Between July and October 2017, Campus France, in conjunction with the Kantar Public Institute, conducted a survey of 14,245 international students on the attractiveness of France as a study destination.
The students were divided into three groups, those planning to come to France to study (2,528), those currently in France for their studies(4,876) and those who have previously studied in France (6,841).
92% of students surveyed said they would recommend France as a study destination
As with previous surveys in 2011 and 2013, the barometer aimed to understand how France has established itself as a choice of study destination, the role of the French language in the attractiveness of France, and what the students remember from their stay.
32% of students surveyed 2017 said they would go or went to at least two foreign countries as part of their studies (up from 30% in 2013).
The most frequently mentioned countries were the US (28%), Germany or Canada (23%) or the UK (22%).
Nine out of 10 (92%) of students surveyed said they would recommend France as a study destination (up from 91% in 2013 and 90% in 2011).
A rewarding personal experience (38%), international experience (37%) and obtaining an internationally recognised degree (35%) were highlighted as the primary reasons for choosing to study abroad.
More than 88% of those who study or have studied in France said they are satisfied with the value of the qualification and the quality of teaching (up from 86% in 2013).
90% of those studying or who had studied in France said they were satisfied with the value of the degree, while 88% were satisfied with the quality of education (88% and 86% respectively in 2013, 88% and 85% respectively in 2011).
The quality of training (46%) remains at the top of the criteria for choosing France, however, the culture (38%) and the improving French language (41%) were seen as more important than the value of the qualification received (32%).
Global competition for international students was also highlighted in the survey, with almost half (47%) of students who chose France declaring they had also considered Canada, the UK, US or Germany (up from 45% in 2013 and 40% in 2011).
Among those students who hesitated about making a decision about which country to study in, 77% said they made France their first choice.
Respondents were asked which of each of the following countries seem more attractive than before, less attractive than before or neither more nor less attractive than before.
Politics were a big factor in determining a country’s attractiveness, according to the survey.
While interest in studying in the US remains high, the election of president Donald Trump was seen as a negative for 76%, and Brexit was shown to reduce the attractiveness of the UK for 54%.
A number of criticisms of France as a destination were also revealed by the survey, however, several issues have shown signs of decreasing year-on-year.
Almost two-fifths (39%) highlighted the cost of living as an issue (compared with 47% in 2013), while 46% were dissatisfied the administrative procedures (down from 52% in 2013).
The lack of work possibilities in France after graduation was also highlighted as a criticism by 42%, compared to 52% in 2013, despite recent post-study work liberalisations.
Each year more than 300,000 international students choose to study in France, making it the fourth most attractive country and the leading non-English speaking destination for inbound student mobility, according to UNESCO.