Selectivity, curriculum, surroundings: they most well-liked to check in Europe

Posted on July 30, 2019, 6:24 pmUpdated July 31, 2019 at 5:27 pm

Prospective student, you are one of the 58,000 students whose wishes at Parcoursup were not accepted… or else the French system scares you. Abroad, it offers many possibilities… and not just in the health area.

Studying physio…

To become a physiotherapist in France, there are not many possibilities: you have to go through medical school and survive the dreaded PACES (first year common to health studies), in the hope of finishing in the first third at the end of the year… have the chance to participate in a four-year course. A total of five years of study (provided you pass PACES for the first time).

It should be noted that some universities offer the recruitment of students in STAPS, at the end of License 1. But vacancies are very rare and the procedure is unclear… This is why many are those who choose to go abroad to obtain their dream job. About a third of the new graduates registered with the Order of Kinesitherapists in France are graduates from another European country.

In Germany: Yoann, “The relevance of curriculum and… the atmosphere”

Germany attracts many cross-border workers from and around Strasbourg. And for good reason, physiotherapy studies are much more affordable in Germany than in France: there is no need to complete the first year of medicine, nor to pass an entrance exam. There are even several back-to-school periods throughout the year. In addition, there is no quota defined by the state regarding the number of physical therapists trained per year. This schooling has a cost (between 12,000 and 18,000 euros for all three years, depending on the schools) but it is quickly profitable, mainly because some schools take care of the equipment and internships carried out by the student.

A German level B2 or C1 according to the European framework will be required depending on the schools to join a physiotherapy school in Germany. Note that the best schools recruit their students with a C1 level, i.e. an “experienced” level.

However, make no mistake: if there is no competitive selection, it does not mean that exams do not exist and that you should not work.

Yoann, originally from Strasbourg, is now a self-employed physiotherapist in St Tropez. He completed his physiotherapy studies at Physiotherapie Schule Ortenau, located near the German border. “Initially, I wanted to study in France, but when I discovered the German program, it alerted me. I went to Munich for 6 months for the first time to deepen my level of German,” he says. “I don’t regret my choice: I really appreciated the mentality, the atmosphere between students and teachers and the fact that there was no competition within the class. I didn’t have any particular difficulties getting back to work in France, just some administrative procedures, which were sometimes a bit long. The only thing that was complicated at first was the technical terms I learned in German to explain to people the movements to be made, but I soon got used to it and everything is going very well, the patients are happy.”

In Portugal: Florian, “The complexity of entering the physiotherapy course in France”

The same possibility is offered in Portugal, thanks to a Portuguese organization responsible for the internationalization of French-speaking European countries. GEDS, that’s its name, was created to allow students to come and study in Portugal; they can apply directly to universities.

Students are recruited on file. But this time there is no need to prove any language level! In some schools, the teaching of the first year is even done in French.

Florian, 25, studied physiotherapy at the University of Fernando Pessoa, in Porto. “I had never learned Portuguese, I learned it on the job once at school. The ECTS credits acquired in Portugal allowed me to obtain my equivalence to exercise in France, after appearing before a committee. It determines if all the disciplines were followed, if the internships carried out respect the structure in France. Either it’s fine and they accept, or they make a professional scenario, but that’s still rare. Anyway, I don’t regret my choice at all.”

Studying veterinary…

Veterinary studies are very popular in France and difficult to obtain. After two years of BCPST (biology, chemistry, physics and earth science) preparatory class, or even three for some, students go through extremely selective competitions to hope to earn their place at one of four veterinary schools recognized by the profession. In total, around 500 vacancies are offered per year. The studies then take place over five years. An obstacle course, therefore, with a few chosen at the end…

In Germany: Léa, “Not wanting to go through the prep box”

In Germany, the total course spans 5 and a half years, that is, one year less than in France. Depending on the faculties, the required language levels, as well as for physical training, are different. Students are selected primarily on their grades. It is from the second semester that the skimming begins, with the tests for the intermediate exam in veterinary medicine.

Léa, 22, also from Strasbourg, is in her final year at the Munich school. “I took an Abibac course in high school (French/German) and chose to study in Germany mainly for the sake of the course. I didn’t necessarily want to do a prep, even though I didn’t have a bad bachelor’s degree. Here we are much more united”.

She makes the same observation as Florian: “there is less competition here. The “I have to be the best” side that can be found in preparation doesn’t exist. We don’t have the same pressure as PACES, but at the end of the second year, the workload is comparable to that of the French course. There is this great exam that allows us to move on to the clinical part of the studies. Many give up within the first two years. For the future, I always said that I would return to France. I still miss.

Study architect…

In France, entering an architecture school depends on the success of an entrance exam. There is really no preparation and it varies from school to school. After 5 years, the course leads to a Master 2

In Belgium: Thibault, “For the rigor of Belgian education”

In French-speaking Belgium, studies are organized in 2 cycles: a 3-year undergraduate degree and a 2-year master’s degree.

Thibault, 28, lives in France and completed his first cycle of architecture in Belgium, before returning to complete his second cycle at a school in Paris. “In my bachelor’s year, I was on the waiting list in France and was not admitted. I was offered a year MANAA (artistic upgrade) that would prepare me to resume competitions, or go to Belgium. I opted for the second option.”

In retrospect, Thibault considers he followed a more rigorous education in Belgium. “On a theoretical level, there are many subjects related to construction, while in France schools are more artistic. So I chose to do a master’s degree at the Belleville school, which offered more options and courses related to my project, but it was not easy to integrate the school; in particular because of administrative procedures”.

Studying speech therapy…

To become a speech therapist in France, there is only one way: you must have a certificate of competence as a speech therapist (CCO), which can be completed in 5 years at a training center linked to a UFR of medicine. Admission by competition only allows between 5 and 10% of income per year, often after a year of preparation in a private establishment.

In Belgium: Sarah, “Bypassing the numerus clausus in France”

It is possible to bypass this saturation through Belgium. There are two different training courses: at the Hautes Écoles, in 3 years of higher education (bachelor’s degree) or at the University, in 5 years of higher education (bachelor’s + master’s), training that opens access to research. For foreigners who intend to enter, it is not necessary to have had two years of failure in the same area and above all… to be lucky enough to be drawn.

Once the course is completed, the student who wants to practice in France sends his file to a commission, which may require him to complete a certain number of hours of internship.

Sarah, 23, from Colmar, has just finished her studies at the Haute Ecole in Liège. She is currently on an internship in her home region to have her degree validated in France. “I tried competitions in France after a year of preparation, without success. So I went back to Belgium, where I found the training affordable, although the teachers were demanding and the pace was very fast. I met many friends there, who opted for the same course after failing in France. We are more trained in practice, but not enough in theory, unlike France. Today is what I miss a little bit.

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