Are you a student looking for your dream internship in France? Here’s all you need to know in order to make this first professional experience abroad one hundred per cent positive and memorable.
Many university students are offered the opportunity to do a least one internship during their studies. Whether it’s an optional or compulsory part of your course, choosing to do an internship abroad is a fantastic way to practise a language and gain experience in a field. Having an internship in a French company on your CV will also make a real difference if you’re planning to work in France in the future! On a personal level, an internship can encourage you to broaden your experiences and even change your outlook on the world.For modern language students, the Erasmus scheme is currently available, though recent announcements raise questions about the programme’s longevity after Brexit…
When looking for an internship in France, websites such as www.letudiant.fr are very useful, listing lots of internship offers that you can organise according to area and the field you’re hoping to work in. Another method of research is to go on the websites of companies that often offer specific programmes that you can apply to. Otherwise, you can always send speculative applications. Remember to accurately translate your CV and covering letter into French!
Once you’ve been offered an internship, the next step is to get an internship agreement (convention de stage) signed by the host company, your educational institution and yourself. This document is very important as it specifies the internship period as well as your role, working hours and pay. According to French law, it is obligatory to pay interns if the duration of the internship is two months or more. Currently the minimum payment is €3.75 per hour.
If you’re coming from outside the European Union, you’ll have to obtain a visa. If your internship lasts less than three months, a Schengen visa will be enough. If you’re planning to do a longer internship, you can ask for a visa with a ‘stagiaire’ clause by registering your programme. Make sure all your identification documents are up-to-date to simplify the procedure.
When everything is done and you’ve finally arrived in France, it’s time to prepare for your first day as an intern! It’s natural to be excited but don’t forget to be on time and dress professionally, as you’re now entering the professional world. On the first day you’ll meet your manager who will look after you throughout the internship. Do not hesitate to ask questions, it shows your interest for the company and motivation to speak French.
Over the course of the internship, you’ll gradually be given more responsibility and will have the opportunity to become integral part of the team. Compulsory internships often end with an evaluation such as a report in which you’ll present your achievements and what you gained from the experience.
By Nelly Lesage
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