mercredi 23 juillet 2014

University and higher education courses in France : CampusFrance

I don't know about other countries since I've never searched extensively within those, but I feel that France has a HUGE number of universities and tertiary education institutions, and courses. Even the tiniest little towns in the middle of nowhere with tiny populations seem to have unis or 'écoles'.(schools). I'm guessing this is because of the historical significance of higher education in France... Anyway if you are looking to study in France here are some useful links for you to find the course of your dreams.

I find that the site has a wealth of information but it's structured very badly so it can be hard to find the information you need. I hope my list makes it easier for you.

Whole list

Bachelor (Licence) courses
Masters courses
Doctoral courses

Courses taught in English - Note that for having the privilege of a course taught in English you'll most likely have to pay high fees, something like 6000-10,000 euros. Business/MBA and artistic/creative courses are also very expensive. Only normal or 'common' courses are inexpensive (few hundred euros).

Artistic/creative courses (from homepage CampusArt)

Grants/scholarships (bourses) to study in France (CampusBourses)

It's important to check
* cut off date for applications (apply well in advance)
* pre-requisites, need Bachelors or Masters degree already? age requirements (many courses seem to have age cut-offs which is ageist but anyway..., need special skills or work experience? need a portfolio/showreel/ etc?)
* fees (tarifs) Unfortunately not all sites show this! Generally if they don't show it, I just assume it's expensive, in the vicinity of close to 10,000 euros.
* visa requirements if you are not EU European.

This site (Lyon Campus) has some useful information.

Most students finances come from a variety of sources : personal savings, parental or state help, a job… 
Your student status will entitle you to reductions on transport, leisure activites… However, be careful to plan your budget for being in France in as much detail as possible. You will need at least 600 euros a month to live decently and possibly 800 euros the first month to meet the expense of settling in.  
Reminder : you will need a minimum of 430 euros monthly revenue in order to obtain a resident’s permit !  
An idea of the cost of living in Lyon
  • Accommodation : 350 to 600 euros a month for a studio or a one-roomed flat, known as a T1 
  • Monthly electricity, gas and telephone bill : 60 euros on average 
  • City transport : 11.90 euros for a book of 10 tickets valid on the bus, tram and metro (or monthly subscription 25 euros) 
  • High speed inter-city train from Lyon to Paris : 60 euros if you have a 12-25 card, which also costs 49 euros a year, 120 euros if you have no card. You can buy ‘Prem’s’ tickets on internet. These are very cheap, but it is a good idea to plan your trip three months in advance. 
  • Food : about 200 euros a month 
  • A meal at one of the university restaurants : 2.90 euros 
  • A meal at a pizzeria (with desert, but no drink) : 15 euros 
  • A 250 g stick of French bread : 0.80 euros on average 
  • A ticket for the cinema : 6 or7 euros on average, student price 
  • Ticket for a show : 4 euros with the Culture Pass (Pass Culture)  
France is different from other countries in that it gives considerable indirect financial help to each student by assuming practically the whole cost of higher education in public institutions, both for French students and foreigners. The real cost of higher education is around 6000 euros per student, per year, on average. 

Having a job at the same time as being a student 
In France there is a minimum legal wage, known as the SMIC (Salaire minimum interprofessionnel de croissance). The gross hourly wage is 8.71 €, that is before obligatory social contributions have been taken off (around 20% per hour). You should not be paid less than this ! 
  • The fact that you have a student resident’s card or a long stay student visa entitles you to have a paid job, without asking for special permission. 
  • However, your job must not exceed 964 hours a year. The prefecture can withdraw a student’s resident card if this limit is not respected. 
  • A foreign student can only be hired after the employer has registered his or her name at the prefecture that issued the resident’s card, or for a foreign student holding a long stay visa, at the prefecture of the place where he or she lives. This formality must be done at least 2 days before starting the job. 
  • Registration includes a copy of the student’s resident’s card or long-stay visa. The nature of the job, length of contract, number of hours to be worked annually and starting date should be stated. 
  • You must obtain permission to work if you wish to have a paid job during your studies. 
  • An application form must be sent in to the DDTEFP. This must include a job contract or promise of a job. 
  • Permission is limited to 50% of the yearly work quota 

Happy researching! :)

mardi 15 juillet 2014

French: To vous or to tu?

You might have seen this chart already, it's from the LA Times. Somebody made this useful (and funny) flowchart to help you figure out whether to 'tu' or to 'vous' someone.

I usually wait for the other person to see what they call me and I use the same word back. If they don't use either as it hasn't come up in the conversation yet, I would tend to use 'vous' UNLESS we are of a similar age or they are younger than me. I've met people younger than me who wanted to 'vous' me and I asked them to 'tu' me and they still 'vous'ed me!  I dunno... for me it's kind of like being called Madame instead of Mademoiselle. It makes me feel old!

I had also read that online, people tend to 'tu' each other.

Another interesting thing to do is to watch French films and see whether the characters use vous or tu depending on their relationship with each other.

tutoyer - the act of calling the other person 'tu' (informal 'you')
vousvoyer - the act of calling the other person 'vous' (formal 'you')
tutoiement / vouvoiement - the manner of addressing the ther person

Have fun! ;)

dimanche 13 juillet 2014

Are the French afraid to be single?

I was thinking back to all the French friends I made while I was studying French. Some of them were single at the time but most of them were living with their partner.

And now, nearly all of them are married or they have kids (but are not married).

But I get the feeling that:

  1. Many French people are afraid to be single. It's not 'cool' to be single. They would rather be in a bad relationship than none at all.
  2. They don't really value marriage but like to live in a marriage-type situation (PACSé) and have kids (after they have been together a number of years). 
It's true that the birth rate in France is one of the highest in Europe (link)

But I don't think it's just a French thing. I think it's a very European thing to co-habitate from a young age (early 20s) and then live with that person for like 10+ years then eventually think about getting married and/or having kids.  Breaking up seems to be out of the question!

I feel like it's the same for platonic friendships. People just keep the same friends they've always had and aren't really open to the idea of making new ones once they are in their late 20s or 30s.

I also feel that it's kind of similar to religious or 'ethnic' people of certain cultures, where there is this unspoken rule that the first or second person you ever fall in love with, you just have to stick with them for life, no matter what. Now I'm not saying that French people don't get divorced, I'm sure they do... but I was just talking about being in your 20s where it's acceptable to 'try' a number of different partners, I really feel that many French people would rather die than breakup and be single (feel free to prove me wrong! ;) )

No real point to this blogpost, but just some thoughts that were running around in my head...

BTW watch this video.

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