As an exchange student at a French university, you may have to do an internship to validate your year abroad. However, it is not an easy thing to do, especially in France! Here are some information and tips to help you find an internship.

How does it work?

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In France, in many schools or universities, you would have the opportunity and must do it an internship a the end of each year. For their last year, most French students have to do an end-of-studies internship which will allow them to put into practice all the theory they acquired during their academic studies. It will offer them a valued experience which, hopefully, will help them enter the working world more easily.

Exchange students are usually no exception to this rule. Students who do not come from a European country will have to get an “Autorisation Temporaire de Travail” (ATP) from the Direction Départementale du Travail et de l’Emploi. Universities generally provide intern contacts which have to be signed by yourself, the company that welcomes you, the university, and sometimes the person in charge of the internship in your courses. Internships usually last from 2 to 6 months and are paid as soon as the intern works more than 2 months. The minimal salary is, in 2018, 577 €. Notice that the company where you’re doing your internship has to pay you the half of your transports: oil if you’re coming by car, public transportation subscription etc.

How to find an internship?

Finding an internship is not easy, even for French students. There are some fields that take in more interns than others, such as business, finance, and marketing.

Speaking English is clearly an advantage to enter these kinds of firms. It is much more difficult to find an internship in some domains, like language, literature and art. As an exchange student, most of the time you will be asked to have a good command of French, so make sure you have good linguistic skills before applying for an internship! Your university can help you to find an internship or you can go to one of these websites to consult the offers.

Pros and cons:

Doing an internship is the best way to have the first experience in the working world. Jobs, especially in France, are hard to find and to get. So an internship can open some doors and maybe, leads to a temporary contract. The salary is both an advantage and a disadvantage: as a student, it is always nice to have money at the end of the month, but 577€ is not enough to live… There are some rumours saying that interns only have to do hard and boring work but it is yesterday’s news! Nowadays, interns can have great responsibilities and have the possibility to improve their culture and their knowledge thanks to an internship.

So make sure to review your CV and cover letter, and go get the perfect internship!

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