Part of the IGS Group
  • fr
  • en

France, among the most attractive countries for international students


In 2018, 325,000 foreign students completed graduate mobility of more than a year in France, thus placing the country in the 4th place worldwide behind the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. This number is expected to reach 500,000 students by 2027 thanks to the attractiveness strategy “Bienvenue en France” announced by the government on the 19th of November 2018.

The “Bienvenue en France” action plan

The number of students choosing to pursue higher education programs in countries other than “their own” has increased in the last ten years from 2.8 million to 4.6 million and could reach 9 million students by 2025 according to UNESCO. The category which represents 2.2% of the world’s student population is a strategic target for France as it feeds the country’s international-cultural influence.

The “Bienvenue en France” plan aims at enhancing the attractiveness of France among international students. The main objective is to welcome more foreign students and in better conditions.

The 6 key points of the plan are:

  • the relaxing of the visa policy;
  • doubling the teaching of French as a foreign language (FLE) and training in English;
  • the creation of a label to certify the quality of reception;
  • the implementation of differential registration fees for non-EU students;
  • the promotion of French culture and language abroad, in particular through the development of off-site training;
  • the launch of a major communication campaign to develop an awareness of the French destination within students from around the world.

France’s many trump cards

France is historically recognized as the country of literature, philosophy, luxury and arts… It is also renowned for its technological skills, the entrepreneurial spirit of its people, and its great capacity for innovation. In short, the French model remains a source of inspiration worldwide. France can thus rely on its many trump cards to remain a country with a strong appeal for international students.

Let us walk through some of those cards:

Quality of life

France is the ideal country to study abroad thanks to its cultural wealth, its student life brimming with activities and entertainment, its gastronomy, its historical heritage…While undoubtedly a top tourist destination the country offers attractive opportunities for further study. The offer is very extensive and comes with high-quality standards while remaining financially affordable. Preparing for a diploma in a French business school is the prelude to an international career. Studying in-country makes it possible to learn French which is the 3rd international language of business and the 5th most spoken language in the world.



The industry remains unequivocally the locomotive of national attractiveness. Toyota, Ericsson, Siemens, Novartis, or BYD Company Limited… Many international brands have made the strategic choice to set up shop in France to boost their brand image and accelerate their development thus creating thousands of jobs as well as interesting training and internship opportunities spanning over various trades of commerce. Moreover, the country is leading in Europe, far ahead of the United Kingdom and Germany in terms of foreign investment.

Research centers

France is firmly adamant on becoming the European leader in cutting edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) by investing 1.5 billion euros in research and development by 2022. The country is notably very competitive in terms of innovation. France has in fact witnessed a 53% increase in the number of innovative projects between 2016 and 2017 (+78 new projects). Different regions of France are opening and/or expanding research and development centers belonging to large groups such as Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Fujitsu, and Samsung.


When it comes to logistics, which is a huge selling point, France is particularly well endowed and very competitive. The sector is an essential component of the 2025 Productive Pact initiated by the President Emmanuel Macron, as it represents 10% of French GDP and 1.8 million employment positions. The country has almost 76 million m² of warehouses of over 5,000 m² and was ranked in 2018 by the World Bank as 16th in the world in terms of logistics performance. Companies such as Amazon and UPS benefit from France’s central geographic position in Europe, interconnections of various forms of transport and a structured network of complementary actors with a worldwide recognized expertise.

Sports’ industry

Sports play an important role in the daily life of the French. It is a prominent discussion topic in every café and every house. It is also an economic sector with high growth potential as seen by statistics issued by the National Institute of Youth and Popular Education (INJEP) published in August 2019. The document revealed that household spending on sports continued to grow at a sustained pace in 2017 (+ 3.7% after + 7.7% in 2016) summing 19.9 billion euros or 0.9 percentage point of GDP. General government spending on the sector was also on an upward trend in 2017 (+ 4.2%) as it reached 13.0 billion euros which represent 0.6 percentage point of GDP.

The luxury sector

The fashion and luxury sector in France has a direct turnover of 154 billion euros and 37.5 billion euros in added value – the equivalent of 1.7% of GDP. Brands such as Kering, Hermès, L’Oreal and LVMH (KHOL) account for more than 24% of global sales in the sector. The global luxury market stands at $ 276 billion and is expected to grow by 4% per year until 2025, according to forecasts by the consulting firm Bain & Company. Fashion and luxury now represent 1 million direct and indirect jobs in France, according to the National Industry Council.

These are all assets that amply justify the choice of France as a study destination. Choose the programs of the American Business School of Paris and access all these advantages!