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     Volume 1 Issue 3 | August 20, 2006 |


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Campus Feature

Come study in France

Shakhawat Hossain

France occupies an important position in the international sector of scientific exchange and advanced training. On the basis of the recognised quality of its higher-education institutions, France wishes to welcome an increasing number of foreign students each year. This document will provide you with the information you need to find out specific details with regard to higher education in France, specific training programmes, preparing for your stay, and scholarships awarded by the French government, etc.

Presentation of the EduFrance agency.
EduFrance is the official agency, created in 1998, that provides assistance to foreign students in France. EduFrance enjoys a special status under the dual control of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Youth, National Education and Research, along with a contribution of the Ministry of Culture and the Secretariat of State for Foreign Trade. Its members are France's public and private higher-education institutions. The agency thus brings together 177 members (universities, grandes écoles, and institutes), which pool their experiences and knowledge for the benefit of foreign students.

EduFrance has offices abroad, called Espaces EduFrance (88 offices in 37 countries) in partnership with diplomatic missions, institutes and cultural centres, as well as the Alliances Françaises, including in Bangladesh.

EduFrance is involved in the following activities :
Providing information and guidance to foreign students, assisting them in their various steps towards enrolment via the local EduFrance offices;

Taking part in and providing logistical support for various events organized abroad to promote higher education in France (trade shows, forums, tours in major university towns, etc.) in collaboration with the diplomatic missions and members;
Publishing a directory of France's training offering, created in partnership with the members, featuring more than 450 training courses (graduate studies, multilingual studies, European courses, foreign language preparation, tutoring, professional training, etc.);

Setting up a department that provides specific services, on a trial basis for certain countries, making it possible to guide the foreign student right from the first administrative steps taken in his country of origin until his stay in France;

Organizing an Internet site (available in 14 languages), which provides the 80,000 monthly visitors with access to advanced training in France as well as the services offered by EduFrance. For students in Bangladesh, this is the prime source of information.

What can you study in France?
Absolutely anything : higher education in France is very competitive and covers all aspects of knowledge.
France devotes more than 20% of its national budget to education each year.

This very high figure makes it possible to offer all students with advanced training in all fields and at all levels in an exceptional network featuring 400 internationally renowned higher-education institutions and research canters. Curricula and teaching methods that are suited to each personal and professional objective ; the diplomas are recognised internationally;

Studies are heavily subsidised by the State for both French and foreign students : the cost of enrolment in public universities is nominal, lodging, transport and restaurants are partly paid for and event recreational activities have special prices for students.

Besides, you'll enjoy a living environment and cultural exchanges of great richness in the heart of the European Union;

How can you prepare for your stay in France?
Visit the EduFrance agency website at www.edufrance.fr, or the website of the French Embassy in Dhaka at www.ambafrance-bd.org.

The EduFrance Agency can support you by : Helping you choose a suitable and recognized curriculum;
Ensuring the quality of your stay in France; Helping you save time and facilitating your administrative steps - which are unavoidable as soon as you arrive in France, so that you can dedicate yourself fully to your studies;

All but a very few expensive private schools work in French, so you must learn French language. The best possible way is to start here in Bangladesh. The Alliances françaises in Dhaka and Chittagong can help you efficiently at a very reasonable cost. Details and addresses at www.ambafrance-bd.org.

Scholarship in France
It should be emphasised that foreign students, when they are not scholarship recipients, enjoy the same low tuition fees for the universities and public institutions administered by the Ministry of National Education as French students (between €135 and €400 per year). The actual cost is much higher (between €6,000 and €15,000 per year) but it is paid by the government. Accordingly, it may be said that every student enrolled in these institutions receives an indirect aid of this amount each year.

Most scholarships are granted by the Cooperation and Cultural Action Departments of the French embassies abroad. Applicants for these scholarships must, before their departure and sufficiently in advance, contact these Departments directly in their country of origin in order to obtain all of the necessary information with regard to the awarding of these scholarships and the additional dossiers. In Bangladesh, scholarships are limited to a few PhDs co-delivered by a French and a Bangladeshi university.

Foreign students in France are allowed to work part time, up to 864 hours per year. It may not be very easy to find well-paid jobs, but it gives each student a real chance to be able to cover most of his or her expenses.

Eiffel merit scholarships
Created in 1999 by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the “Eiffel merit scholarship” program is aimed at the top foreign students who wish to pursue their graduate studies in France, for the final two years of a degree program or for postgraduate studies, in three major fields: engineering sciences, economics-management, and law and political science. The French institutions that have already accepted them for enrolment must put candidates forward.

This program is also designed to support the international activities of French institutions, which thus have at their disposal a particularly attractive tool for identifying and selecting the top students who have enrolled in their course.

(Shakhawat Hossain is Press Attaché Embassy of France, Dhaka)



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