Personal experience: Emigration to France. Universities, rental apartments and work for young people.

Is it possible to enter a university in France without knowing the language? What is a good job for young people, and how to get it. Where students live, and how much is the rent. Daria shared her experience. Five years ago she moved from Minsk to Lyon.

Changes in life, familiar French and ubiquitous Chinese

– I never had a goal to move to France. Just five or six years ago, I wanted a change. Cardinal. In parallel, there are several circumstances. After traveling in Europe, good friends appeared in France, which meant it was someone to go to. Here, foreigners were given a free higher education (this is still the case). I knew a little French.

And so it was decided. By this time I had already graduated from the BSU journalism department, I worked for a year, I collected money for the move and went to France, or rather, to Lyon, lightly.

I taught French at school, but I didn’t have enough knowledge to enter the university. Therefore, the first thing I went to preparatory courses at the university. By the way, in this respect there is a wonderful school, in contrast to Belarus, for example, where such courses are often a formality. In Lyon I had excellent teachers in speaking, literature, philosophy … There was even a course in familiar French, i.e. slang, which speaks youth.

There I studied for a year. In the group there were 99% of Chinese and me. And another minus – cost lessons of 1000 euros in the first half of the year. After weighing all the pros and cons, I decided to quit them and enter the first course of the Faculty of Anthropology. I was not going to become an anthropologist, it was just easier to pull the language to the desired level – after all, free education among French students.

And so it happened: a year later I was able to enroll in the master’s degree in communications. And this is exactly what I was always interested in.

About visas, fees for studies and student apartments

With residence permits for students in France no problem. They may be denied for work visas, but not for student visas, at least none of their friends have been denied. After entering the university, you are given a letter of admission, you go to the consulate with this letter and other documents and receive a visa for a year.

Free education in France – only in public universities. Of course, there are expenses there too. You pay for insurance, library library cards, student cards and other little things. Approximately 400 euros per year. It is considered – for free.

There are still numerous private universities with a variety of prices. For the sake of curiosity, I learned how much it would cost to study a journalist in France. It turned out about 10,000 euros per year.

Universities have their own student dormitories, the so-called residences. Usually these are close studios with a minimum of furniture, but there, unlike most of our hostels, you’ll be alone in a room.

Such housing is cheaper than renting an apartment – about 400 euros per month excluding utilities. This is a fixed payment.

In addition, if the contract is concluded in your name, you can ask APL – state assistance in paying for housing, up to 200 euros per month. To qualify for this subsidy, it is not necessary to be poor. This is used by all students and low income workers.

But in order to get into a student residence, you need to send an application to the university in advance and prove that you need, for example, that you have an incomplete family.

Another advantage of living in a hostel is that you do not need to look for a guarantor to get there. This feature is not clear to us, because France has a completely different rental market. In Russia or Belarus, the owner can evict a tenant at any time, but not here, even if the tenant has not paid for the apartment for months. If the tenant proves that he has nowhere to go, then he has no right to drive him out to the street. At least without a trial.

Here the social system works very well. Therefore, almost all homeowners are trying to protect themselves: they ask the tenant to find one, and preferably several guarantors (parents, relatives, friends) who undertake to pay rent instead of him in case of force majeure.

We rented an apartment ourselves. At first, they lived in a 35-meter two-room apartment located in a beautiful quarter on the outskirts of Lyon. They paid 500 euros per month. In the central areas, such housing would cost about 1000 euros. Then they moved to a 65-meter apartment. The rent was 670 euros per month, and together with the communal flat it turned out – 850 euros.

By the way, utilities in France are noticeably more expensive than in Russia. Do not forget about it. For a small apartment will be about 1100 euros per year, for a house – 3500 euros per year. Maybe more, it all depends on what kind of heating you have, what tariffs you use … One of my friends only paid 2,000 euros for the winter for heating in the house.

In addition to the “communal” write in the expenses of the housing tax. On average, it turns out one monthly rent per year. The amount varies depending on the municipality, city, quarter. For the same living space on the outskirts of Lyon, you can account for 200 euros, and in the center more than 1000 euros per year. In Paris, and even more. Students living in the Residency Study have been freed from it, the rest are not.

About employment agencies, better job for students and language barrier

As a student you get the right to work only 60% of the time. But the full rate is not officially settled. But these 60% are considered per year, not per month. That is, you can not work while studying, and then in the summer legally get a full day. Almost all foreigners work, even those who study in the first courses. Of course, parents pay for some.

To find a job, you need to contact the youth employment agency. You come to them, you give your resume and a motivation letter, and they are looking for vacancies that are suitable for you. In principle, it is not difficult to work somewhere, the main thing is to visit them more often, to remind yourself. These services are free for applicants.

The most common area for student work is the restaurant business. Arranged by waiters, bartenders, cleaners, etc. Many work at the checkout in stores.

But, in my opinion, the best offers for students are private cleaning of apartments and child minding. It does not take a lot of time, you can really combine with study, while in restaurants you often have to stay, the chef does not always understand that you also need to attend lectures.

To work, of course you need to speak French. You can get a job as a cleaner with minimal knowledge, and you need a good level to work with children, because many parents want you not only to take them from school, but also to do your homework with them. Accordingly, you should understand what is written in the textbooks on physics or biology …

Although some live here for decades without French. In the first year in France, I attended volunteer language courses. With me in the elementary level group was an Arab grandfather, who for 15 years in the country and at the same time can barely make a proposal to make up correctly. They live in closed diasporas, communicate only with each other, go to their shops and restaurants …

If you want to integrate, then you can’t do without a language. English is not enough. The French know it rather weakly and teach him reluctantly. Maybe somewhere in the north, closer to the UK, or on the Cote d’Azur, where there are many tourists, local people speak English fluently. But definitely not in Central France.

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