Internships in France could be great way to gain professional experience in the European job market while enjoying a country rich in culture and history. France could offer students a variety of internship options due to its cultural diversity and advanced economy. You could pursue programs in business, education, hospitality and more. And when you’re not working, the country of France is waiting for you to explore! Travel throughout the French countryside to see famous sights, enjoy delicious food and even develop your French speaking skills. Work and play are wrapped together when you intern in France.
Do I Need to Speak French to Intern in France?
No! French language skills are not required to intern in France. In fact, many French internship programs are designed for English speaking students. That being said, an understanding of the language could open up additional opportunities. Some internships in France may even allow students to develop French skills or learn industry related terms while on the job. This could be useful if you're interested in pursuing a career internationally, or just a fun way to expand your studies.
Possible Internships in France
As part of your internship in France, you could be placed with a company that operates in your preferred field of study. And with a varied economy, several cultural regions, and thriving arts community, France might have something for a wide array of students. These programs could be an accessible and fun way to begin gaining professional experience. Not to mention an entry point into the European economy.
For instance, you could have the chance to be placed in some of the following fields.
It seems no matter where you go in France, there’s a museum displaying classical works of art. This might make it a playground for art history majors! As part of your internship, you could be placed with a museum, gallery or similar facility. While there, you could help design new exhibits, witness art restoration, and more.
If you're lucky, you could even get up close and personal with a few famous pieces of art! Just imagine working alongside Botticelli’s The Birth of Venus.
Much like you sought out adventure in France, so do many other tourists. The country, especially popular cities like Paris, has a thriving hospitality trade. This could make it a perfect place for hospitality concentrations to learn more about their field. During your placement, you might have the chance to work with hotel chains to see how they handle things like major events and international guests.
Your English-speaking knowledge might also be a plus! While many of the French speak English as a second language, your knowledge could help them work with some of their international guests.
Education majors may be interested in learning to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL). Interns may be placed within a French school district to help them with their English education. This way, you could experience a real-world classroom and have your own set of students. Also, you could see how the French school system compares to home. You might be able to bring this knowledge back with you and apply it to your own classroom someday!
Additionally, students with a French language background may be able to teach other subjects. For instance, they might teach things like literature, math, and science. In these instances, it’s important that they are able to fully communicate in French.
These are just a few examples of the types of internships in France. Placements in industries like business, fashion or the culinary arts (all things France is known for) may also be available. Read descriptions and contact programs directly to learn more.
When Could I Intern in France?
Your personal academic schedule could influence when you're able to pursue internships in France. But, there are many ways to sneak in the professional development of an internship and still work towards your educational goals. Below are some facts about interning abroad during certain semesters.
- Many students choose to go the traditional route and intern in France in either their fall or spring semester. Schools are used to students studying abroad at these times, so they may already have measures in place to ease your transition. Speaking with your academic advisor could help you make sure that important classes don’t conflict with your traveling dreams.
- Other students choose to pursue internships in France during their summer break. This way, it’s practically ensured that their classes won’t conflict with their education. And, you could also enjoy the gorgeous summer weather in France! This time might open up more travel opportunities for you. Don’t forget the France does have some gorgeous beaches to soak up the sun.
- Others still might choose an intern abroad in France in the winter. These programs are often shorter because they fit into students’ winter break. This might be a great choice for those having trouble fitting in a study abroad experience or are anxious about traveling alone. The shorter time span makes it a small step towards longer, future international adventure. Not to mention that you could celebrate the holidays in France. Joyeux Noël!
It's important to note that while program length may vary by semester, each program inserts students directly into a professional setting. And, during your program, you could still have the chance to shadow or work on actual projects at your location.
Popular Locations to Intern in France
Depending on your academic concentration, a certain French city might be better suited for your internships in France. Some cities might offer access to unique facets of business, education, and more. Of course, each city offers its own unique culture and places to explore, too! The following are a few locations in France. Available cities may differ by intern abroad program.
Located in the south of France, Aix-En-Provence is a great opportunity for students looking to intern in an intimate setting. Students may be paired with smaller businesses run by French locals. This experience could entrench you in many aspects of running a business. Due to the smaller size of the company, you might have the chance to wear several different hats.
This city might also be perfect for students who are studying the French language. These internships may have you working alongside people who are less familiar with the English language. But don't be intimidated. This is a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself and learn.
The city of Bordeaux is synonymous with wine. The city even takes its name from a particularly delicious red variety! And, it is the world’s capital of wine.
But, Bordeaux is more than just that. The city has recently undertaken a large historical restoration project. This means that much of its architecture is currently in the process of being repaired. Architecture, engineering and history students might be interested in interning with companies working on this initiative. You could apply your own knowledge of French history to help the project. And, you might pick up some Bordeaux-specific knowledge to bring home with you.
It’s hard to talk about France without talking about Paris. The capital city acts a hotspot of French culture, politics and society. It’s no wonder that the metropolis also offers many intern opportunities.
Paris is home to thriving business industries that have earned the city its place on the national stage. Things like its fashion industry, tourism, and more might offer students intern possibilities. You may also be able to learn the unique business tactics associated with a specific industry. For example, learning about the marketing that goes into Paris Fashion Week might be a learning experience you couldn’t get anywhere else.
In addition, international business students might have the opportunity to study how Paris interacts with the rest of the world. You could possibly witness global business deals and cross-continent business mergers. As the nation's capital, Paris is also home to major political institutions, making it a great place for internships in politics, international aid and more.
Of course, the humanities aren’t left out either. Paris is full of the arts and culture. It is home for many theaters, concert halls, museums, and more. Students could have the chance to shadow and work alongside professionals in notable artistic spaces. Could you imagine interning in the Louvre?
Learning French in France
Even if internships in France don’t require you to speak French, you may be surprised to find there are plenty of additional chances to study it. Programs commonly offer intensive language courses before your placement. This could happen in either your home country or abroad. There, you could take highly focused courses to help you with French basics. This way, you may feel more confident stepping out on your own.
Advanced courses might also be available for students who have already begun their language studies. Some programs even offer language refreshers throughout your stay. By doing this, you could ask about any challenges you’ve had while you were out exploring.
There are many learning opportunities outside of the classroom as well. Just going about your daily routine in France might be its own test of your abilities. Even things like ordering a meal may push you to try out your new language knowledge.
At this point, you might feel a little intimidated. Don’t be! Many French speak English as a second language. This might be especially true in the larger cities. If you find yourself struggling , don’t hesitate to ask for help. Many people may be able to guide you to your destination or help you with a particularly hard phrase.
Tips For Interning in France
- You may have asked yourself, “Are internships in France paid?” Some internships in France are paid! Program stipends may vary, but this could help fund your travels throughout the country. Put this money towards a rail pass or plane tickets to take in some new, French views.
- France is known for its fashion. Paris is, after all, one of the fashion capitals of the world. Some eateries and events may require you to dress the part. Don’t forget to pack some nice clothes for work functions and outings.
- France’s public transit is your friend. Besides its Metro and bus system, some French cities also boast rental bicycles. For example, Paris has Velib, a bicycle share system. If your destination is close by, you might consider renting a bike for a few hours over a renting a cab. Plus, the scenic ride might lead you to discover some new sights in your city.
- Do not, repeat, do not, order iced coffee. This may be popular in your home country, but this is a big no-no in France. To the French, that order typically involves ice cream and lots of whipped cream. Instead, sip on a small cup of espresso to start your day.
Places You Shouldn’t Miss During Your French Internship
While the majority of time spent in internships in France might have you enveloped in a work program, there may also be time to explore the country. And, even though the Eiffel Tower in Paris is iconic, there’s so much more to see and experience. (Of course, you should still see the Eiffel Tower.)
When you have a second of free time, why not visit some of these distinctly French sights?
- If you do happen to stop by the Eiffel Tower, then you could head over to the Louvre museum afterwards. The museum houses famous artistic works from around the globe. Even the Mona Lisa calls this museum home. In addition to the art pieces, you could also browse historical artifacts like Egyptian mummies. Not to mention, the architecture is a sight to see in itself.
- The Versailles Palace holds an infamous place in French history. The decadent palace was created to house the opulent court of King Louis XIV. When entering the grounds, you might be astounded by the large flower gardens. And the inside is as gorgeous as the outside! Stroll through the Hall of Mirrors and imagine Marie Antoinette doing the same in 1682.
- Looking to escape the city? Travel out to the La Valle de Chamonix and Mt. Blanc. Besides offering breathtaking views of pastoral French villages, the area is also a prime spot to hike. Take one of the many lifts to the mountain trails and begin exploring the countryside. You could even make this a weekend getaway by staying at one of the local lodges. Be sure to sample their distinctive regional dishes!
Don’t Forget the French Food
Speaking of food, the French cuisine is not to be outdone by the beautiful scenery. You could start your food journey with a bowl of coq au vin. This dish consists of braising chicken in red wine. And when you’re in France, there’s plenty of red wine to choose from! Add local vegetables and garlic (and more wine) for a remarkable dish.
If you’re looking for something a little more familiar, try a croque monsieur. This is essentially a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Expect so much better. The sandwich is filled with rich béchamel sauce and then grilled on top of even more cheese.
And, it might seem simple, but try a baguette! Yes, you might have had them at home. But, you have probably never had one fresh out of the oven.
These are only a few things you could do with you intern in France. Don’t forget to speak with your program to see if they offer any planned excursions during your stay.
How to Find Internships in France
To start your search for perfect internships in France, browse the list of links of this page. Clicking a link provides you with a brief description about a program. This could offer you sample program placements, itineraries or more. While there, you could also request more information from the program.
Or, you could select your preferred city, term, and work type from the menus on this page. Doing so refines your list to your specific educational requirements. This could be a great way to narrow down your results to a perfect program.
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