International exchange programmes

international exchange

Staying abroad is an essential step in the academic career of the normaliens. Choosing a destination is closely linked to their research project and training career at the ENS, while integrating their stay into a well-defined project (studies, research, additional training) is essential.

In Humanities, the normaliens have the possibility to undertake a mobility period fully dedicated to training and research, for a period between 3 months to 1 year, or to become a language assistant in French as a foreign language (called FLE in French) in a partner university, while continuing their studies there.

In Sciences, the normaliens do an internship in a foreign research laboratory during the second semester of their 1st year of Master. The ENS departments directly handle most of these internships, which can be undertaken within the framework of the Erasmus+ programme.

During their career at the ENS, the normaliens are offered several possibilities for going abroad, whether within the frame of their studies path or during a gap year.

All practical details are to found on the intranet of the ENS.


Studying as part of a bilateral exchange

A number of bilateral exchange agreements open the doors of foreign universities to ENS students, assuring them a warm welcome and excellent academic training: Harvard and Princeton, Oxford and Cambridge, Berlin, Pisa or Bologna, Mexico, Tokyo and Seoul, New Zealand and South Africa, among many others.

Foreign language assistant positions and research positions are offered within the scope of professionalisation stays.

University foreign language assistantships

Every year, fifty or so ENS students spend a semester or a year abroad as a French Language Assistant in a foreign university. In this role, they give classes in French literature, culture and, above all, language, sometimes to beginners. This is sometimes a student’s first experience of teaching groups..

Language assistants are enrolled in the host university and benefit from a grant. For a better preparation, they are also offered didactics courses and workshops for French as a foreign language.


Research positions

Students enrolled in the 1st or 2nd year of Master can apply for a research residency in a partner university, for a period between 2 months to 1 year, preparing them to become professors and researchers. Almost all students in Humanities in Social Sciences and some students in Sciences are concerned.


Europe: Erasmus+ agreements

About 30 Erasmus+ agreements allow the normaliens to study abroad for 1 or 2 semesters, thus validating ECTS credits in their major discipline.

The Italy programme and ELAN programme offer further possibilities.

Italy Programme

The ENS has signed exchange agreements with 6 prestigious Italian institutions:

  • Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Pisa
  • Collegio Superiore, Bologna
  • Università del Salento, Lecce
  • Scuola Galileiana, Padua
  • Scuola Superiore di Studi Avanzati - La Sapienza, Rome
  • Università di Siena, Siena

Exchanges with these institutions are characterised by:

  • flexible application procedures;
  • host institutions similar to the ENS by their recruitment procedures and their objectives of training for research through research;
  • the development of a consistent studies or research project;
  • stays supervised by a tutor and dedicated to research;
  • exceptional reception conditions.


ELAN Programme (European Liberal Arts Network)

The European Liberal Arts Network (ELAN) is coordinated by the University of Bristol. 11 European institutions take part to this network, which aims at creating a multidisciplinary and innovative dynamic in humanities.

Students enrolled in these institutions can take courses in one or some of these universities, whether within the scope of a liberal arts career or of multidisciplinary individual paths.

For more information:


Work placements and international volunteering

French Ministry of Foreign Affairs work placements

An agreement signed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the ENS allows the normaliens to apply for a work placement:

  • in central administrations
  • in diplomatic and consular posts
  • in French cultural establishments abroad (Instituts français, Centre culturels français, Alliances françaises)
  • the network of the Instituts français is managed by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and welcomes Ph.D students and students enrolled in their 2nd year of master, for their research projects in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.


International Volunteering

ENS students, like all students, may choose to go abroad as an International Volunteer, for a longer stay and at a slightly older age, with the possibility to choose among various destinations.

For more information: 

Mis à jour le 5/5/2017