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What are the advantages and disadvantages of a work-study training program in France?

A work-study training program consists in studying at school and working for a company. In France, this kind of program dictates that students shall be at school two days per week and work in the company for the rest of the week, or to be one week at school and one week in the company. Choosing this program is not an easy decision. Indeed, there are many pros and cons students have to weigh up.

What are these advantages and disadvantages?

Before finding a company, you have to be eligible for this training. That is to say that you have to respond to the school but also to the CFA criterias. If the school accepts everyone, there is no trouble, take your time to find the company you want. Otherwise, it is the beginning of a huge and exhausting competition between you and your classmates.

The school and the CFA criterias are almost the same. They want you to have a certain grade. For example, you must have an average of at least 12 out of 20 in all disciplines. They also want you to have a certain level in English because now, companies want people who can speak English correctly: speaking in English is not a plus, it is now an obligation. They also want to know your personality and what you exactly want to do after graduation. For that, they will ask you to write a motivation letter, then to write about your knowledge and personality, which includes your qualities and imperfections, and then to talk about the job you want to do and why you chose a work-study training program.

It is really exhausting to do this. But if you succeed, the advantage of the program is that you will be able to earn money. Indeed, you will be considered an employee, so each month you will have a salary. You will be able to buy anything you want without asking your parents and without telling them what you buy. Moreover, if you have some school fees to pay, like in business schools, the company will be in charge to pay it. It is possible to save about $10,000 per year if you are in business school. Plus, making this training program will give you more professional experience than other students.

At this point, it seems that there are no disadvantages, but there are. It is not so easy to work and study at the same time. While your classmates will have one week to review the test of the week to come, you will only have the weekend to review it. You will also have to compromise with your private life because you will not have enough time to go to a party and review your course. Moreover, if you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, you will have to take in account that it will be complicated to see each other frequently.

Doing a work-study program can be an advantage because of the money, independence and experience. But it is also exhausting, you will have to make a lot of compromises and give up your vacations.

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