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France, an attractive country for international students


To say that France attracts students all over the world is an understatement… No less than 358,000 foreign students were welcomed in 2019, which is 21% more than five years earlier. The number of foreign students who choose France for their higher education is growing steadily… a trend that can be explained by several reasons. The American Business School of Paris invites you to take stock of international students’ enthusiasm for France!

Higher Education abroad is on the rise

Students are aware of the challenges inherent to internationalization. More and more of them are giving new impetus to their journey through an experience abroad. The advantages are real and decisive for the rest of their career: it is a real asset on the CV, as recruiters particularly appreciate this type of profile for their adaptability and maturity. But it is also an experience that will bring a lot to the student on a personal level by developing their soft skills (open-mindedness, flexibility, adaptability, experience…). 

According to Campus France, more than 5 million students go to study in a foreign country. An already impressive figure, but one that will increase even more, since according to forecasts, about 9 million foreign students are expected to travel the world by 2025!

The good news is that France is one of the most popular countries for international students. France came 3rd in the ranking of the best destinations for study in 2018. The students surveyed explained this choice by several factors: 

  • the quality of education, 45%;
  • the cost of student life, 30%;
  • life and career prospects, 25%.

It should also be noted that France is the leading non-English-speaking host country for foreign students, and the 4th in the world behind the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. Today, 9 out of 10 international students say they are satisfied with their student experience in France. Paris remains at the top of the list of favorite cities for international students (7th position in 2019). 


France’s popularity among foreign students can be explained by the quality and the diversity of its academic programs, which allow students to follow courses in various fields of activity such as business, management, communication, marketing, fashion, technology, robotics…

France is recognized for its know-how in several strategic areas, and the country is internationally known thanks to its prestigious labels. One can mention the famous triptych French Touch – French Fab – French Tech. 

Here’s a little reminder: the French Touch represents the symbol of French know-how, while the French Fab represents French industry and its innovations. French Tech, which groups together French startups, raised no less than 5.03 billion euros in 2019 according to the barometer conducted by EY. It should be noted in this regard that France is increasingly tending to become a country focused on entrepreneurship. According to a survey conducted by OpinionWay for the UAE, 28% of French people declare that they plan to create or take over a company. INSEE figures confirm this trend, with a 17.9% increase in business start-ups in 2019 (with a total of 815,257 new companies).

The country is working to promote and develop this entrepreneurial culture with measures to facilitate the process of creating a business (such as the auto-entrepreneur status for example), making the entrepreneurial adventure accessible to all, even foreign students! One such measure is the Autorisation Provisoire de Séjour (APS), which allows nationals of European Union countries, the European Economic Area or Switzerland, and graduates of French higher education, to create their own business in France. Once this APS has expired, it is then possible to apply for a temporary residence permit with the mention “entrepreneur – profession libérale”, which allows the practice of a self-employed professional activity.

A very diversified training offer

France’s influence, its strategic geographic location in the heart of Europe, its quality of life, its infrastructure and its rich culture are assets that attract international students. But France is also a major economic power.

Foreign students can follow training in many different fields (perfumery, robotics, technology, gastronomy, music, engineering, marketing, international business development…). France keeps pace with the best countries in this field. The “Made in France” label attracts, and certain cities are making a name for themselves around the world for their know-how. Paris is the world capital of tourism, culture, congresses and luxury. France is the leader in the latter market with about 29% of the market share, making it a key player worldwide. Foreign students who decide to study in the luxury sector, for example with the Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion and Luxury retail management of the American Business School of Paris, have access to renowned companies and great opportunities for internships, work-study or employment.

What measures have been implemented to attract international students?

The government is doing everything possible to simplify the procedures for international students: courses taught in English, simplified visa procedures, reduced fees, etc. Similarly, Edouard Philippe, then Prime Minister, announced that the number of scholarships would be tripled: “Currently, the Quai d’Orsay awards scholarships to 7,000 foreign students. We are going to add 8,000 exemption scholarships. This national scheme, which will be piloted by our diplomatic services, will be coupled with about 6,000 other institutional scholarships, which the universities will be free to award to international students”. Through these measures, the government hopes to attract no less than 500,000 international students by 2027.

The American Business School of Paris is also a key player in higher education in France, welcoming students from all backgrounds and all around the world. The school has about 70% foreign students and 80 different nationalities! Discover the programs of this international business school.