Internship and placement

France-flag-140Work Experience

Student placements or “stage” is considered essential in France and many students have to take one or two different types of work placements during their study years. The duration of these internships varies, but commonly these are 2 to 6 months. It is not uncommon to do an internship during university studies in the third or fourth years but increasingly graduates are taking on work experience jobs once they have finished studying. The internship can be seen as a prolonged “job interview” where the prospects of getting hired after this period are high.

French is the language that you have to speak – unless you are applying to teach your language in a school where this might not be as critical. However, basic written and spoken French language skills are still necessary. Despite this many companies are open to international placements but expect you to improve your language skills – which might be a good reason to have a placement in France in the first place.

To get a placement in the France you need to apply in the same way you would for a job, which means you need to have a CV and an application letter. Increasingly, organisations in France accept applications electronically via their website forms or by e-mail.

Your placement application should be handed in well in advance – ideally 5 to 3 months. In particular, if you are coming from a foreign country there might be restrictions on you taking a paid work placement in France. Several students therefore take volunteering opportunities to benefit from work experience.

Tips and Regulations for students who want to do an internship in France can be found on the following sites:

Job exchanges for student internships in France can be found here:

Directories of work placements:

Internship and placement advice

There are many practical issues relating to international placements that need to be taken care of either by the trainee or the host company. It is important to allow enough time for all the arrangements and the necessary formalities. In most cases your training organisation, educational institute (for example Universities etc) and host organisations will be able to help with some of these formalities.

Social security and European health insurance card

Health insurance is a legal requirement for any resident in France. If you are planning to work in France it is important that you investigate your status and ability to get your health insured. The French health system is consistently rated as one of the most advanced in the western world in terms of value for money and quality of service. Several options exist such as Couverture Maladie Universelle, where your insurance contributions are deducted from your monthly salary.

For further information please see below:


France is generally a safe place with a low crime rate as is the case with neighbouring European countries. International acts of terrorism do occur although not often due to the extensive counter measures and extensive visible as well as covert police presence.

However, as is the case in other countries street crime occurs, including pickpocketing and theft from unattended vehicles especially in larger cities such as Paris. With the increasing reliance on online transactions, cyber crimes are on the rise and are counteracted with specialist security measures implemented by the Government. General precautions and remaining vigilant are always advised. The overall recorded crimes are high which suggests a strong police force where individuals trust and rely on them to help.

Emergency number: 112

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Do I need visa?

Depending on the country you are coming from, you might need to get a Visa before you can work in France. Immigration is a major political issue here, as in other economically established European nations, and this means that there are frequent adjustments to Visa requirements. The working visa is most difficult to obtain for those coming from outside of the European Union, so be prepared to face French Red Tape and a long, patience-testing process.

For further information please see below:

Internship and placement salary

As in other countries, internships – stage – in France can be paid or unpaid. This will vary based on your location and the actual job you are performing. It is not uncommon to have nominal payments which will be just enough to pay your rent but in other cases you may receive almost a full salary. Stage is highly regulated and legislation on the need for remuneration and the duration of an official stage are regularly updated.

This is critical if you are thinking of taking a placement in Paris, which is the one of most expensive cities in France – consider the costs of food, transport and housing.

For further information please see below:

Internship and placement accommodation

Relocating for your placement in France also means finding your own accommodation, although there are exceptions. In certain industries as is the case in other countries, for example in hospitality and tourism (and France has one of the largest tourism industries in the world) accommodation and sometimes food are provided to all staff on the premises, which can reduce your outgoings considerably. However, if you have to find your own accommodation, furnished apartments and student accommodation rooms are available. Rent is normally paid on a monthly basis and a deposit (approximately three months rent in advance) will have to be paid prior to you taking possession of the accommodation. Given that most placements are short term you might find furnished apartments most appropriate. Most places have a minimum rental period for example around three months. Again, as with other capital European cities, beware of Paris and its high prices, which need to be weighed against lower prices in the suburbs but with long and expensive commutes.

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