• France's news in English

Can terror-hit Paris keep best student city crown?

Oliver Gee · 1 Dec 2015, 17:18

Published: 01 Dec 2015 17:18 GMT+01:00
Updated: 01 Dec 2015 17:18 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
France's capital continues to outshine other world cities, at least according to a study published on Tuesday by British education company Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
Judged over five main criteria - university rankings, student mix, desirability, employer activity, and affordability - Paris edged out other top cities like Melbourne, Tokyo, Sydney, and London to finish in top spot for the fourth year running. 
But could the French capital's reputation be tarnished after terrorists killed 130 mostly young people  - many of them students - out and about in Paris?
Le Monde newspaper ran with the headline "Paris remains the world's top student city... for now", suggesting the top spot may be out of reach in the future as France struggles to recover from the devastating attack.
'Some students have left early'
However Tim Rogers, Director of Enrollment Management at The American University of Paris, told The Local that he wasn't so sure there would be long-term effects from the terror. 
"We're still very close to the attacks and I'm not sure people have quite made their minds up yet," he said.
"We've had a small number of students choose to leave early, either because they've felt uneasy or their parents have had concerns, but the clear majority of students have chosen to stay put and finish the semester."
While he said the university may see drop outs - particularly with non-degree study abroad students - he predicted that prospective international students will "continue to focus on the city as an excellent destination". 
The university - which is completely international - has made sure to support current students and their families, using the attacks and the responses from Paris as classroom discussions.
When asked if Paris remained an attractive option, Rogers responded: "It's a resounding yes"
"Parents, students and partner universities from all over the world have told us these attacks won't change their plans of coming to Paris - sending us their children and students to benefit from the extraordinary experience that Paris and AUP offers," he said.
Le Monde reported that other universities with high percentages of foreign students - such as Sciences Po - have only seen a handful of students dropping out, with experts predicting no real long-term effects.  
Meanwhile, those who have already come to Paris to study don't look like changing their mind either, at least not according to Stéphane Favré, a 24-year-old who came to the capital to study at the Business School of Institut Mines-Télécom.
"I haven't heard of anyone who wants to leave just because of the terror attacks," he told The Local.
"And those attacks won't affect my decision either, I'm not afraid to stay here in Paris." 
Favré, who was in the Stade de France stadium when three suicide bombers blew themselves up outside, admits that his family in southern France's Grenoble have expressed their concern, however. 
"My father was worried, especially knowing that I was in the stadium, and he is afraid about the fact that I go to restaurant terraces at night. But he doesn't explicitly tell me I should leave Paris."
The Frenchman added that if a foreigner were to ask whether it was safe to come to study in Paris, he wouldn't hesitate.
"I would tell them to just come, for sure. Yes, life has changed a bit since the attacks, but it's still a wonderful city."
And indeed, those who do come to Paris to study have plenty to enjoy. 
Tuesday's study praised Paris for its high concentration of internationally ranking universities. Boasting 18 universities featured in the QS World University Rankings, it has more world-leading institutions than any other city on the planet except for London, which has 19.
Story continues below…
It singled out elite Parisian universities such as ENS Paris, Ecole Polytechnique, ParisTech, Sciences Po Paris, Université Paris-Sorbonne (ParisIV) and HEC Paris, noting that Parisian graduates are hot property for employers across Europe. 
The study noted that while Paris is indeed an expensive place to live, the relatively low tuition fees mean that it turns out to be rather an affordable option when compared to other popular option. 
And besides, what better place to be a broke student than Paris, which QS points out is "one of the world’s most historic, culturally vital and beautiful cities".
But be warned - it's not all good news.
Recently classrooms in French universities have been overflowing, students have protested a serious lack of funding, and France on the whole finished last in a ranking of international student satisfaction in Europe for the third year in a row.
A look at France's legion of foreign students
Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Homeless man does a runner from France's top restaurants
Photo: Prayitno/Flickr

"A man's gotta eat," he told police, after racking up gigantic bills in some of France's plushest restaurants.

Underwater museum hopes to make a splash in Marseille
A similar underwater museum piece by Jason deCaires Taylor. Photo: julie rohloff/Flickr

Don't forget your scuba gear...

Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Photo: Jacme/Flickr

Move over Paris...

And France's top chef of the year is... 'Monsieur Idiot'
Alexandre Couillon might have an unfortunate name, but he can sure cook!. Photo: AFP

Look beyond the name. He's the man who turned his family's humble "moules frites" joint into one of France's best seafood restaurants.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
Want to drive a scooter around Paris? Here's what you need to know
jobs available