Aside from being the center of Western culture, art, thought, politics and research for over 800 years, France remains a major presence in the modern world and continues to be a huge contributor to the fields of science, art, cinema, fashion, technology, politics, philosophy, archeology, trade and economics. Students studying in France today can benefit from a variety of opportunities and exciting developments in the French culture and economy.
In the information technology sector, France ranks second in Europe and fourth in the world for US investment, raking in US$60 billion a year. It is also a rapidly growing sector, with growth rates at about 10% per year. And over the next three years, investors plan to create 25,480 new jobs in several different sectors, which would lead to a demand for professionals with experience living in France. Since the US is France’s single largest foreign direct investor, students from the United States who speak French (and have had experience living or studying in France) are prime candidates for these jobs, especially since there are a number of American firms looking to expand operations to France. In software development and multimedia design, France has one of Europe’s largest and most competent labor forces as well as a substantial consumer market for these goods. Certainly, your experience in France will serve you well if you are interested in entering the software or information technology sectors.
For students interested in art, cinema and fashion, France is a virtual Mecca. Over the past few centuries, France has established itself as a major European hub for painting, sculpture, photography, cinema, theater (of all types), fashion and cosmetic design; and over the past several decades, France has begun to make its presence known in the graphic and multimedia fields. With artists like Monet, Manet, David, Gericault, Rodin, Renoir, Matisse, and Lachaise, and cinema greats like Jean Cocteau, Luc Besson, and Claire Denis, France has more than made a name for itself amongst artists and cinema fanatics the world round. In fashion, designers like Christian Dior and Yves Saint-Laurent continue to set industry standards. Paris is still considered the center of fashion and design in western culture, and is a prime location for any student interested in pursuing a career in these fields.
If your interests take a more political, philosophical or economic turn, France is a great place to study. France is the world’s fifth largest economy, and as such commands a lot of political clout in organizations such as NATO and the United Nations. Indeed, French is one of the official languages of the UN and is a requirement for anyone who wishes to work there. France is also one of only five permanent members on the UN Security Council, placing it among the world’s major political powers. Within the European Union, France has been instrumental in constructing many of the EU’s internal policies, as well as regulations for external trade and foreign policy for the EU as a whole. In philosophy, too, French writers have been at the forefront of the Minimalist, Existentialist and Feminist movements and have become highly influential in these movements in their propagation around the globe.
No discussion of France would be complete without mention of its honored tradition in the culinary arts. Every year, thousands of hopeful chefs travel to France in hopes of training with the best. Some French chefs have made international news, a few among them being: Julia Child, Alain Ducasse, and Bernard Loiseau. Such foods as crêpes, anything en flambé, café au lait, crème brûlée, fondue, tortes, petits four, filet mignon, escargot, and bouillabaisse are just some examples of the French affinity to cooking. In addition, the regions of Burgundy and Champagne have produced world-famous French wines for centuries. France truly has something for everyone!