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Trying to describe the potential of a study abroad experience in France in the space of a brochure is as impossible as trying to fit more than three hours sleep into a busy finals week. Just as France is the largest and one of the most geographically diverse countries in Europe, studying there provides you with rich and varied options.
Others students who have studied in France would doubtless tell you of the opportunities they had to learn or perfect their grasp of the French language. They would describe the intricacies of French culture they observed or the delectable French cuisine. They might share with you stories of the natural beauty or the bustling, romantic cities where they went to school. They might describe the challenges they had in adapting to a different system of education. One such student, Nicole Riley, spent a semester abroad in Lyon, and upon returning observed, "French had always been my major, but France has now become my passion. I was totally immersed in French culture, and the experience has impacted me more than any other during my college career."
The French also take their current events very seriously. The government estimates that 36% of French people read a newspaper daily. They have seven national newspapers and 160 regional papers (dailies and weeklies) to choose from. If not a news buff, you almost surely will be by the time you return from a semester or year in France.
Students choose France for a variety of reasons. Many wish to learn French or improve their knowledge of the language. France is also an extremely popular destination with those interested in the arts. The country's 1,200 museums draw tens of millions of visitors a year, and students there have the opportunity to observe the works that master artists, craftsmen, and architects have left behind. Students interested in studying the business and economics of a modern country that is at the center of the EU should consider France. France's economy draws from a variety of industries including the transport, telecommunications, agri-foodstuffs, and pharmaceutical industries. The country also derives significant income from banking, insurance, tourism, and luxury products such as leather goods, fashion clothes, perfume, and fine wine and spirits. Along with some of these luxury industries, comes some of the best sales and marketing in the world - another topic many students find to be an unparalleled choice for studying in France.
You may find that as a student, you will be seeing different parts of France than the typical tourist. Many fine universities are based in some of France's smaller cities such as Lyon, Reims, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Nantes, or Toulouse. As with Paris, you can find a variety of schools to meet your particular interests and many of these different cities have different things to offer. Lyon, for example, is one of France's biggest cities after Paris, but it allows you as a student to study in a less internationalized environment, that will help you to use your French extensively and be more fully immersed in the culture while still having a bustling, active city at your disposal. Bordeaux is at the heart of one of France's finest wine regions and gives the feeling of stepping back in time with its 18th century architecture. The city's diverse population and over 60,000 students always make for a fascinating and challenging study abroad experience.