France is one of the largest countries in Europe and with the largest number of inhabitants. In addition, the French country, considered the fifth largest economy in the world, was the country that most welcomed last 2019. Anyone would be happy to live in this country. But not everything is glory, because many French people also come to Spain on the occasion of being able to take out a university career and open up in the labor market. “The percentage of people admitted in France is very small, access is much easier in Spain,” says Colleen, a 24-year-old physiotherapist from Versailles and who studied the degree of Physiotherapy at the European University of Madrid.
The French university system is very different from Spanish. Above all, in the case of Health Sciences students, who they must take a first course in common or PACES, with a very extensive and generalized agenda in which those who aspire to practice as nurses, dentists or physiotherapists fight for very few places. Entering a specialty is very complicated, as these students must pass a very selective exam called contest, which can be registered after studying the first joint year. Candidates prepare for two or three years in specialized institutions to pass this type of opposition and choose your specialty with a very powerful rivalry That can even become unbearable.
Antonín, originally from Mâcon and a Physiotherapy student at the CEU of Elche, came to Spain with the intention of not having to go through something so “psychologically horrible”: “I did not imagine doing that year mandatory. It is like a whole career. They should separate the races without doing this year. ”
For the contest, students have two opportunities. If the second attempt they do not get the necessary note to access the career of their dreams, they can no longer present themselves. “It’s a lot of stress. You don’t sleep, you don’t go out, you don’t have life, you have to study to be the best. Nobody helps anyone and they even celebrate if you leave or fall ill, ”criticizes Colleen.
Maybe someone who wanted to be a physiotherapist has not had a place and had to choose another specialty or go to another branch, with all the time studying for finally nothing. Unlike cases that occur in Spain, Once you choose your career you cannot change to another. “In general, only 10-15% of candidates get approved. People study hard, and despite that, they don’t guarantee you anything, ”explains Camille Lardon, a French teacher for physiotherapists in his company French online.
Changing countries is sometimes complicated adaptation
French students are looking for a way to escape this unbearable competitiveness, and they have no choice but to leave France. Spain is the country with the closest, so there are classes from Spanish universities such as Zaragoza, Barcelona, Valencia or Murcia where up to 70-80% are French students.
Some arrive in a country with a language they don’t know completely and adapting is complicated. This is the case of Paul, a 24-year-old Frenchman who studied Physiotherapy at the University of Nebrija in Madrid and who had many problems regarding Spanish: “It was difficult to leave home with 19 years. I had studied German and English, but I didn’t know anything about Spanish. In the first months it was very difficult to communicate … Imagine how difficult it was to find out about the classes! ”
Fortunately for them, universities take into account their situations and usually make facilities so that their adaptation is as fast as possible, as happened to Antonín: “In my university you have an aid program that consists of several services, such as translator that helps you. ”
The other side of the coin: time to work
Just as there are French people who come to Spain to study, many Spaniards go to work in France because it is more affordable there. In France, 80% of physiotherapists are self-employed, work five and even four days a week and still live in good conditions, something that is difficult to see in Spanish self-employed.
Therefore, the most normal thing is to see French people who come to Spain to study, are four or five years with their respective degree and return to their country, where with a series of procedures – not many, because the process is simple – validate the title to be of the European Union. “In labor matters Spain is worse, so many Spanish physiotherapists emigrate to France,” says Camille, who guarantees that, of the 66,000 physiotherapists enrolled in the College of Physiotherapists in France, around 20% come from abroad.
Access is the biggest problem facing these French students. Perhaps if they did not have those obstacles they could continue fighting for their dream in their country. “The French health system must increase places so that people have more possibilities. The government has to make an important economic effort to remedy all these problems, ”says Paul.