The “City of Light” brings to mind late night strolls along the moonlit Seine, endless epicurean delights, and all things arts and culture -- from music and museums to cafes and cinema. But Paris, along with its fellow French cities, also shines is as a destination for international students -- so much so that for the second straight year the city has claimed the top spot of the best cities to study. For those seeking a top-rate education while immersed in a vibrant and cultured setting, France offers incomparable joie de vivre. Here are the 5 top reasons why you should enroll in France as an international student. Read more about studying in France here.

1) You can get a scholarship to go study in France.

The cost of studying in France ranges dramatically depending on the institution: public universities offer pleasingly low tuition fees, while private institutions cost much more. Still, compared to countries like the U.S. and the U.K., the cost of attending one of France’s premiere institutes of higher education is a relative steal. Not to mention the wealth of scholarships available for international students, which makes France a realistic destination even for those on the tightest budgets.

Government Scholarships for International Students:

  • The Eiffel Scholarships:The Eiffel scholarship program was launched in 1999 by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to support international outreach initiatives by French higher education institutes in order to remain competitive and attract the best international students in master’s, engineering and Ph.D. coursework. While the program doesn’t cover tuition fees, state enrolment fees are waived, and recipients receive a monthly allowance as well as other expenses.
  • Erasmus Mundus Scholarships: These fully funded scholarships offered by the European Union cover living costs, tuition, travel and insurance for master’s and Ph.D. students.
  • Ile-de-France Masters Scholarships: International students at select French universities, including the Ecole Centrale Paris and the Universite Paris-Est Créteil Val de Marne (UPEC), are eligible for funding, with priority given to students from priority areas within the region, as well as from emerging countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Students receive a lump sum of 10,500 euros.

For more information on scholarship funding opportunities from the French Government, visit CNOUS and the EGIDE.

University Scholarships for International Students:

  • Centrale Nantes: These merit-based scholarships support overseas students in the international master’s program. Support covers a 50 percent reduction (from 12,000 to 6,000 euros) in tuition fees for the two-year program. Read more about Centrale Nantes here.
  • The Ecole Central Paris Graduate Fellowship: This prominent Parisian bastion of higher learning awards four merit-based scholarships of 4,000 euros each year to international students with support focused on students pursuing careers in research and/or higher education, as well as those from designated priority regions. Read more about Centrale Paris here.
  • SciencesPo Emile-Boutmy Scholarship: Designed to welcome the best international students from beyond the European Union, this scholarship is awarded based on a student’s merit and profile and includes a variety of support, including full or partial tuition and cost of living funding. Read more about Sciences-Po here.
  • HEC Paris: A number of scholarships, including the "HEC Paris MBA Scholarship for Excellence" and the "HEC Paris MBA Need-Based Scholarship", are available to international students based on criteria including merit and background. Read more about HEC here.
  • INSEAD: These diverse and competitive scholarships are granted under two categories: financial need and merit/profile, depending on factors such as country of origin and professional background and goals. Read more about the INSEAD here.
  • The ISM Global Leadership Scholarship is an award for MBA Applicants from Africa, Middle East, North and South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Latin America, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Asia, India, Pakistan, Australia, and the Pacific Islands. The scholarship recipients will receive US$ 17,167 in funding. Read more about the ISM here.

Scholarships for Students from the U.S.:

  • Fulbright Scholarships:The largest international exchange program in the U.S., Fulbright funds cover travel, housing, meals, research and medical service for students who are preparing for their master’s degrees. Additionally, full-year awards are available for post-doctoral research projects and training and research.

2) You can be part of one of the most renowned education systems in the world.

The Guardian recently published a piece on France’s unique positioning within the international educational landscape. The country is in a unique predicament due to the international higher education market’s increasing focus on English-speaking coursework, not to mention its uniquely fragmented approach and deliberate lack of oversight by a central body. However, despite the country's decentralized approach, some pivotal universal elements remain: an egalitarian imperative -- along with accompanying funding opportunities -- regarding the universal right to higher education; a shared belief in the importance of universities as research and knowledge centers in which students are encouraged to explore flexible cross-curriculum opportunities; and a commitment to the necessity of foreign students in fostering a dynamic and competitive higher educational system.

3) You will be able to take classes in English, even in the heart of Paris.

As a former lingua franca, France has been a holdout as many other countries have transitioned to English-speaking coursework. This seems likely to change soon as there is a strong push -- not to mention a bill currently under consideration by the French parliament -- to allow more courses to be taught in English. The bill’s proponents include some of France’s most prominent academics and scientists, who maintain that an inevitable loosening of the country’s policies about teaching languages will lead to an influx of international students and better strategic positioning for France.

4) You will learn French easily.

Not that learning French is such a bad thing. Considered a fairly easy language to pick up because of its lexical similarity to English, a significant portion of French vocabulary can be understood by the English speaker; in fact, linguists believe that up to a third of modern English has been influenced by French. While advanced students may occasionally struggle with trickier topics, students of conversational French are likely to experience success.

5) You will experience living and studying in one of the most culturally rich countries in the world.

Here are 5 Exceptionnelles reasons to study in France

1. Paris ranked as best city to study.

Beating out London, Singapore, Sydney, Zurich, Boston and many others, Paris was declared the best student city for a reason: from academic resources to bustling nightlife, it is an educational and cultural hub for students from across the globe.

2. Amazing culture hubs.

There’s no place like France when it comes to culture -- particularly as it relates to art, museum and wine. Ultimately, France offers a dynamic and iconic culture that stands alone.

3. Some of the best business and engineering schools in the world.

While the arts may garner the international spotlight, engineering and business merit equal attention. France is home to more than 200 engineering schools and 220 business schools, including the extremely prestigious grandes écoles.

4. Central part of Europe

While France offers everything you need to satisfy your travel lust -- from rolling countryside to urban alleyways -- its central location delivers easy access to other European destinations.

5. Great job opportunities

Students with French degrees have a leading edge on the job hunt, thanks to a thriving network of partnerships between top companies and institutions of higher education. Furthermore, the French government recently declared employability as a French mandate.

 

La France, un pays d'excellence:

 

BONUS MATERIAL:

4 secret tips for Studying in France

While the government increasingly prioritizes international students, certain requirements must be met before enrolling in a French institution. Keep these things in mind when making your plans to study in France.

  • France’s enrollment period is between December 1 and January 31. Information is available from both the French embassy within your own country or Campus France, the French national agency dedicated to international higher education student services. The CEF procedure program is designed to help aspiring international students successfully pursue a course of study.
  • Because there are no defined equivalents between foreign and French qualifications, it’s critical to determine which of your qualifications will be recognized. This is determined at the institutional level.
  • Upon arrival in France, international students are required to visit designated welcome centers where they learn about everything from obtaining a residence permit to how to open a bank account. Students must also be able to demonstrate a minimum of resources in order to remain in the country. France does allow students to work although a temporary work permit is required.
  • Depending on your budget and preferences, a variety of lodging options are available in France -- from campus housing to private accommodations. The international student office of your institution should be able to guide you in the right direction.