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Exploring Internship Opportunities for International Students in France

Written by esc author on 27 Sep 2023 Posted in Blog

There are numerous motivations for pursuing an internship in France, whether it's a requirement for completing your degree, a means to cover expenses, or an opportunity to gain practical work experience. However, before embarking on your internship quest, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the guidelines established by France for international students in France or graduates seeking internships.

In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into why many students opt for internships in France, explore the potential income, delve into the necessary documentation, examine the internship duration and location options, and outline the steps for securing an internship after your studies.

Motivations for Interning in France

Work Experience and Future Employment: An internship in France offers the chance to acquire valuable work experience, enhancing your prospects for post-graduation employment.

Application of Theoretical Knowledge: It allows you to put into practice the theories and skills gained during your academic studies.

Language Proficiency: For those interested in improving their French language skills, working in France offers an excellent opportunity for linguistic immersion.

Cultural Exposure: Interning in France provides insights into the French work culture, helping you decide whether you'd like to pursue a career in the country after completing your studies.

Financial Support: Internships can supplement your income, assisting with living expenses while studying in France.

Networking: Building a professional network during your internship can prove invaluable for your future career prospects.

Visa Requirements for Interning in France

Non-EU Students at French Institutions: Full-time non-EU students enrolled in French institutions can undertake internships with a valid student visa, even if their degree program does not require an internship. They need to obtain a "Convention de Stage" form from their university, confirming their intention to work as an intern.

Non-EU Students Not Enrolled in French Institutions: Non-EU students who are not enrolled in French institutions can only participate in internships in France if it is part of their training course in their home country or within an Interreg program (EU cooperation program). These internships must be conducted in a company or public hospital and provide a minimum monthly stipend of €615. Visa requirements vary depending on the internship duration:

For internships lasting up to 3 months, a short-stay visa (tourist visa) is required.

For internships exceeding 3 months, a long-stay internship visa (internship VLS-TS) is necessary. It must be validated online within 3 months of arrival in France.

Non-EU Graduates from French Institutions: Graduates from French institutions with at least a bachelor's degree (Licence Professionelle) can apply for a job seeker (carte de séjour) visa to stay in France while seeking employment. This application can be made within four years of graduating from a French institution.

Special Cases: Some non-EU students from countries with migration flow agreements do not require a job seeker visa but can stay in France with a temporary resident permit called APS (autorisation provisoire de séjour). APS and job seeker visas differ in terms of application fees, duration, and renewability.

EU and EEA Students: Students or graduates from EU or EEA countries do not face any specific visa requirements to stay and work in France.

Types of Internships in France

Internship as a Degree Requirement: Also known as an "end of studies internship," this type of internship must align with your academic field, contribute to your grades (ECTS), typically lasts 2 to 6 months, and cannot exceed 6 months per year. It requires an internship agreement called "convention de stage" signed by you, the host company, and your educational institution. Importantly, working hours during this internship do not count towards the annual limit of 964 hours of permitted work.

Extracurricular Internship for Graduates: This type of internship must be undertaken within four years of graduation, be relevant to your academic field, and typically lasts 6 to 12 months.

Compensation for Internships in France

In France, interns are not considered official employees, so they do not receive a salary. Instead, they are compensated for their job with a "internship gratuity". You become eligible for this compensation if your internship lasts more than two months or involves over 309 hours during the same academic year. The compensation is €3.90 per hour, and depending on your working days, you can expect to earn between €573.30 and €627.90.

If you qualify for this compensation, you may also receive additional benefits from the company, such as restaurant vouchers, gym discounts, and reimbursement for public transport expenses (50% on presentation of proof). However, it's important to note that this compensation may not cover the full cost of living in high-cost French cities like Paris but can assist with your budget.

In conclusion, interning in France presents numerous advantages, from gaining valuable work experience to enhancing language skills and cultural exposure. By understanding the visa requirements, the types of internships available, and the compensation structure, you can make informed decisions and successfully embark on your internship journey in this vibrant European nation.

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