Last February, Campus France , the French agency for the promotion of higher education, reception and international mobility, and the market research institute BVA published an unprecedented survey on “the outgoing mobility of students in France *”. Some 26,000 representative students from 330 higher education establishments were questioned about their motivations for studying abroad, discussed their preferred destinations and described the obstacles to be lifted to encourage departure.
OVERCOMING THE FEAR of family estrangement
The report is full of interesting information. We learn, for example, that 74% of university students do not leave, compared to 19% of their counterparts in business or engineering schools. Another observation: only 1 student out of 3 enriches his course with an experience abroad, yet synonymous with openness “to the world, to cultures, but also to an increasingly international economy and competition”. A statistic to put into perspective, because with 73,400 French students from abroad, France is the 5th country, tied with Saudi Arabia, which “exports” the most students in the world (the first two are China and India). And with 3.5% of the student population outside the borders, we are doing better than the world average established at 1.8%. Moreover, the desire is there:
The gap with reality results as much from the fear of family estrangement as from a lack of encouragement and involvement from the school in such a project, from a language level very often judged too low by interested in taking the risk at the start (a crippling deficiency for 38% of respondents), and of limited means (a six-month stay costs around 6,000 euros, according to the study). A source of satisfaction, however: the mobility recorded between 2011 and 2013 increased by + 24%, a figure “revealing a change in attitudes and behavior in terms of international mobility for students and their establishments”. All is not lost!
If, like 60% of respondents, you believe that a stay abroad facilitates access to expatriation, several solutions are available to you. The most common are the classic, but still effective, end-of-study internship as well as academic exchange through a program like the popular Erasmus+. MBA, BBA and other international masters courses from major business schools (HEC, Essec, ESC, etc.) and engineering schools (Centralization, Ecole centrale – Lyon and Marseille in the lead), and IEPs (Sciences Po), promote also temporary expatriation. A large number of establishments also offer a formula that is very popular with companies: the “double diploma” which allows you to acquire… a double skill, in exchange for an additional year of study. Proof of recruiters’ interest at the end of the cycle: they go so far as to pay a higher salary (by 10% on average) to happy graduates. How to find your way in this jungle and put all the chances on your side to take advantage of studies in “VO” and enhance your CV? Here are some tips to help you.
BUSINESS SCHOOLS: the royal road to international
For business schools, stays abroad are a must. From the second year most often, one or even two semesters outside France are imposed on students (who can stay longer if they wish). There are dozens of partnerships with foreign universities (more than a hundred on average for the schools that award the master’s degree). And all continents are concerned! Moreover, if the American campuses maintain the fantasy, Asia and Africa attract more and more.
Another trend: from China to Brazil via the United States, more and more business schools are opening their own campuses abroad. A good way to enrich their offer and guarantee departures when places in universities or partner schools are limited. Essec recently inaugurated its Africa-Atlantic campus near Rabat (Morocco) and, since the start of the 2015 academic year, EMLYON has been offering an MBA in Casablanca. De Kedge, present in Suzhou (China) and Dakar (Senegal), in Skema, also in Suzhou, but also in Raleigh (United States) and Belo Horizonte (Brazil), without forgetting ESCP Europe, a pioneer in material, in Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid or Turin: you are spoiled for choice! There remains the question of cost: the “Bachelor of Business Administration” from Essec and EMLYON are billed at 10,500 euros per year.