The next day, Agabani Puch started recording and transcribing her lectures – an extra three to four hours of work each day – and over time she saw her French language skills improve. She did this for a year.
In 2014, Agabani Puch received her degree in applied foreign languages.
“It’s a challenge, but it can be done,” she says. “So if I can do it, why not you?”
Today, Agabani Puch is working toward a master’s degree at the same university.
French universities are popular destinations for international students. In 2014-2015, upward of 298,000 international students hit the books in France, according to the Institute of International Education’s Project Atlas.
For prospective international students considering an undergraduate degree in France, here are six things to know.
1.There’s a French organization that works with students who want to study in France. The public agency, called Campus France, has more than 200 offices globally. Campus France helps prospective international students through the university application and French visa processes, and offers a wealth of information about other topics such as financial aid and housing.
“My adviser, or Campus France agent, took care of everything from A to Z,” says Agabani Puch.
Daria Plantak, public relations manager at the international office of the University of Burgundy, said by email she thinks students should start looking into universities and the application process a year or so in advance. This will allow for advance notice of deadlines and time to obtain credentials such as language certificates and visas, if required.
2. In France, students decide what they want to study early on. Prospective students indicate what they want to study when applying to schools, according to French university officials. This is also true in the U.K., and is due in part to the fact that undergraduate programs in these countries last for three years instead of four.
“For international students who know which disciplines interest them, a French university education is a high-quality and efficient option to get advanced training in almost any field,” said Nathalie Janin, executive director for international and external affairs at the Université Grenoble Alpes, by email.
3. Tuition is a bargain at public universities. French public university tuition rates, set by the government, are the same for domestic and international students. Annual 2015-2016 tuition for an undergraduate is 184 euros, around $200, according to Campus France. Students have to pay significantly more at private universities – between 3,000 and 10,000 euros, roughly between $3,300 and $11,200, per year.
The shorter length of undergraduate degree programs, called licence programs in France, is another bonus because it means one less year of tuition costs.
Some financial aid from the French government, foreign governments and various other organizations is available for international students. A good place to begin a search is Campus France’s database of grants.
Plantak, of the University of Burgundy, says that students should contact the French embassy in their home country to see if there are scholarships available.