Thursday, July 28, 2011

Entente Cordiale Scholarship

Here's something that may be of interest, and something that is allowing me to spend the upcoming year studying in France: the Entente Cordiale Scholarship. You can have a little click and find out more about it yourself, but the basic gist is:
''Long term scholarships cover a whole academic year and are best suited for students wishing to study for a Master 1 or a Master 2 in a French university or grande ├ęcole. Scholars receive a maintenance award of £8000 (in Paris) pa or £7500 (outside Paris) pa and a maximum contribution of £3000 pa towards the payment of tuition fees. Please note that the scholarship is for one year only and is not renewable''
It's also only for British applicants, although there is an equivalent for French students wanting to study in the U.K.

  • To apply, you need to download the documents at the bottom of the page - and FYI, it is seriously time-consuming. The questions are fairly indepth, and abviously if you want to get past this step in the process you're going to need to make sure your answers hold some weight. Once you've filled it all in, stick a photo on it, attach your CV, cover letter and copies of your degree, post it, and wait. I believe the deadline this year was the 15th of March, so I'm assuming roughly the same will apply for next year. You're also required to provide two (academic) references. The application form is a bit strange in that the questions jump from English to French. I played it safe and replied in whatever language the question was asked in.

In the third week of March, I received a letter inviting me to interview in London on the 3rd of May (btw guys: I'm not an OCD time-obsessive: am just looking up the dates in my inbox to give you as precise timeline info as possible, because I know when I was applying for all this stuff, everyday was a ''FFS when am I going to find out, I can't stand this wait'' day).

  •  Next comes the interview. I'll admit - I was terrified of this interview. You generally are, except I knew this one was going to be pretty intense since the panel is made up of five people, and more precisely, five academics. I arrived in London the night before, and the next day had a bit of a total disaster. Firstly, the new shoes I had bought were a size too big (never thought I'd see the day when this would be the case). So I shuffled my way through one of London's posher areas, met up with a good friend and had a great day - pub, BLTs, catching up. Then the time for the dreaded interview arrived. Except I'd gotten the wrong place. For the love of Christ, future applicants: make sure you're in the right place. After a stilted gallop down a few miles of broad, bustling street, I arrived at The Place. Luckily, the woman who greeted me was incredibly nice. She put me at ease straight away, ushered me up the stairs, and plopped me in front of the jury. I shook hands, sat down, and the interview began. I started with a presentation of my path so far, my goals, what I want to do, and how I'm going to achieve it. I started - and then faltered. The combination of nerves and having ran/panicked my way to the interview meant I was completely out of breath, and I couldn't get my first 2 or 3 sentences out without gulping for air. I had to excuse myself and start again. Then came the actual interview. I'm not going to lie - it was quite tough, in that they were constantly keeping me on my toes. Nothing I said went unquestioned. Any answer I gave was immediately picked up by another member of the jury, and I was asked to justify it. The questions were a mixture of the personal (but not banal), and academic/cultural. I'll say this: it was the most interesting interview of my life. And when I came out, as you always do, I had a few facepalm moments where I regreted answering a question in a particular way, or I found solutions to their queries that hadn't come to me on the spot. But mostly, I felt like I'd had an interesting exchange with the panel, and it was something that was challenging. What was inspiring about it, was the fact that I didn't feel like I'd just given them the usual pre-formatted corporate answers, because that's not what it was about. I'd had to show a bit more intelligence and provide a higher standard of thinking than in any job interview I've had.
  • I found out the result by letter in the second week of May.
  • The subject you want to study does not have to be French, or even French-related, although I imagine that would help (?). The interview is, however, all in French, including the mini-presentation you have to give, so if you're interested in applying I would recommend starting brushing up now.

1 comment:

  1. Hey!

    So nice to read your blog! i've come across it after searching for some more info on the Entente cordiale scholarship. I'm looking at trying to get onto the scholarship myself but was just wondering about your experience?! What university are you at and what are you studying?

    My e-mail is nickjbaker780@googlemail.com if you prefer to get in touch that way. Will be following your blog for sure!!

    Nick

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