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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello Everyone,

I have been settled in France now for about a year with my French spouse. Things are going well, except…I’m thinking about changing careers. I’ve talked to my wife and few French friends about this and they seem to be under the impression that mid-stream career changes are rarer in France than in the US because a degree is required regardless of how much real life experience one may have. In my case, I’d really like to switch to translation/interpreting. My American degree is in social work and I had a lot of experience in translation due to working with large numbers of immigrants in the US and I really enjoyed it.

My question is, has any one ever tried going back to university as an adult or a midstream career switch in France? Has anyone had experience transferring university credits from an American institution (or a foreign institution in general) to a French one (I have an unfinished Spanish B.A. that I thought I could use)? I’m thinking of going ahead and studying for a translation degree (maybe a masters?), but what I’ve read so far about transferring credits has been contradictory and confusing. Maybe with your experiences I can make a little more sense of it. This is the first time I’ve ever had to deal with a foreign educational system and I feel a little intimidated.

Unfortunately, my wife is almost as clueless as I am because she got her BA in the US, ha.

Finally, is there any financial aid available for adults who decide to go back to school?

I would love to hear any experiences you may have had. Thank you.
 

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Can't help with most of your detailed questions, but I do know that France (for some reason) doesn't charge "discriminatory" university fees to foreigners. You should be eligible for a French university like anyone else, and the fees really aren't too bad. (At least not at the State schools.)

Transferring credits is pretty much a nightmare, as the various fields of study often don't overlap and I have heard reports of the universities evaluating the "prestige" of the school you attended. Harvard, they've heard of - North Dakota State (or most other state schools), they haven't.

But you might want to do a bit of research over on the Ministry of Education site. They have a publication called the Répertoire des métiers that should have some information about recognized professions and what sorts of education are expected. Rpertoire des mtiers de l'ducation nationale de l'enseignement suprieur et de la recherche - Ministre de l'ducation nationale

Or, wander over to the Pôle d'emploi and see what they can tell you about the qualifications needed for the type of translation you have in mind. (i.e. written, spoken, technical writing, judicial translation, etc. etc.)
Cheers,
Bev
 

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There is a lot of age discrimination in the french job market, so I imagine when you look for a junior role and are over 40 years old, odds of finding an employer who accept you will be close to zero.

French university got their governement funding that is calculated on the number of registered students they have, so they usually accept someone very easily. Whether or not you will find a job with their degree is another story ...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you for your help and suggestions thus far.

Yes, I had heard that transferring credits might be tough, but then again I heard this from a French fonctionnaire, a breed who seems to delight in telling foreigners, "mais non, ce n'est pas possible!" :) But maybe, it would be better to look at an American or even British institution as the degree systems seems to line up better.

I've looked at the American University in Paris. Yikes, expensive, but as was suggested if I can transfer enough credits, I might be able to foot the bill for what's left to do, assuming I keep working (that's the rub).

Has anyone else had experience with this Open University? Does anyone know how well their degrees are regarded? Obviously, I'm not looking for Oxford-level prestige, but at same time I would hope my degree would be worth at least the paper it's printed on.

Thank you all again for you help.
 

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Have had only limited experience with the OU, but I do happen to know that they maintain a staff of "tutors" in France. (Actually, I applied for a job with them as a French-based tutor.) Generally they work with the students online, via e-mail, etc. but I believe many of their courses still require some face time (once a month or so, usually at the weekends) at their various centers (one of which is near Paris).

It's an interesting program and well regarded, at least within Europe.
Cheers,
Bev
 

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Hello Everyone,

I have been settled in France now for about a year with my French spouse. Things are going well, except…I’m thinking about changing careers. I’ve talked to my wife and few French friends about this and they seem to be under the impression that mid-stream career changes are rarer in France than in the US because a degree is required regardless of how much real life experience one may have. In my case, I’d really like to switch to translation/interpreting. My American degree is in social work and I had a lot of experience in translation due to working with large numbers of immigrants in the US and I really enjoyed it.

My question is, has any one ever tried going back to university as an adult or a midstream career switch in France? Has anyone had experience transferring university credits from an American institution (or a foreign institution in general) to a French one (I have an unfinished Spanish B.A. that I thought I could use)? I’m thinking of going ahead and studying for a translation degree (maybe a masters?), but what I’ve read so far about transferring credits has been contradictory and confusing. Maybe with your experiences I can make a little more sense of it. This is the first time I’ve ever had to deal with a foreign educational system and I feel a little intimidated.

Unfortunately, my wife is almost as clueless as I am because she got her BA in the US, ha.

Finally, is there any financial aid available for adults who decide to go back to school?

I would love to hear any experiences you may have had. Thank you.
Hi ohioguy,
I enquired this morning about transferring credits, and apparently it can be done within international schools. Or schools using the European Credits Transfer System.

You mention in your original post that you have already some experience in translating. Do you feel it is not enough to start working in translating with this experience you already have?
 
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