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  • Kristen Black

How to Go to School for "Free"


So in the post about how to get started, I mentioned doing a masters "en alternance." "En alternance" is basically a program where you can do a masters and an internship at the same time. Some programs do a week of school, a week of internship. Some do by month, every two weeks, every so many days, etc. There are many different alternations. For me, I only have classes on Thursdays and Fridays, leaving Mondays-Wednesdays free to work. The internship also comes with benefits such as getting your tuition paid for by the company you are working for, and even earning a salary (a percentage of minimum wage, depending on age and degree.) I am not sure if you have any other employee benefits yet, but when I actually start my internship, I will know more.


I had heard of people doing this before, so I don't know if the laws have recently changed, but I was told that now either non-french citizens or non-EU citizens (I can't remember which one it was) can not get their tuition paid for the first year, however you can still have the paid internship. The second year, you are eligible for the full benefits of a program "en alternance."


I start my classes next week, but have not found an internship yet. My school is working with me to help me find one, but I was told that I can basically start whenever I want. The minimum I have to do is only two months. The other good thing about that is that I only have classes twice a week. So, before starting an internship, I have extra time to adapt to living in a new country, etc.


Either way, whether you can get yours paid for both years or not, it is still a great deal to gain experience and get paid, while getting a degree. I'm not sure what all countries have programs like this, but I have heard of similar formations for Canada (études coopératives), Switzerland (formation professionnelle initiale/apprentissage), Belgium (en alternance), and Germany (dual system). It is definitely something worth looking into if you do plan to get your degree abroad. Just make sure to pay attention to what schools offer this while researching schools you want to attend!


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