5 Major Differences between French & Canadian Universities. (collaboration)

* 5 Différences Majeures Entre les Universités Françaises et les Universités Canadiennes.


Today’s post is in collaboration with Pooja from LifesFineWhine; check out her website if you are interested in the 5 Main Similarities Between our Universities.


University is a major period in our lives and the choices we make while we are in will probably dictate a large part of our future. The courses we take, the people we meet and… the choice to study abroad, or not. I study in France and Pooja studies in Canada; today, we want to share our experience studying in these countries with you guys. Here are the 5 major differences between France and Canada when it comes to universities, just so that you can choose more easily between the two countries you may hesitate between or just educate yourself when it comes to differences that are sometimes hidden from you.

L’université est une période à l’importance capitale pour tout étudiant et les choix que nous faisons durant ces années d’études dictent une immense partie de notre future. Les cours que nous choisissons, les personnes que nous rencontrons et… le choix d’étudier à l’étranger, ou non. J’étudie en France et Pooja au Canada; aujourd’hui, nous partageons avec vous nos expériences en tant qu’étudiantes. Voici les cinq différences principales entre la France et le Canada en termes d’éducation supérieure. Pooja publiera sur son site web les 5 similitudes principales entre les deux systèmes pour vous aider à vous faire une idée de ce à quoi peut ressemble l’université ailleurs.

The Cost of University.


That is a point you must consider before choosing the country you will study in. When I refer to the “cost of university”, I do not only refer to the tuition fees, but also to all the school-related stuff. In France, university is basically free. You may have to pay 200 euros a year if you do not have a scholarship (we will talk about scholarships a little later), but rarely more. You can obviously choose a private school that you will need to pay for, just like in the U.S. or in Canada, but it is not necessary for to get a valuable degree in an interesting field. You may also consider the fact that textbooks are so much more expensive in Canada than they are in France, which may differ a little for international students.

Thus, if you do not want to invest much money into university, I would advise you to choose France, even though there are advantages that Canadian universities have over French ones (we will talk about these advantages towards the end of the post).

* le coût de l’université.

Lorsque je parle de “coût” de l’université, je ne parle pas uniquement du prix d’une année scolaire mais de toutes les autres dépenses relatives à votre scolarité. En France, l’université est plus ou moins “gratuite”. On peut payer 200 euros, parfois un peu plus, mais les prix vont rarement au-delà de 1 000 euros par an. Vous pouvez choisir une école privée qui vous coûtera bien plus cher, mais ce n’est pas nécessaire pour obtenir un diplôme de qualité. Au Canada, les frais de scolarité sont très élevés, et ce n’est pas tout : les manuels scolaires le sont également!

De ce fait, si vous ne voulez pas, ou si vous ne pouvez pas vous permettre d’investir des milliers d’euros dans une année scolaire, la France peut être votre solution de prédilection.

Student/teacher Relationship.


In Canada, there is a more friendly relationship between students and teachers than the relationship there is in France. That can obviously vary depending on the teacher but, generally, that is how it works. In France, there is a distance between teachers and students in the sense that every protagonist has its dedicated place in the classroom: students listens while teachers talk. Interactions are possible and, sometimes, even encouraged but they rarely are at the heart of the pedagogic method.

Thus, those of you who prefer listening and taking notes may choose France while those of you who need that interaction with teachers may prefer Canada.

* La relation élèves / professeurs.

Au Canada, la relation entre élèves et professeurs est généralement plus chaleureuse qu’en France. En France, une distance existe entre élèves et professeurs au sens où chaque protagoniste a une place établie dans la salle de classe. En effet, les étudiants écoutent tandis que les professeurs parlent. Les interaction sont évidemment possibles, et parfois même encouragées, mais elles sont rarement au coeur de la méthode pédagogique.

Ainsi, ceux d’entre vous qui préféreraient écouter et prendre des notes pourraient opter pour la tranquillité d’une salle de classe française tandis que ceux qui aiment participer pourraient préférer une université canadienne.

Scholarships Attribution.


In Canada, getting a scholarship can be rather hard. You need a very good level in a particular realm to be granted one. In France, it is quite different. A system called the CROUS grants scholarships to children coming form modest families, or from quite “average families”. If your parents are on minimum wage, it is enough for you to be granted around 500 euros a month, which is quite good if you want to live in a regular-sized French city. If you have great academic results, you can also have another scholarship that will work hand in hand with the first one.

Things may differ for international students as they are in a very different situation but overall, it is easier to have a scholarship for French students than it is for Canadian students.

* L’attribution des bourses d’études.

Au Canada, obtenir une bourse peut être très compliqué. Vous devez souvent avoir d’excellents résultats scolaire. En France, c’est assez différent puisque la plupart des bourses sont des bourses sur critère sociaux : si vos parents ne sont pas spécialement ce que l’on qualifierait de “riches” ou si vous ne vivez qu’avec un seul de vos parents, alors vous avez de fortes chances d’y avoir droit. Si vos résultats scolaires sont excellents, vous pouvez également voir une bourse au mérite s’ajouter à la bourse sur critères sociaux du CROUS.

Les choses peuvent évidemment différer pour les étudiants en Erasmus mais d’une manière générale, il est plus simple d’obtenir une bourse d’études en France qu’au Canada.

Job Opportunities at School.


Getting a student’s job seems to be a lot harder for French students or anyone who would choose to study in France. There are more scholarships available, but French universities usually do not provide students with student’s jobs opportunities. In Canada, on the contrary, there are more opportunities for a student who would like to have a job with the help of the university whether it is inside the campus or outside of it.

You can always find a job, I have one every weekend at a supermarket, but know that school does not help a lot finding a job in France. In Canada, it would probably be much easier for you to find a student’s job, and maybe even a “funnier” one.

* Les offres en termes de jobs étudiants.

Obtenir un job étudiant semble plus compliqué en France qu’au Canada. Il y a plus de bourses disponibles en France, mais les universités françaises n’aident que rarement les étudiants à trouver un job pour les week-ends. Au Canada, il existe plus d’opportunités dans ce domaine et l’université peut aider les étudiants à trouver un travail, parfois même au sein même du campus.

Vous pouvez toujours trouver un travail en France, je travaille personnellement dans une hypermarché tous les week-ends mais il vous faudra chercher un peu (ou beaucoup) plus.

Job Opportunities After University.


I will not say that there are no job opportunities in France after college, it would be sooooo wrong but the hidden truth is that… school won’t necessarily help much. Just like for student’s jobs, you will have a great level and a valuable degree, but your university will not necessarily provide you with a network; you will need to find a job all by yourself. There are exceptions, of course, especially in paying private schools and in more selective universities but, overall, expect a hard time creating a network after university if you choose to study in France. Networking will become your number one priority.

In Canada, as school is more expensive, more job opportunities come with it: you more or less pay for your network. There are more partnerships between Canadian universities and companies. Moreover, you will probably have access to more prestigious internships, even though your grades will matter a lot in actually getting the internship.

* Les opportunités professionnelles après l’université.

Je ne peux pas dire qu’il n’y a pas de travail en France, ce serait trèsssss faux mais cependant, votre université ne vous aidera probablement pas beaucoup dans vos recherches. Il y a des exceptions, en particulier dans les écoles privées (et payantes) et dans les universités plus sélectives mais globalement, attendez-vous à vous creuser la tête pour vous créer un réseau et des relations.

Au Canada, dans la mesure où l’université est plus chère, vous aurez plus d’opportunités lorsqu’il sera temps de chercher du travail : vous payez plus ou moins pour vos relations professionnelles (ce qui implique tout de même une grande dose de travail personnel, une rencontre avec un employeur ne fait pas tout, ce n’est qu’un début). Par ailleurs, vous aurez probablement (je l’espère pour vous) accès à des stages dans des entreprises plus “prestigieuses” puisque, une fois encore, une université onéreuse a souvent des partenariats avec des entreprises célèbres.


If you liked that post or if it helped you with your school-related choices, consider subscribing and tell us in the comments: what country would you enjoy studying in the most? 🙂

Also, I would highly recommend reading Pooja’s post by clicking here, it would mean the world to both of us as this collaboration was such a fun experience for us and we hope it will be as helpful as possible for you guys. ♡

  1. Bonjour, Camille! Le votre est le premier blog bilingue que j’ai vu dans le reseau de WordPress. Merci de partager avec nous vos experiences a l’universite! J’ai beaucoup appris en lisant votre post./Hello, Camille! Yours is the first bilingual blog I’ve seen in the WordPress network. Thank you for sharing your university experiences! I learned a lot while reading your post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello! I am so happy you loved the idea of translating posts! I do not translate every single one but when I can manage to find some time, I love doing it! What about you, your French is great, where are you from? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Thank you for the compliment! I am from the southern United States. I learned French in high school and at university. I don’t speak it as much as I used to, unfortunately, but I still try to keep it up a bit!

      Liked by 1 person

    3. I am just the same with German, it is crazy how much of language we can forget through time. You can be sure that if you are that good in France, most people will be so happy to talk with you. I mean, it is so rare to talk with English-speakers who know French!

      Like

    1. I totally agree with you! As I said, if you pay for a super expensive degree, university will help you more but I hope in the future, they will all help no matter the price!

      Like

  2. Thank you for this post. 🙂

    I think studying overseas was one of the things I missed out on, though I did not do much research into how viable it would have been with my most financial means. I love snow and snowboarding (even though New Zealand has few places with snow and I am not the best snowboarder), so perhaps Canada would have been a good choice while I was studying?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello,

      I did not do it either but maybe it just was not the right time for us and even greater opportunities lie in front of us when it comes to spending a year+ overseas! For instance, did you ever consider a Working Holiday Visa? I think it could be a great alternative to studying abroad and you could actually earn money. 🙂

      I think it could have been given the information you gave, ask Pooja (https://lifesfinewhine.com/), she will be happy to give you advice when it comes to Canada.

      I hope I helped!

      Like

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