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An International Engineering Program In France

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

International Engineering Education II

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.191.1 - 7.191.7



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Paper Authors

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Jean-Pierre Trotignon

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Ian Simpson

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An International Engineering Programme in France

Ian R. Simpson, Jean-Pierre Trotignon ENST Bretagne/“n+1 programme”


In the late 1990s, the French government realised that the numbers of international students choosing to come and study in France had been declining for several years. During the period 1990-2000, other nations had been extremely active in offering attractive “study packages” for potential, non-native students. For universities in some countries, such as Australia, the revenue resulting from such programmes now represents an extremely important part of their overall income. A non-American student who goes to study in an American university will, obviously, absorb American culture during her/his stay, as well maintain links with the “alma mater” through the “alumni association” after returning home. Strong links are forged between the international student, the chosen university and, in the case of engineering students, with industry.

In truth, French universities and “Grandes Écoles” had probably been slow to adapt to the new phenomenon of globalisation and to all the possibilities on offer in the field of education. Their activities in this field had been limited to those countries which, for reasons of history, had been exposed to French colonial influence. Such countries are mainly located in the African continent. They are generally French-speaking and they continue to send students to be educated in France.

However, the time had come to look further afield, and examine the opportunities available to attract non-French speaking students to France and to enable them to integrate the French education system in a relatively painless manner. Great efforts were made to attract suitably qualified students from the Far East, especially from Asia and the Indian subcontinent.

However, one vital question had to be answered which would affect the whole project:

Should the language of instruction be French, or should English be used as a kind of “Esperanto,” enabling students of various nationalities to communicate with each other as well as with the indigenous student body?

To benefit fully from the whole experience of studying, living and working in France, it was decided that French would be used and that the international student body would thus be able to join in fully with all the activities of the home students. It is interesting to note that in Germany, which has developed a large programme of one-year “Master of Science” courses in its universities aimed at international students, the opposite choice was made and all classes are given in English.

Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Societ y for Engineering Education

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Trotignon, J., & Simpson, I. (2002, June), An International Engineering Program In France Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10900

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