Studying abroad is certainly one of the most important steps in a student's journey. This unique experience is the ideal opportunity to get to know different regions, to make new friends, to learn a new language and of course to obtain a world-class degree.
In this area, France has been a very attractive country for international students in international mobility for several years, occupying the 4th place worldwide. In terms of welcoming international students, France thus ranks behind countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.
However, going to study in a foreign country also has its obstacles to overcome. This article compiles 5 common challenges that international students face when traveling to France to study.
The main challenges when traveling to France to study
1. Communication and Language Barriers
One of the biggest challenges a foreign student faces while studying in France is the language barrier. Once on French territory, he or she will certainly encounter problems understanding the different national accents. This is a major obstacle because at the beginning of a study trip, it is necessary to complete various formalities for which a good knowledge of the language is required.
For example, finding accommodation can be difficult in the presence of language barriers. One way to solve this problem is to arrange in advance to rent an apartment or studio. If the student has difficulty in French, it is recommended that he or she contact the owner of the apartment or studio before the trip. This will allow them to take their time to communicate and avoid rushing through the process. To do this, he can consult rental websites such as Rentola and contact the owner to explain his plans.
2. Cultural differences
Another major challenge for international students is adapting to the cultural differences that exist between their home country and France. The local population, ambiance, atmosphere, gastronomy and customs in France are often strongly distinct from the habits of the foreign students' native country.
At first, these differences may shock students and make them anxious. However, any change requires adaptability and a strong mind to acclimate to a new environment. Contrary to stereotypes, the French are generous and welcoming. With a little patience, foreign students will be able to easily blend into the country's culture.
3. Adapting to a New Currency
In France, international students will have to adapt to a new cost of living. If the student comes from a country in the euro zone, comparing local prices to those in their home country will not be too complicated. However, a student from a state outside the Eurozone will go through an adjustment phase to get used to the new currency and order his expenses accordingly.
To ease this transition, the student can study the exchange rate of the new country where he resides. He or she can also use online converters. In addition to the new currency, international students will need to be aware of the taxes applied to various products.
4. Organizing finances
During their stay, students will need to learn how to properly manage their finances on a daily basis. Some international students may be fortunate enough to secure a scholarship, which will help reduce their financial burden. However, they will still need to learn how to budget.
In France, everyday living is not cheap. In addition to tuition, international students in France will need to consider costs related to housing, food, transportation and other aspects of daily life.
In France, costs are generally higher in large cities such as Paris, Lyon, Nice and Toulouse. However, these costs also depend on lifestyle, type of accommodation and spending habits. You will also have to learn to balance your finances with your social activities.
However, in France, the government allows you to work while you study, which may help improve your finances.
When you go to study in a foreign country, it is easy to feel homesick. This is even more the case in a country like France where the habits and customs are very marked. However, homesickness is a common feeling that naturally arises when you move away from home.
According to a study by HSBC, homesickness affects more than 90% of international students at some point during their study trip.
However, the most important thing is that this feeling doesn't stop you from having an incredible experience in France. If you miss your family and friends, it is possible to communicate with them virtually via the various online messengers. Finally, the best way to get rid of homesickness is to go out and explore French society, take care of your new housing and discover your new university campus.
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