When to leave ?

Before the bac

Remember that only school exchanges arranged by the head teacher will ensure your diploma is recognised on your return, so your best bet is to participate in a school exchange or sign up to a programme, especially if you are a minor. You can take ‘National Education certified’ classes at around 500 middle and secondary schools in over 130 countries. See the AEFE (Teaching French Abroad Agency) : www.aefe.fr

A school year abroad (or in some cases a term or semester) will totally immerse you in the destination country and makes a great opportunity to improve your language skills, but this experience can be costly and is not recognised by the National Education department on your return in France. You will have to continue your schooling at the point you left as their is no equivalence in place in collèges or lycées in France. Aimed in priority at lycée students who want to take standard schooling in another country and stay with a family as part of an educational and language stay.

www.unosel.com and www.loffice.org

The international baccalaureate (IB) is not recognised in France and is supported by an educational foundation implementing curricula in 140 schools and institutions around the world. It’s recommended, therefore, that you enrol in a French lycée abroad to earn your French bac or sit the European bac or even the binational bac recognised in both France and overseas (French-German AbiBac, French-Spanish BachiBac and French-Italian Esa Bac).

In France, research the European or international sections in public or private collèges and lycées that promote international educational mobility.

After the bac

It’s much better to leave affiliated to a programme.

In the European Union (and in some countries in the European Economic Area), the baccalaureate is generally recognised, although each country or university enforces its own admission criteria. Outside Europe, admission to university or higher education institutions is decided by tests or competitive entrance exams. Watch out for registration fees which can be relatively high, especially in the UK.

If you decide to go after your bac :

  • Either you’ll have to take a complete course at a foreign educational institution. Complete at least a Bachelor’s degree in the host country.
  • Or you’ll take a part of your studies overseas and return to France to complete your degree ( just make sure your studies have equivalences and will be recognised).

After a bac +2

The BTS and DUT (two-year technical degrees) and most other Bac+2 curricula do not have an international equivalent and so do not give you the qualifications to enter a Master’s programme. You will probably be accepted into the first year of a Bachelor’s programme.

With certain curricula, you will have to do an internship in your second academic year. If permitted by the curriculum, you can do this internship overseas. Check the learning agreement in place with your school or institution.

After a bac +3

This is the best time to leave and study overseas.

  • Within Europe, the BMD (Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate) system establishes an equivalence between qualifications and facilitates mobility for students. Check your ECTS credits (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation).
  • For countries outside Europe, enrolment procedures vary between educational institutions but at this level of study, there are a number of different equivalences.
  • Bilateral exchanges between universities are a good way of choosing from a range of different destinations and make the process of applying much easier.

Contact your institution’s international relations department.

With certain courses, you are required to take an internship in the third, fourth or fifth academic year. If permitted by the programme, you can take the internship in place of actual study or combine the two, work and study. Check the learning agreement in place with your internship office and international relations department.

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