France is considered to be one of the best study destinations in the world, and thousands of international students opt for this country to pursue their further studies. It has numerous reputed universities that offer a plethora of courses that you can choose from. So, moving to France as a student would positively impact your academic career and professional life.
French traditions and culture are renowned all over the world. Students pursuing higher education in France get an opportunity to experience the remarkable French culture in their daily lives. Whether in college or outside the institution premises, students can experience the wonderful positive environment during their stay. Let’s explore some of the important aspects contributing towards developing and maintaining this rich culture of this country.
French is the official language and majority of the people use this language for day-to-day communication. An interesting fact about this language is that French is the second most widely learnt foreign language in the world. Hence, if you are planning to study in France, it is advisable to learn this language for the ease of communication and to comprehend things better. A small percentage of the people here speak German dialects, mostly in the eastern provinces of Alsace-Lorraine and Moselle. According to BBC, Flemish is another language spoken by people in the north-east. People staying near the Italian border, roughly 1.7% of the population, speaks Italian. Universities and colleges usually provide option of taking a course in either French or English.
The people of France take great pride in their nation and its government. You will usually offend a person there if you pass a negative comment or perspective about this country. Hence, be very careful. If you don’t like something, you better keep it to yourself. The French motto “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité” which means “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity” expresses a lot about the people’s belief and reflects the values of the society. They place high importance on these ideologies and thus, form a vital part of their cultural values.
Food is extremely important in this country and mealtimes are considered to be prime time for socializing. Some of the amazing cuisines that you should not miss trying are – the classic Nicoise (a French Bistro salad with tuna, potatoes, egg, olives, and green beans), lobster bisque (creamy-style soup), ratatouille (a vegetable stew), Coq au vin (a classic dish with chicken and wine), cognac shrimp with beurre blanc (a combination of shallots, wine, cream, butter, and cognac), crepes (thin pancakes rolled into tubes) to name a few. The names are slightly tricky but the taste of these dishes are extremely delicious and thus, worth trying.
Breakfast in French culture is usually light and consists of a French pastry or bread served with a hot beverage. Lunch and dinner, on the other hand, are the main meals of the day. Formal meals will have four courses – a starter, a salad, a main course, and a cheese or dessert course.
If you love flying kites, this is ‘THE’ festival for you. You will get to watch a spectacular display of giant kites flying all over the sky. It takes place either in March or April and hosts International Kite Championship of the world every two years.
A two-week long festival in the month of February takes place in the city of Menton. Beautiful sculptures are created using citrus fruits and are displayed via a parade through the streets.
All the movie-lovers across the world dream to be a part of this festival. The stars of the movie industry from all over the world are a part of this annual event. Though most of the screenings are invitation-only, yet there will be a lot of opportunities check out your favourite celebrity. A huge open-air cinema, the Cinéma de la Plage, also screens Cannes classics on the beach.
This is the perfect festival for all the music lovers. This is celebrated on June 21 and during the festival, thousands of musicians gather in the streets, bars, and cafés giving free public performances.
This is an annual theatre festival which is celebrated in July in the courtyard of the Palais des Papes in Avignon. Theatre-lovers from all across the world plan to visit this to enjoy the incredible theatres, dance, visual arts, and live music.
If you love opera and classical music, please do not miss this festival. This is one of the oldest festivals in France. This takes place in the month of August in the Roman Theatre in Orange.
This four-day festival is celebrated in the month of December to pay homage to Virgin Mary.
Etiquettes to be kept in mind during your stay
When you are meeting someone, you should greet the person with a warm handshake. Friends may greet each other by lightly kissing on the cheeks, once on the left cheek and once on the right cheek. If you are meeting someone for the first time, never use his/her first name immediately. First names are usually used by family members or close friends. Use it only when asked to do to so.
Please greet a person by saying ‘bonjour’ or ‘bonsoir’ (good morning and good evening) along with the title Monsieur or Madame and say ‘au revoir’ (goodbye) while leaving. It is always polite to greet your neighbours when you meet them or pass by them. When you are invited for a dinner party at a French house, reaching on time is a must. It is customary to give a small gift such as chocolates, flowers, or candies Do not forget to dress well as people in France are extremely fashion conscious and their version of casual is not as relaxed as in many western countries.
Studying in France will be a cultural delight for every student. Universities usually organize shows, conferences, seminars, parties, sport events and other outdoor activities as part of student lifestyle. Make sure that you participate in these events so that you can interact with other students and have fun at the same time. There is no doubt about the fact that enrolling in a university in France will help you experience a vibrant learning atmosphere that will prepare you for a prosperous career.