Mumbai: Over 4500 students attended the Choose France Tour 2023, conducted by the French government in Chennai, New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata between October 8 to 15, as the country looks to attract 30,000 Indian students by 2030.
The European nation, which is becoming extremely popular for Management, Social Sciences, STEM, etc, led a delegation of representatives from 48 prominent French universities, Grand Ecoles, and other public institutions to the Indian cities.
“Academic collaborations and student exchanges are important to develop cooperation between India and France. A lot of students from India don’t know that France offers between 1600-1700 of its programmes in English. Though most of them go for Management courses, it’s important for us to advertise our Engineering and Art programmes as well,” French Consul General in Mumbai, Jean-Marc Séré-Charlet, told The Free Press Journal.
Choose France Tour 2023 | FPJ
France’s post study visa beneficial for international students
Though a newer study destination as compared to the US, UK, Canada, and Australia, France’s lucrative two-year stayback is one of its most sought-after features among students. But despite the introduction of a five-year short-stay Schengen visa by the French government, which will allow students from India who pursued a semester in France to travel in the European Union, officials believe its transition to an extended post-study visa is not a priority.
“What we have seen so far is that Indian students are not looking to extend their post-study visa beyond two years, and instead like the possibility of travelling to France with ease,” said Sami Bouakaze, who serves as the Deputy Consul General in Mumbai.
Choose France Tour 2023 | FPJ
Educational initiatives priority in India-France relationship
Adopting a roadmap focusing on the mobility of students, France is targeting the initiation of joint training courses and promotion of studies through increased French staff in India, with scholarships playing a huge part in the same.
“We are raising the number of scholarships we can offer to Indian students year by year. Currently, we are providing five hundred scholarships to students from India annually, with Charpak Fellowship being one of the prominent ones,” said Margo Girard, Head, of Campus France India, who added that France is the most popular study destination for Indian students applying for the famed Erasmus programme, which finances international exchange programmes, academics in EU. “Currently France has over 8k-10k Indian students and we hope the number grows manifold in the coming years,” added Girard.
4500 Indian students took part in the Choose France Tour 2023 as compared to 3000 in 2022. | FPJ
Learning French now easier
With France not treating English as its first language, many students might also be worried about work opportunities in the country. To tackle such a situation for thousands of its international students, the country is also initiating French classes starting September 2024.
“The French Mission has decided on starting French classes for students, who don’t know the language, in its institutions wherein they can reach B2 level after a year of studying the language. We are also offering classes lasting 20-25 hours a week for students who wish to learn French,” said Dr. Philippe Maurin, Scientific and Higher Education Attaché at the Consulate General of France in Mumbai. “There’s more and more influence of Indian students and researchers in France, especially in the field of Science which is encouraging,” added Dr. Maurin.