Internship and placement

Internship and placement in FranceWork Experience

Internship and placement in France are considered to be essential. Therefore, 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 internship and placement in France. Meanwhile, they expect you to improve your language skills, which might be a good reason to have a placement in French in the first place.

To get an internship and placement in 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 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 insurance. 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.

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

Meanwhile, keep in mind that like in other countries street crime occurs. Both pickpocketing and theft from unattended vehicles are especially common 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. 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.

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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.

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Internship and placement accommodation

Relocating for your placement in France also means finding your own accommodation, although there are exceptions. In certain industries, for example in hospitality and tourism, accommodation and sometimes even food are provided to the whole staff on the premises. In cases like these it can reduce your outgoings considerably. Therefore worth mentioning is that France has one of the largest tourism industries in the world if that is of interest to you.

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 will have to be paid prior to you taking possession of the accommodation. The deposit equals approximately three months rent in advance. Given that most placements are short term you might find furnished apartments most appropriate. Most places have a minimum rental period around three months. Again, as with other capital European cities, beware of Paris and its high prices. You need to weigh those against the lower prices in the suburbs, but together with long and expensive commutes.

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