres Campus France, nine out of 10 foreign students who have studied in France were satisfied with their experience and recommend it to others.
France was the top choice of 77% of those questioned. The educational quality (mentioned by 51% of respondents), prior knowledge of French (42%) and the reputation of academic establishments (37%) were the three main factors listed by foreign students.
At the end of their stay, 90% of students said they were satisfied or very satisfied with their experience. The value of their degrees and tourist opportunities garnered the highest satisfaction rates (88% and 90%). Excursions and leisure activities (85%), the French lifestyle (81%) and teaching methods (80%) also lived up to the expectations of both students and former students. 94% of those who completed their studies said that their stay inFrance contributed to their personal enrichment, 86% that it enhanced the value of their education,and eight out of 10 students said it was helpful from a professional standpoint.
Among the non-French-language speakers studying in France, 68% studied our language before arriving and a majority took advantage of their stay to improve their French. 91% percent described their French as average or good.
After graduation, 70% of the respondents said they maintained their tie to France, and 24% belonged to French clubs and alumni networks.
The French cultural network plays a major role in this outcome: 44% of students request information from Campus France, which assists students who are encouraged to study in France by our embassies abroad.
Several measures have been taken recently to improve the welcome of foreign students: increasing the number of dedicated information desks on university campuses; instituting multi-annual residence documents in order tocut down on the number of permits to be filed at government offices; extending the validity of job permits; and pledging to establish 45,000 additional student housing units within five years.
A portal for students educated in France should come on line in 2014 at the behest of the Foreign and Education Ministries. Created by Campus France, it is designed to help them network among themselves and with embassies, academic institutions and other partners, such as businesses, local governments, institutions.