The quality of French higher education is widely recognized throughout the world. French institutions figure prominently in the Shanghai Classification of Universities, in the rankings of the Financial Times and Times Higher, and in the European Report on Science and Technologies published by the European Commission.Each year, France makes massive investments in education and research. In fact, education is the largest category of government spending, accounting for more than 20% of the budget.
The Guardian recently published a piece on France's unique positioning within the international educational landscape. The country is in a unique predicament due to the international higher education market's increasing focus on English-speaking coursework, not to mention its uniquely fragmented approach and deliberate lack of oversight by a central body. However, despite the country's decentralized approach, some pivotal universal elements remain: an egalitarian imperative -- along with accompanying funding opportunities -- regarding the universal right to higher education; a shared belief in the importance of universities as research and knowledge centers in which students are encouraged to explore flexible cross-curriculum opportunities; and a commitment to the necessity of foreign students in fostering a dynamic and competitive higher educational system.
As a former lingua franca, France has been a holdout as many other countries have transitioned to English-speaking coursework. This seems likely to change soon as there is a strong push -- not to mention a bill currently under consideration by the French parliament -- to allow more courses to be taught in English. The bill's proponents include some of France's most prominent academics and scientists, who maintain that an inevitable loosening of the country's policies about teaching languages will lead to an influx of international students and better strategic positioning for France.
Not that learning French is such a bad thing. Considered a fairly easy language to pick up because of its lexical similarity to English, a significant portion of French vocabulary can be understood by the English speaker; in fact, linguists believe that up to a third of modern English has been influenced by French. While advanced students may occasionally struggle with trickier topics, students of conversational French are likely to experience success.
Beating out London, Singapore, Sydney, Zurich, Boston and many others, Paris was declared the best student city for a reason: from academic resources to bustling nightlife, it is an educational and cultural hub for students from across the globe.
Amazing culture hubs.
There's no place like France when it comes to culture -- particularly as it relates to art, museum and wine. Ultimately, France offers a dynamic and iconic culture that stands alone.
Some of the best business and engineering schools in the world.
While the arts may garner the international spotlight, engineering and business merit equal attention. France is home to more than 200 engineering schools and 220 business schools, including the extremely prestigious grandes écoles.