Archive for Countries/France

What are internships in France like?

Internships enable students to apply all the theory they have learned at school in a new context: the working world. The purpose is to gain their first work experience related to their career. Moreover, since the 9th September 2010, only internships within the framework of a tripartite convention (between a student, an enterprise and an educational institution) are legal.

For this reason, an agreement in which all the information of the internship is relayed is now required: start and end dates, internship’s duration, weekly working time and the internship’s programme including the tasks and the targets. Also the amount paid, social security, insurance and the name of your tutor.

The duration of your internship will depend of course on your studies (Certificate d’Aptitude Professionnelle -CAP-, Brevet de Technicien Supérieur -BTS-, professional baccalaureate, business school…). In addition, in the case of an optional internship, it cannot last more than six months (article 9 of law nº2006-396 pertaining to the equality of opportunity). However, there is nothing written about mandatory internships.

Regarding the remuneration, there is no salary but rather a gratuity which is optional for internships which last less than two months – you can negotiate it with the employer. On the contrary, it is compulsory for internships which last more than two months. The quantity is set depending on the enterprise agreement. If there is not any agreement, the enterprise has to pay the maximum amount – which since 2013 is 2.875 euros, meaning 436.05 euros per month if you work 35 hours a week. If the internship is extended, the employer is obliged to pay the intern the money of the first two months.

The intern still benefits from the social security he purchased when he registered in university. Nevertheless, it is recommended to purchase supplementary insurance for accident and liability risks. Moreover, the intern has the right to have the same working rights as the other employees at the company (working time, weekly rest, protection against discrimination and harassment, etc.).

Yet, the intern is not entitled to paid holidays since he has neither an employed status nor an employment contract. On the contrary, it is possible to take days off if your internship extends or if it is a long-term internship – but, again, you have to talk to your employer.

Foreign interns have to take some extra steps in organising a placement– nothing too complicated though. The intern can also receive a temporary residence card bearing the words “intern”. In order to obtain it, the intern must perform an internship in an enterprise within the framework of a training programme in his home country under a school or university programme, vocational training, a European Union cooperation programme or an intergovernmental programme.

Finally, it is important to remember that an internship cannot in any circumstances replace remunerated employment. In the event of abuse or dispute, do not hesitate to appeal to the “Conseil des Prud’hommes” (labour tribunal) or even the URSSAF in order to transform your CDD (fixed-term contract) into a CDI (open-ended contract).

Interns are very well protected in France so you are always going to find someone to assist you if you have any problems.

Internship in France or in England?

Have you ever desperately felt the need to do an internship before entering the world of work? Well, this was exactly the situation

I was in during my last year of university! I finished my bachelor’s degree in International Science and Diplomacy perfectly in the prescribed time, then I realised that even if an internship was not a compulsory part of my studies, I needed to do one. Nowadays every company requires at least one work experience from their applicants, thus what you learn at university is not enough.

I wanted and would suggest you to search for an internship abroad, in this way you can both do a work experience and better your knowledge of a foreign language. I have studied English for 10 years and French for 6 years, so I was prone to find it in the England, in France or in Belgium. Suddenly, I was assailed by a doubt: was it more important to improve my English, because it is the official language in many work environments? Surfing in the Internet I found out there is a great amount of offers for unpaid internships. I started apply to every job I was interested in, such as to an Insurance company in France, to the Italian Chamber of Commerce in England and to the European Commission in Belgium, unfortunately no one of these was successful.

I decided to focus my research on the subject of the intership, not on the country. This could sound banal to you, but I was really worried I had to opt for an internship in England to improve my English, even if I would have not liked the field. I would like to suggest you to choose an internship by its content and its quality, you should consider if it gives you the possibility to grow professionally. Moreover, English, French and all other languages are equally useful; your future boss will appreciate you know whatever language, if you are proficient in it.

Finally, I would like to recommend you to do as many interships as you can before entering the real work environment, you will gain experience in different fields and have the possibility to understand which career is more suitable for your future.


Public Relations Internship in France : The “group experience”

Hi everyone!

Do you have already wanted to make an internship abroad with friends? I did it, here is my story:

I am Noémie, 22, and I come from Belgium. Yes, the internship doesn’t take place in a distant country but it was enough for me at that moment.

The internship was about press relations for an event. It is a 4-days festival about documentary movies and journalistic profession. It takes place every year at Le Touquet.

My general tasks were to welcome journalists and to observe the supervisor during events. It was more an “observation internship”. The particularity is that I did this internship with three friends in the same team. So there were positive and negative points.

First of all, here are the positive arguments. We were four good friends with the same wishes for the internship. With a group, you can share an apartment which is cheaper than a hotel room and easier to cook and eat. Of course, you are not alone for your first day and there is somebody to talk and share your impressions with. The last positive thing is that the journey and the after work time aren’t so long when you have friends.

Then let’s talk about the negative points. The main ones is that four persons who want exactly the same thing is not possible all the time. You don’t have the same personality than your friends. A piece of advice: Accept all tasks which you want to do even if your friends doesn’t want, you could discover a new field or view about what you want or don’t want to do! Even during the free time, be careful because your are all the time together.

My internship was really great and the negatives didn’t really appear for me. I just wanted to draw your attention on it.

To conclude, no need to go in a distant country to have an interesting internship. If you want to do internship in group, just think about the positive and negative points before the internship with your friends. Search for an internship where your friends can also apply but where your tasks and progress could be different.


Studying in France – Deutch student’s experience


I’m Anke and I want to tell you something about my studies abroad.

I’m a Belgian girl and I study languages.  My mother tongue is Dutch, so to improve my French, I decided to go to France for a few months. My school in Belgium has an agreement with Tézénas du Montcel, a school in Saint-Etienne, kind of South East of France, so that’s where I went.
Honestly, I wanted to go to Paris first, but since that was impossible, I went to St-Etienne and I don’t regret my experience there at all!

St-Etienne is a considerably small city, near Lyon. A lot of the buildings (e.g. the city hall, the prefecture) are renovated, so the city looks quite nice. Of course, there are a few clubs and a lot of very cosy pubs too. I met both Erasmus people and French students, which was interesting, since I didn’t just experience the French life: I got to eat  Spanish paella,  Canadian stirr-fry, Scottish haggis, Italian pasta, Irish breakfast, Finnish soup, etc. So I didn’t only study languages!

I would definitely advise everyone who’s thinking of gaining experience abroad to do so, because I had the time of my life and I didn’t just improve my French, I gained an important life experience and I would immediately do it again!!!