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Strengthening our French Connection

07 Oct 2009

A new deal struck between two University of Sydney faculties and the French Embassy in Canberra will create opportunities for students to work in France for six months.

The Faculty of Economics and Business and the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies both signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the French Embassy this week for an internship program that will enable their students to compete for job placements in high-profile French companies.

There will be a mixture of six- and 12-month placements with interns spending the first half of the internship working in the French company's Sydney office before completing the internship in the company's France office.

Some of France's biggest companies including Thales and BNP Paribas are taking part in the program.

Students with intermediate level proficiency in French can apply for the internships, with the faculties also able to put other criteria around applications. Interns will be provided with a $10-15,000 scholarship for a six month placement and $20, 000-30,000 for a 12-month placement. The interns will also be provided with a student visa and the French Embassy has agreed to provide a travel grant of AUD $2,500 per internship student to assist with the cost of the airfare.

Both faculties have confirmed that students who have completed a minimum of two years of full-time study in a degree offered through the faculty are eligible.

Students are required to have some proficiency in French at an intermediate level and for those students who may require additional French language tuition the University faculty and the French Embassy will contribute $1,000 each towards the cost of intensive tuition.

At the signing of the agreement in Canberra this week Dean of Economics and Business Professor Peter Wolnizer said that the program would give students the opportunity to immerse themselves in a different culture, improve their language skills and globalise their work experience - all of which will enhance their prospects in a highly competitive employment market.

The Program would also enable French companies to develop a better understanding of business and management education at the University of Sydney, he said.

"We are delighted to be signing this important memorandum of understanding today. It is yet another example of the Faculty's strong commitment to providing our students with significant international business networks and enhanced educational opportunities. We encourage students to take advantage of the program and believe it will open many doors for them across Europe."

Dean of Engineering and Information Technologies Professor Archie Johnston said he was very pleased to broker the partnership.

"The signing of this important Memorandum of Understanding today demonstrates the importance the Faculty places on international linkages and partnerships. It brings us great pleasure to sign the document. It also indicates the high regard our Engineering students are held in industry all around the world. We strongly encourage students to explore opportunities to make business connections worldwide and to work in international environments," Professor Johnston said.

The internship opportunities will be initiated by companies involved who will communicate a job description detailing the subject of the work, the level of expertise required and the desired level of French. The University will then convene to interview candidates and provide the company with a shortlist of suitable candidates. When the successful candidate has been chosen a Convention will be signed making the hire official.