Dear prospective student,
In his book entitled A Moveable Feast, novelist Ernest Hemingway wrote that it was in France that he felt most strongly what it meant to be an American. Indeed, you sometimes have to leave your own country to better understand its culture. Moreover, in doing so, you find yourself in a remarkable position to live, work, learn about, and interact with people from all kinds of backgrounds.
Having more young people with international experience is not only an important issue for education, but also an issue that relates to a nation’s economic and national security and to the effectiveness of its public diplomacy. Moreover, for the individual who takes the initiative to spend time in a different country, international study translates into expanded job opportunities at home and abroad.
But why study in France?
There is a close relationship between France and the U.S. that goes back to when the U.S. was born. France played an instrumental role in helping the young nation to achieve its independence, while the American Revolution greatly influenced the French one that closely followed. Since then, the two countries have shared common values. Beyond politics and law, the reciprocal influence between the two cultures has broadened and deepened over time, whether in art, literature, cinema, fashion, or – of course – research and education.
And then there is the richness and diversity of France itself – its geography, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea; its history; its vivid culture; its resilient spirit; its people – that make it a truly remarkable country in which to live and learn.
Furthermore, studying in a French environment offers important exposure to the much wider Francophone cultural area that extends to Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean. Columbia University Professor Souleymane Bachir Diagne, who received his undergraduate and graduate training in France, reminds us that we tend to forget that French culture is shared and reinvented in many other parts of the world. This is not a static culture, but rather, as Professor Diagne says, "a vivid and lively one.”
France is also the world’s sixth largest economic power in terms of GDP. Some 750,000 people in France are employed by American multinational companies, and in the United States, 520,000 Americans work for French multinational companies. The two countries' close economic relationship creates unique opportunities for employees who can navigate between the two cultures successfully.
France: a top destination for international students
In 2007-2008, more than 17,000 Americans studied in France as undergraduate and graduate students – this was a 46 percent increase since 2001. After the U.S. and England, France is the country that attracts the largest number of international students in the world; international students make up more than 15 percent of the students at French universities and more than 25 percent of the students at France’s prestigious grands établissements (Sciences Po, Dauphine, EHESS, etc.).
Whether your field of study is science, business or the humanities, France’s higher education institutions offer a wide array of programs to choose from to help you achieve your academic and professional goals. While around half of North American students who come to France decide to study in Paris, many other French cities also offer excellent education and superb culture. Whether your campus is located in Toulouse, Grenoble, Lyon, Marseille, Nice, or Lille, you will be no more than a few hours away from Paris by TGV (a high-speed train) – and only a short plane or train ride to many other vibrant European cities, such as Barcelona, Rome, Berlin, and Amsterdam.
How can Campus France U.S.A. help?
Campus France U.S.A. is here to help you throughout your application process. Students who plan to pursue an academic program in France for over 3 months must complete the Campus France application and obtain student visas before their departure. Thanks to this extensive website, you will find information on French and American scholarships, a directory of 36,000 different degrees and training programs, a directory of courses and programs taught in English, and detailed information about the French higher education system. Our advisors will be pleased to help make your stay in France a successful one.
We wish you an enjoyable experience in France – one that will remain with you for a lifetime.