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French class

When it comes to teaching quality and financial support, France offers Indians more than you could think of, says Pranab Ghosh

education Updated: Jul 14, 2009 17:26 IST
Pranab Ghosh

Parul Sikka is an Indian student, doing her MBA from Cnam-IIM, Paris, a leading French institute. Parul is, in fact, following a trend. Management studies now seem to be most favoured by Indian students going to France. Of a total of 1,757 Indians who went to study in France in 2008, 1,092 took up management studies. And 423 were girls.
Sikka had two options. One, to go to an English-speaking country, as has been the custom for Indians for so long; or, to choose a country that, while giving her “an upper hand in terms of education”, also provides “a good cultural mix”. France fitted the bill in every way.

“France has a really well-knit education system, which not only provides you good quality education but also supports you financially (through state scholarship programmes and health insurance),” says Sikka. “Opportunities increase with your language skill (French), which adds value to your CV when applying to international companies for jobs.”

Points to note
While planning to study abroad, four things were at the top of her mind: 1) How to finance the course? 2) What should be the language of instruction? 3) Would she get health insurance? 4) Would there be good job prospects and a reasonable stay permit?

The French scholarship programme helped finance her studies. As for the language, “You need to know some French to communicate. If you have taken French classes till Level 4 in India, it’s sufficient. Without French, it is difficult to survive at the beginning, but not impossible,” says Sikka. Job prospects after completing the course are extremely good and Sikka was covered health-wise, too. So, nothing could stop her.

Easier visa rules
With its new visa rules, the French government has made life easier for people like Sikka.

The new long-stay visa for students going on long-term study programmes to France will double as a residence permit, thereby reducing paperwork. The new simplified visa rules were explained by Eliane Tullon, Visa Consul, in the pre-departure orientation session where head honchos of Orange India, Thales India and DCNS India awarded scholarships to 13, 8 and 4 Indian students, respectively, who are all going to study in France this academic session. The session was held at the French embassy last week.

“With effect from June 1, 2009, visas valid for a stay above three months in France will exempt such visa holders from applying for a residence permit during the validity period of the visa,” said Tullon.
This new rule applies to students and also spouses of French nationals, visitors, and workers in France, both temporary and permanent.

Fact file
A Paris Metro pass for unlimited monthly travel costs 50 euros

Accommodation options for a student are university residences or shared rooms

Students can avail up to 30 per cent discount on lodging through the social security APL (personalised lodging assistance allowances given to all students)

Hostel rents are 150-400 euros per month. But these are reduced with APL