If you are looking for an internship in France away from the bright lights and fast pace of Paris, then look for internships in Lyon, which is a great alternative destination. Lyon is France’s third largest city with a more relaxed environment, set amidst the charming historical architecture located on the banks of the Rhone and Saone rivers. By completing an internship in Lyon, you can greatly improve your French language skills, gain experience in an esteemed global workplace, and have the time of your life living in one of France’s most beautiful cities.
Internships in Lyon
Foreign interns come to Lyon to pursue experience in all sorts of professional fields, from arts and culture to business and media. However, Lyon’s largest industries are in media, banking, and pharmaceuticals. There is also a blossoming startup scene here, so foreign interns who are interested in technology and innovation can find many great opportunities to intern in Lyon too, which will help them take their passion into the global arena at the same time. Internships in Lyon within these professional companies and organizations are wide ranging, encompassing everything from marketing to sales to human resources.
Interns who are more interested in arts and culture can take advantage of Lyon’s many prestigious museums, galleries, and theaters to look for internship experience. Lyon is also known as the gastronomical capital of France, and subsequently one of the best culinary cities in the world, so all you aspiring chefs and restaurateurs out there will have your hands full with opportunities to learn about French cooking.
Regardless of the field you pursue, your odds of finding an internship in Lyon will be exponentially higher if you are able to speak at least basic French. If you are still in the process of learning the language then do not worry; many internships in Lyon combine placements with the opportunity to take French courses. Plus, your language skills will improve rapidly speaking everyday in the workplace!
Life in Lyon
Although Lyon is nowhere near the relative scale of Paris in terms of size and global influence, it is still quite a big city and one of the most popular travel destinations in Europe. With a population of nearly 500,000 and a thriving economy, it is also considered to be one of the most livable cities in the world. It is far less crowded than many other popular cities in Europe, and offers a fairly lax environment for interns to fully immerse themselves in the French culture.
Lyon is only a couple hours away from Paris by train, making travel very accessible throughout France and the rest of Europe. The Transport en Commun Lyonnais (known locally as the TCL) further makes public transportation throughout Lyon easy and affordable, with a thoroughly connected system of metros, railways, and busses connecting the metropolitan area.
Lyon has been continuously settled since the Roman times, and today many parts of the city are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites (including the Roman, Renaissance, and Silk quarters). The city is widely known for its beautiful historical architecture, and everyday spent wandering these streets survives as a reminder of its rich history. Combined with its modern advanced infrastructure, well-kept public parks and gardens, and deep well of cultural and entertainment activities, Lyon is a dream destination for internships in France.
Salary & Costs
Lyon is a more affordable city to live in than Paris, but still can be quite expensive because France is a wealthy country. The good news is that you are likely to get paid for your internship in Lyon, which will help you get by with the everyday costs of living. Because of French labor laws, interns are required to earn a base salary of 436 euros if they work for longer than two months, and are also prohibited from interning for more than 35 hours per week.
Accommodation & Visas
Most individuals that intern in Lyon decide to live in an apartment. Housing is moderately priced in Lyon, and you can often find a one-bedroom or studio apartment in the city for around $700 a month. Rent will be significantly cheaper if you live in the suburbs as opposed to the city center, and many opt to simply rent out a single room to further cut costs. When looking for housing in Lyon, make sure to also consider factors such as nearness to public transportation and to your place of work.
You may have to apply for a work permit to intern in France, depending on your host employer and the length of your stay. It is a good idea to consult your internship program provider early on about the specifics of what visa you will need, and how to go about obtaining it. You can also check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for more information about France’s visa policy toward your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
Get to Know France. One of the great perks of internships in Lyon, as opposed to Paris, is that it is less globally centric so it feels more authentically French. You will have the opportunity to practice the language everyday, both in the street and the workplace, and come away with a much more intimate knowledge of the French way of life.
Work in a Global Context. Though it is easy to find an internship at home, and more challenging to go abroad, the professional experience and maturity you gain by working within an entirely different culture will not only make you stand out as a great candidate for employment, but will make you a wiser and more adaptable person.
International Network. Fulfilling internships in Lyon will give you the opportunity to network with peers and professionals from around the globe, as you are making friends and reaching out to new contacts. If you decide afterward that you want to make a career in the international arena, then you will be well on your way.