What was once a small Gallic village, Grenoble is now a growing metropolitan area in southeastern France at the foot of the Alps. Starting with the booming glove industry of the 18th and 19th centuries, and culminating in hosting the X Olympic Winter Games in 1968, Grenoble’s economic and industrial development put it on the map. With an intensely industrious history and innovative culture, Grenoble is the perfect place to seek out internships abroad in France.
Internships in Grenoble
Though a relatively small city, Grenoble has found its place on the world stage and set itself apart from other French cities as a center for education and innovation.
Teach English. With over 54,000 students across four University of Grenoble campuses located in and around the city, not to mention the countless language schools and high schools, Grenoble serves as an important educational center in France, where opportunities to teach english abroad abound. Interns can teach English in Grenoble for anywhere from six to 12 months, and actively engage and participate in French culture the entire time. Previous teaching experience and fluency in French isn’t necessary to teach in Grenoble, though some basic understanding of French will help. However, a TEFL or TESOL certification is required for the majority of education internships in Grenoble.
Hospitality & Tourism. France is famous for its booming tourism industry and Grenoble is one of the most visited countries in the world, thus interning in Grenoble is a great option for anyone looking to have a career in hospitality or tourism management. With flexible working hours, accommodations and meals provided, and a weekly stipend to boot, hotel internships in Grenoble might be just what you are looking for. French language skills aren’t usually a requirement for hospitality interns, but your level of proficiency will factor into the type of placements available to you.
Science & Engineering. Grenoble is a leading European city in high-tech industries. Major tech companies like Hewlett Packard and STMicroelectronics call Grenoble home. For those who want to intern in Grenoble in research or engineering, an intermediate to advanced level of French is recommended, since you’ll likely be applying directly through the company. Most major companies, like HP, will have structured internship programs for students and recent graduates beginning in fall, spring, and summer.
Life in Grenoble
Grenoble is aptly called the “Capital of the French Alps”; it is ideally situated at the junction of three valleys leading to Switzerland, Italy, and the Rhone valley. Stendhal, a famous French writer and Grenoblois, wasn’t kidding when he said there is a mountain at the end of every street. Grenoble is the place to be for outdoorsy folk. The city is home to plenty of hiking, mountain biking, rock climbing, and skiing and snowboarding in the winter months. Life outside the office in Grenoble will most definitely be an active one.
While interning in Grenoble you get to have your cake and eat it too, with a French work culture that promotes a healthy work-life balance you’ll have your time at the office, a leisurely lunch, and still be able to call it a day at around 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. If you’re not in the mood to hike, there is still plenty to do outside of your internship in Grenoble. Dedicated to its cultural scene, Grenoble takes pride in its museums and art galleries, and with a city calendar full of music and film festivals you’ll never really have a free weekend.
Despite being surrounded by mountains, the town of Grenoble is very flat, making it easy to get around on foot or by bike. Europe is known for its extensive public transportation and Grenoble is no different. Buses, trams, taxis, and trains all make navigating life in Grenoble as simple as possible.
Salary & Costs
Internships in Grenoble can be either paid or unpaid, this will vary by industry and job function. However, generally most internships in France offer a modest stipend, and some will even provide additional benefits, like housing and some meals. Inclusions and benefits will be specific to your internships in Grenoble, and your employer should provide you with these details prior to departure. Most internship placement providers or employers will also include a suggested budget for food, travel, and living expenses in your pre-departure information.
Since France is such a popular tourist destination, the cost of living tends to be a little higher, especially in the downtown areas of major cities. However, daily living costs in Grenoble can be manageable with a little budgeting and a lot of creativity. Since Grenoble is a university town with a large student population, there are a lot of free or discounted activities and cultural experiences interns can take advantage of. Soon enough, you’ll learn to navigate the streets and markets like a local, finding the best deals and avoiding the tourist traps in town.
Accommodation & Visas
Some internships in Grenoble will include housing accommodation, whether in a shared apartment with fellow interns, student housing, or a homestay with a French family. Housing arrangements will vary based on the specific type of placement. For example, hospitality interns will often live in the hotel where they work, where one to two meals a day will be provided by the hotel. Housing in France can be quite expensive, and the closer you get to Grenoble’s city center, the more expensive rent will be. If it is your goal to be fluent or near fluent in French by the end of your internship in Grenoble, a homestay with a French family may be the way to go, as it is the best option for full language immersion.
If your internship in Grenoble lasts longer than 90 days, you will need a temporary long-stay visa, which will come in the form of either a student or work visa. Most internship program providers or employers in France will help you through this process and provide any necessary documents. However, visa applications will need to be submitted in person at a French consulate or embassy in your home country, so you will be responsible for scheduling and going to your consulate appointment. Therefore, don’t forget to start the visa process early, especially because French bureaucracy can be slow and frustrating.
Benefits & Challenges
Ain’t No Mountain High. Adjusting to living and working abroad can be challenging, throw in a language barrier and it may seem near impossible. Knowing about culture shock won’t necessarily keep it from happening to you, but it will prepare you to overcome it faster. No matter what, don’t let it prevent you from experiencing Grenoble and all France has to offer.
Doucement. Slow down. The pace of life in France tends to be slower, especially in smaller cities like Grenoble, take advantage of this and take the time to enjoy and savor every moment. Don’t rush through your work, and don’t rush through your time in Grenoble, because it already moves too quickly. Walk a little slower, breathe a little deeper.