Updated 6 months ago

Despite its rainy weather, Lille is a warm and colourful city endowed with beautiful architecture. The city boasts about three public universities and offers an affordable cost of living, a developed public transport network, and a range of leisure activities and events for students. No wonder Lille is such a dynamic city student city with nearly 150,000 students.

Lille can be an excellent option if you're looking to study in France, but make sure to have all relevant information before proceeding. Feel free to ask your questions on the Lille forum and to have a look at the France Expat Guide which has a lot of useful information for international students.

Higher studies in France

Basically, the French higher education system includes the "Grandes écoles", open to international students who have completed at least two years of preparatory courses or a post-baccalaureate examination and public university after obtaining a bachelor's degree. Most universities and schools have nothing to envy to private schools to which they are affiliated, especially given that higher education is usually more expensive. Public universities and school are world famous for their quality education, ambitious research programs, and a wide range of courses that cost around € 250 per year. The best you can do is to inquire about the university's reputation before applying. Also, remember that French universities have set up a credit system (ETCS) which is in line with current European standards. Other European universities, therefore, recognise degrees issued in France.

Main universities in Lille

Université Lille 1 sciences et technologies

Lille's three public universities, namely the Université Lille 1 Sciences et technologies, the Université Lille 2 Droit et santé and the Université Charles de Gaulle Lille 3 Sciences humaines et sociales are listed among the top 500 universities around the world according to QS Top Universities. The Cite Scientifique is a more prominent campus founded in 1967.

Ranking 551st worldwide according to QS Top Universities Ranking 2018, the Université de Lille 1 hosts around 20,000 students. The institution performs particularly well in the fields of pharmacy and pharmacology.

Lille 1 is the ideal scientific university for global mobility thanks to 11 Erasmus programs approved by the European Commission. Its international student population comprises 4,000 students, including 56% enrolled in PhD courses. Along with other universities, Lille 1 recently launched a research program on climate and environment evolution in the Hauts de France region via Climbio while PhD students have developed new technology to feel the texture of virtual objects physically.

Today, we can say that Lille 1 is used to welcoming international students with no less than 50 researchers from 30 different countries. It provides 24 international programs, including 22 in English.

The university website has a French-English survival guide for international students who can also request for funding via Erasmus Mundus. Find more information on the university website.

Université Lille 2 Droit et santé

Lille 2 offers a range of programs including political science, management, and sports. The university has five big sports complexes. Specialising in law and health, Lille 2 gives vital importance to research, as evidenced by its high-level science centres. It also hosts a legal history research centre. You will be delighted to know that René Cassin, an eminent jurist and Nobel Peace Prize, graduated from Lille 2. While it ranks 801st in the QS Top Universities Ranking 2018, it stands out among the top 450 when it comes to medicine.

Lille 2 hosts 28,000 French students and 2,300 international students. However, international students have to prove their knowledge of the French language by taking language tests. Law and health students need at least a B2 to be admitted, while management, finance, and sports students need a B1. International students are entitled to a welcome service every year. Find more information on the university website.

Université Charles de Gaulle Lille 3 Sciences humaines et sociales

The Université Charles de Gaulle Lille 3 Sciences humaines et sociales host around 19,000 students in its three campuses, namely in Villeneuve d'Asq, Roubaix and Tourcoing which are found on the city's outskirts. Most of them study up to the Master level. Lille 3 mainly focuses on languages, philosophy and psychology, but science-related programs are also available.

International students have different options to study at Lille 3: the exchange program, individually with the help of the BAEI office or by doing a joint master through Erasmus Mitra. A couple of programs such as the Master 2 in contemporary philosophy are available in English. Find more information on the university website.

Moving to France as an international student

International students coming from the European Union of the European Free Trade Association do not need a visa to study in France. Those coming from other countries have to apply for a student visa. Application procedures are explained on the Universite Paris 1 website. Those planning to make a more than six months stay also need a resident permit.

Scholarships and grants for international students

International students are eligible for different types of financial aid in France. They can either apply for a scholarship from their university in their home country, or request a grant from the chosen university, or seek help from specialised organisations. Find a comprehensive list of available grants and scholarships on the France Diplomatie website.

International students are also allowed to work in France provided they are covered by the social security and have a resident permit for those who are not from the EU.

Work in France as an international student

Students from the EU are free to stay in France without any restriction after graduation. For those coming from other countries, specific conditions apply, namely the degree obtained, wages, etc.

Internships in France are open both to French and international students. International students coming from outside the EU can do an internship with their student visa under certain conditions.

There are many ways to find a job in Lille, namely on the website or via networking. Word of mouth is another great way to find a job in Lille.

Student accommodation in Lille

Crous Lille's international section does not provide a wide range of accommodation options; however, there are some for international students. If you're looking for a university residence, feel free to request for help from Campus France.

Flatsharing is a good option for international students, especially if you're looking to develop your social network. Offers are available on websites like Adele, Appartager, Loc service, La carte des colocs, etc. Those looking to improve their French language skills can look for homestay options via Chambre a

Student cost of living in Lille

The cost of living will naturally vary according to the type of accommodation you have chosen. For a room at the university residence, count between 220 € and 330 €. A room in the city centre will cost between 300 € and 600 €. Besides rent, you also have to take into account your food budget. At the U restaurant, a meal costs around 3.25 €. Students in Lille are entitled to discounts on the public transport network, so count an additional budget of 25 € and 30 € per month, not to mention your tuition material and leisure. On average, you will need about 700 € to 800 € per month. Also, remember that social security is compulsory in France. International students who younger than 28 and have been studying in France for over four months are eligible for coverage against a special annual fee. Scholarship students, on the other hand, do not have to contribute to the social security system.

Things to do in Lille

The city centre, Vauban, and Masséna, the famous thirst districts, are perfect for those who like to party. If you're looking for a quieter pace of life, turn to Vieux Lille or Flandres-Grand place which is a historical area.

Vieux Lille has a beautiful architecture with an impressive cathedral from which you can have a spectacular view of the whole city. Lille also offers a vibrant cultural experience along with special prices for those holding the Lille Pass'culture available upon university admission. Also, big clearance sales are going on every Sunday morning at the Wazemmes market. You may also head to the beach which is less than an hour away from the city centre or even travel to neighbouring Belgium on a weekend getaway.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.