International student life comes with challenges and the master thesis is definitely one of the top 3. Many thanks Hindol & Duy, for these great summaries about internship possibilities in Nice! Make sure you check Duy’s oppinion as well!
There are two approaches that depend on your preference and the country you study in. The most common way is to find a thesis advisor at your university. However, if you don’t aim for an academical career, you might prefer to do your thesis in a company, as an internship.
Contributor: Hindol [India] & Duy [Vietnam]
By far the most challenging aspect of MathMods is to find a suitable internship or a Master’s thesis project for the final semester. Judging by experience, you’re bound to spend at least half the time you spend in Nice looking for a place to work in the next semester.
Although, the program coordinator in Nice gives you a certain amount of flexibility in choosing your internship/thesis topic, which could be advantageous. Most importantly, you have two options in front of you: Either a professional internship in a bank, a company or a private lab, or a research internship (leading to a master’s thesis) in a university or a research school. Let me describe the two options separately.
Master thesis with/without internship
It’s relatively easy to get a master’s thesis for your final semester. You have the flexibility of working in any discipline as long as it falls into the category of mathematical, statistical or computational modelling. You can also choose to work anywhere within the European Union. Though you definitely have more opportunities in Germany and France.
One good thing about doing an internship in France is that you’re legally bound to have a monthly salary. Usually you get around 480-500 € p.m if you work in a university, which is pretty helpful for self-funded students. Also, there’s no language barrier in doing a master’s thesis as English is the working language in most research schools.
The best place to work for a research internship in Nice is the INRIA Sophia, which has a comprehensive internship program. Otherwise you can opt for INRA or the UPMC in Paris which advertise internship projects in their websites. The best places to look for a master’s thesis in Germany are the Max Planck Institutes, though the internships are not guaranteed to be paid. My advice: Get your professors in Nice to recommend you, and start applying early (mid November).
Professional internships possibilities in Nice
It’s much more complicated to obtain a professional internship for your final semester. The first hurdle that you’ll face is the language. Most local banks and companies conduct their activities in their regional (national) language, based on their domestic client base. So if you’re non-EU student and you don’t speak at least one european language fluently, I’m afraid it’s gonna be quite hard for you to get into a place easily.
The upside is, if you do have at least basic communicational standards, then these internships (at least in France and Germany) are highly paid (can go up to 1,300 € p.m). So one should really focus on learning at least one european language efficiently and to the best of one’s abilities.
Although one should not forget that in the end, one’s application will be judged in the same pool as that of native speakers. Plus the application process is harder than that of a research internship; usually consists of a written/online exam followed by 3-4 rounds of interviews. Even then, several of our classmates were able to obtain lucrative internships, so it’s not impossible.