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"nontraditional student" in the United States wanting to study in France

jerrrylee

I'm considering a return to school at the age of 35 and I would like to study in France. Would it be smarter to begin studies in architecture here and transfer or to just jump the gun and work towards getting into a program in France? I also have Germany in mind, as I have a friend there with insights into the educational system, so any additional information on that would be greatly appreciated as well. Thank you for your insights.

 
May 4, 23 10:45 am

May I ask why you want to study in France or Germany?  

I ask because despite having friends with insights into the education systems into those countries it's still going to be way more complex to be a non traditional American international student than staying within the US.  

May 4, 23 10:56 am  · 
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jerrrylee

The economic structure in the United States is practically unlivable​ if you are not wealthy, healthcare is unaffordable, and the political spectacle is not only disheartening but leaves an individual with any empathy for anyone struggling to survive under these conditions feeling totally helpless in the face of corporate interest controlling the majority of the country. Not to mention the whole of society being alarmingly susceptible to propaganda and overconsumption. In other words, I don't want to live here anymore. Tuition is outrageous and without connective nepotism you are left alone with highly unfair disadvantages.

May 4, 23 1:23 pm  · 
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graphemic

Hah, I honestly understand. Been thinking of moving to France myself for these reasons (but also because their building industry allows a completely different/better architecture). If that's the case this might be a good path, but I'll warn you that you can't escape "bad" politics to a certain extent. The quality of life in Europe is certainly more accessible, but the cultural norms can be quite shocking. In my case, I know that the particular forms of racism/conservatism in France will be very difficult to deal with for me. Always a mixed bag, but I'm sure you're aware of this. Our situation here is depressing, but I often come back to the idea of using my privileges to build power. Not because it's a "solution" (it isn't) but because that is also a good way to live.

May 4, 23 2:21 pm  · 
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Those are good reasons jerrylee. Keep in mind that you're not necessarily going to get any of the free / reduced education, healthcare, or social safety net in those countries until AFTER you're a citizen. Becoming a citizen of France and / or Germany is very, very difficult.

May 4, 23 2:57 pm  · 
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jerrrylee

Public university tuition in France runs between 2k-3k euros for international students. International students are also eligible to participate in France's universal health care coverage.

May 4, 23 11:28 pm  · 
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Non Sequitur

So, any wanker can simply head out to France and get a degree for a few grand? I’m sure it’s more complicated than that. If not, all you 100k ivy leaguers are dumber than I thought.

May 5, 23 7:39 am  · 
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Bench

The low-cost international programs in the EU are real. A close friend / classmate from undergrad decided to go Germany for an accelerated graduate degree; total tuition was something like 300e per semester. Went over to visit him while on vacation and he showed me around the campus - it was lovely. Good things come from investment in public programs and services, who would have thought

May 5, 23 8:00 am  · 
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The low cost international programs are real. 

They are more complicated that than they appear though. You can't just show up to the school and get accepted.   

Typically you have to go through an American university, apply, get accepted to the program, get an educational visa, ect. Not crazy difficult but not easy or as cheap as $2k-3k a semester. You have to also pay tuition to the American school. 

Once you're done with school you aren't allowed to say in the country unless you can get a work visa or citizenship. Getting those in France or Germany is very difficult.  

May 5, 23 9:35 am  · 
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jerrrylee

You're right, you can't just show up and get accepted, but there are programs, like Etudes en France which help international students apply to certain French schools who they work with. This includes compiling necessary documents and meeting necessary prerequisites. Which can also then be used to apply to programs outside of the Etudes network.

May 5, 23 10:02 am  · 
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jerrrylee

Tuition fees for international students enrolled in degree programs in France's public universities are consistent across institutions. The tuition fees as of the 2020/2021 academic year are: 2,770 euros per year at the Licence level 3,770 euros per year at the Master’s level 380 euros per year at the Doctoral level

May 5, 23 10:13 am  · 
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jerrrylee

You can apply for post study visas for up to one year in which you are able to look for work.

May 5, 23 10:14 am  · 
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Correct. I would look into if you need to be actively enrolled in an American university to be able to apply to these schools. If so you often have to pay for credits at the American school in addition to whatever foreign school you're attending.  

In addition - just like in America unless you have gained citizenship you'll have to get a work visa sponsored by your employer. My understanding is that these are a little bit easier to get than in the US but they're still a pain for most EU firms to deal with and can be a big 'red flag' for possible employees during the hiring process.


May 5, 23 10:50 am  · 
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Bench

Chad - i'm talking about a friend who attended university in germany as an international student. It had nothing to do with any north american institution. He did it on his own volition without any help here and seemed to thoroughly enjoy it. Student visa's are relatively straightforward to get.

May 5, 23 10:52 am  · 
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Good to know Bench. I know the student visas are easy to get. I wasn't sure about the process for an accredited architectural program. I know of a few arch students who went foreign study and they needed to be enrolled in a US school as well for their degree to be recognized in the US.  I'm hoping this has been simplified and this type of 'double dipping' isn't needed anymore.  

May 5, 23 10:55 am  · 
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justavisual

If you're really smart you have a BArch from the USA and a master (way cheaper) in Europe. I don't know why France - unless you magically can speak fluent French. And if you don't speak fluent German you wont get far in their workforce either. Your best bet are the English speaking master programs in the Netherlands (Delft, Eindhoven). You don't need any American university connection to apply (I have no idea why one would think that?). You apply like anyone else would for a 2 year MSc program, if you get in you get a 2 year student visa + 1 year to stay and work after. If you don't have an EU passport you'll need to get sponsored to stay longer (by a company - or get busy finding a local spouse asap when you study). Also if you're not fluent in Dutch about 10 years after starting working you'll find yourself in a pickle with little job progression. So either way - learning the local language is a must! Also due to a housing shortage atm its quite hard to find a room as a student. So keep that in mind.

And if you want to work in an office and study at the same time you apply to an Academy (Amsterdam or Rotterdam) - this is a 4 year program.

May 5, 23 11:38 am  · 
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justavisual wrote:

"You don't need any American university connection to apply (I have no idea why one would think that?). "

To get a M.Arch you are correct.  If your undergrad isn't from an accredited program and you get a foreign M.Arch  I don't think you can't be licensed in the US unless you pursue alternative paths.  

Also the OP doesn't have an undergrad in architecture and wanted to know if they could get their entire degree in France or Germany.  To do that and to have an accredited degree in the US you used to have be registered with a US program.  

May 5, 23 11:55 am  · 
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justavisual

True, you wont as easily be able to get your license in America with an EU degree. I did manage to get an EU license with my American BArch however !!... on the topic of undergrad, I don't think there is any US school that will let you do a whole study in France (just a semester or a year max). And to do a whole study in France or Germany means you indeed have no US accreditation. So you just need to decide where you want to live/work after and how you're realistically gonna make that happen with visas etc .

May 5, 23 12:18 pm  · 
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That's what I was thinking. I have had colleagues do prolonged study abroad courses - like 2-3 years. They did their first 2-3 years of their B.Arch in the US then went to europe to finish. Granted this was about ten years ago so . . . 

 It sounds like the OP wants to live in those areas permanently. This brings up a question though - would the OP be able to get a student visa if they aren't enrolled in an American school? If the OP just moves to say France and wants to attend school would they be able to get in without being a citizen of a EU country?

May 5, 23 12:40 pm  · 
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graphemic

While the thread is hot, if any of y'all know an American that got a work visa in France please share any observations they had about the experience. I wasn't kidding, it's something I hope to do in the next five years.

May 5, 23 2:22 pm  · 
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justavisual

You get a student visa while you're studying. This must be arranged before you arrive in the EU and not the other way around. To go to school in the EU as a non EU citizen you apply as an international student and pay higher fees for the education. Here's the info on how visas are arranged (in NL for example) : https://www.tudelft.nl/over-tu-delft/werken-bij-tu-delft/nederland-tu-delft/support-for-international-employees/before-you-arrive/visa-and-permits

May 5, 23 4:02 pm  · 
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jerrrylee

Just to clarify, my main concerns are cost of education and access to medical care. I'm not intimidated by learning a new language or bureaucracy. I have no plans of being licensed or living in the United States once I leave and ideally will relinquish my citizenship at the first opportunity. I want to thank everyone for providing your insights, I have learned a lot and have a lot to look into.

May 5, 23 11:11 pm  · 
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graphemic

Speaking the native language is non-negotiable. Where do you want to work and live? That should drive where you study.

May 4, 23 12:55 pm  · 
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JLC-1

You would have to get a full ride, and secure employment well before the end of the program, Paris is expensive af.  On a different note, Have you seen the news from France, and Europe in general in the last 6 months? It's almost guaranteed the far right will raise to power in the next cycle, as it happened in Italy. Otherwise, good luck.

May 6, 23 12:42 am  · 
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