What I like about France is the opportunities, the culture, the language…
Lina Ospina is a former student from Colombia. In 2014, she completed an MSc in International Human Resources Management at Rennes School of Business. What called her attention about the programme, was the intercultural part that the school was offering and the international dimension of the master. Let’s hear about her experience as a student in the school, but also about her professional career in France.
Hello Lina! After your studies, you found an internship and a job in France. Can you tell us about it?
To be able to validate my Master’s, I had to do an internship of 6 months. To be honest, it was a bit hard for me to find one at the beginning because I sent a lot of applications without being called back. But I was not giving up! My assumption was that maybe the recruiters thought I didn’t have a level of French that was good enough to work, or that I needed a working visa.
Nonetheless, after the semester ended, I went on a trip of one month and as soon as I came back, I kept looking for the internship. At that moment, I don’t know what happened but I got like 5 calls in one week, in really interesting companies, I must add. I did the interviews and it was great. After several interviews in one week, I had an internship at the Lactalis Group in the Group Training Department. I was really happy because it was what I wanted and at the end, after all the hard search, I had the choice to select which internship I wanted to do.
How did the Career Services help you in your search?
When I was getting a hard time applying and seeing that apparently, no one wanted to interview me, I decided to go meet the Career Services. I knew about them because I have attended the workshops regarding the CV making, interviews and more. At that moment I met with Cecile Auffray, and I told her my concerns and asked her for some advice. She was really nice and helpful. We looked at my CV together, at my motivation letters, and she showed me some other companies that I didn’t know so I could apply. I felt someone was having my back, and I think at that moment when you don’t have that much certainty, it is essential to feel supported. While I was looking for internships, sometimes Cecile was sending me new offers so I could postulate and was asking for news. So I felt I had been taken into account and that she cared.
Any advice for international students who wish to work in France?
If I could give any advice it would be, from my experience:
- Try to get some French bases. Of course, it’s not imperative, I know some people who found internships in France without knowing much French. But I think if you know a bit of French it can give you an added value.
- Postulate to the internships in which you feel your profile is adapted. Apply to what you think you will be good at, and something related to your studies, because it will give you a possibility to be a potential candidate for the offer.
- Don’t hesitate to organize your search: the Career Services suggested me to create an Excel file where I could list all the offers I applied for. Then it’s easier to track the application process (if you got an email back, if you got a call, if you went to the interview etc.)
- Please don’t make generic motivation letters! Now that “I am on the other side” and sometimes I recruit interns, there is nothing more frustrating than to see a candidate who didn’t take the time to personalize the motivation letter.
- My last advice and the most important one: BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. You have to believe in yourself, or no one else will. You were able to get to France, out of your comfort zone, you left your family and friends to do your master. You got accepted into the school… many extraordinary things happened to you so YES, YOU CAN!
Thanks for the precious advice, Lina! What about now? How is it like to work in France?
Well, thanks to that internship, here I am, still in France, after two years working. I am still in the Lactalis Group, the offered me a contract after my internship as a Group Training Project Leader. I think what they like the most about me is my “international side”: being a “foreigner” in a French headquarter of a multinational company… And if you recall a the beginning of this story I said that I thought that being a foreigner was not helping me that much, but now I think it’s my asset and my added value!
What I like about working in France? Hard to answer. I think it is not only what I like regarding my work in France but my work at the Lactalis Group as well. What I like is the opportunities, the culture, the language… and much more.
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