Low fee, inspiring facilities
FRANCE, at first glance, may seem a surprise choice for university, considering that most Hong Kong students think of Britain, the United States or Australia as possible destinations for further studies.
But there are decided benefits to a higher education in France.
With 170,000 foreign students every year, France has the second largest foreign student population in the world, only behind the United States but well ahead of other countries.
What attracts all these students to France? According to Patrice Laurens of the French Agency for Education and Training, the high quality of education at French educational institutions is one of the main reasons.
With a network of 90 public universities, 340 polytechnics, 800 vocational and technical colleges and 200 business and engineering schools, France can provide education in all fields at all levels.
'France's higher education system enjoys a worldwide reputation,' according to Mr Laurens.
'The educational system is mainly public, with a single, nationwide, quality standard,' he added.
Degrees are national, regardless of the university or school where they have been prepared.
While France's reputation in the arts, fashion, architecture and hotel and tourism business is unchallenged, its higher education system, nevertheless, places great emphasis on science and technology.
Mr Laurens said that engineers and scientists trained in France had the privilege of being in the country of origin of many great technological achievements such as the TGV bullet trains, airbus craft and Ariane rockets, as well as many innovations in telecommunication, biotechnology and other hi-tech fields.
In this age of globalisation, where English has become a basic requirement, the mastery of another major language, such as French, is considered a plus by many international employers.
This was another reason foreign students chose France, Mr Laurens noted.
France, which is ranked fourth in the world for economic and technological achievement, is certainly an inspiring country for studies. Tuition fees in France are far lower than in most countries because its education system is heavily subsidised by the French Government.
'The only substantial investment is the intensive language course of nine months for complete beginners,' Mr Laurens said.
The pre-university programme costs about $75,300 for nine months. This budget also includes medical insurance for one year, all administrative or academic processing, and arrangements for accommodation.
The first year in university costs only about $29,470, and $2,326 to $23,260 for the following years.
For more information, call the Alliance Francaise de Hong Kong on 2527-7825.