L’École de design regards student mobility as essential for improving language learning, intercultural skills and self-confidence. For this reason, since 1999, it has been compulsory for all of our fourth year students to spend a semester abroad.
Students have to choose between a semester in one of our partner schools around the world or an internship in an company abroad. During their third year, students are given assistance in the form of workshops with Mathieu Bernard, the Student Placement Coordinator, to assist them in their choice. The students work on their cover letter and CV with their English teachers and are also advised by the international coordinator. Students are also informed on pre-departure planning with meetings on health and safety issues relevant to study abroad, administrative details and formalities that must be completed prior to their departure as well as general and country-specific cultural issues. Students who have returned from a semester abroad and international students currently studying at our school are also a valuable source of information on what lies ahead.
The school has a growing network of contacts with design companies and agencies across the globe and each year receives a number of internship offers. A number of companies have remarked upon the high level of skills of our students and have come back to us with internship offers year after year. Once again, the student placement coordinator Mathieu Bernard gathers the information and helps our outgoing students throughout the process.
This year we have sent 49 students abroad in a partner school and 46 students found an internship in a company outside of France. The main destinations remained the English speaking countries but some also went to Korea, Estonia, Finland and China for instance.
Whatever their choice, it is undeniable that this international experience is an essential social and professional tool for our students, allowing them to broaden their cultural horizons, be confronted with new ways of teaching and learning and to gain experience working in a multicultural environment.
Hélène Fournier, International Coordinator