Work placements abroad can be completed over a period of 2 to 3 months at the end of the 1st or 2nd years or as an end-of-studies placement (5 months). They may or may not be connected to a mobility period during the 3rd academic year. Another option is to complete a 9-12 month placement abroad during a gap year taken between the 2nd and 3rd years of the course.
Students benefit from the existing networks of former students working abroad and the partnerships between the school and research laboratories.
Financial assistance towards overseas studies
Enssat engineering-students may be eligible to receive grants contributing towards costs relating to studying abroad within an academic context. These grants are designed to assist students with additional expenses they incur whilst studying abroad. They are not to be used as a means of substituting normal subsistence costs.
In order to simplify the administrative formalities for our engineering students, a single application for assistance towards overseas costs is submitted to the International Relations secretarial team. The relevant information is then forwarded on to the Rennes 1 University International Projects Service. Depending on an individual's circumstances, different types of non-cumulative grants may be offered:
- Erasmus grants
- Ministry of Higher Education and Research grants
- Brittany Regional Council Ulysse grants
- Rennes 1 Foundation grants
The minimum eligibility duration of the work placement for all of these grants is 3 months with the exception of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research grant (minimum duration of 2 months).
Arnaud Peigné, ENSSAT engineering graduate (photonics speciality)
After spending two years completing my preparatory foundation degree, I began studying at ENSSAT specialising in photonics. The end of my 1st year at ENSSAT gave me my first opportunity to go abroad, in Ireland. I was extremely eager to gain first-hand experience of the research world, see how it works. This placement was the first of my course and it had a dual objective: meet the requirement to complete a work placement overseas and retain the opportunity to proceed with two additional « long term » industry placements (during the 2nd and 3rd years of the course). Why Ireland? Primarily because this English-speaking destination is very practical for a short-term placement and its laboratories are extremely active in photonics, my specialist field.
With regards to the method used to find my placement, I began by making a list of all research laboratories potentially likely to recruit a student from overseas. I later received a positive response from the Tyndall institute, a laboratory in Cork. This institute is a research laboratory specialising in photonics and microelectronics both of which are fields of expertise that fit perfectly with my studies at ENSSAT. I would strongly advise others to make a start with the search formalities as early as January and to spend time looking into the various existing connections that already are in place between ENSSAT teacher/researchers and counterparts in other institutions elsewhere. Doing this is hugely beneficial within the search process. This was the reason my application was successful: the FOTON laboratory had previously collaborated with the Tyndall institute.
The theme of my placement was focused on simulating the behavior patterns of semi-conductive lasers*. The experience was greatly enhanced by discovering laboratories and attending conferences. My work led me to write this brief note for students considering the possibility of doing a work placement in a specialised field of their choice. I encourage all those who remain unsure about the prospect of going abroad to experience life in a foreign country to go ahead. It will certainly prove to be a worthwhile. Immersing oneself in a different culture within the surroundings of a laboratory with different line management practices enables us to develop, in my opinion, a more « all-encompassing » global perspective.
* Study of the optical injection locking of semi-conductive lasers.