Overseas Archives: back to university in France, overseas students put to the test of distance

Overseas students are very numerous every year to come, after their baccalaureate, to study in France. A sometimes complex adaptation. The Overseas Archives invite you to meet them.

They are Guadeloupeans, Caledonians, Guyanese, Mahorais or Reunionese and come to follow their higher education in France. Far from their families and faced with the difficulty of finding accommodation, obtaining a scholarship or even finding a student job. For these young Ultramarines, the course is sometimes strewn with pitfalls. The obstacles are material and psychological.

Overseas students in France: a few figures

According to the figures communicated in 2021 by the interministerial delegate for equal opportunities for French overseas residents and the visibility of overseas residents, each year, 8,000 students come to France, directly after the ferry. 40% of overseas students complete all or part of their course in France, which represents overall around 40,000 young people. These students mostly reside in Paris, Lyon, Montpellier, Strasbourg, Rennes, Strasbourg, Lille and Nantes.

An often inevitable departure

In some territories, departure is almost compulsory for the thousands of overseas high school graduates who wish to pursue higher education. In question, the lack of training offered at the local level. By way of comparison, 827 masters are offered in Ile-de-France, against 35 in Reunion, 28 in Guadeloupe, 9 in Guyana, 9 in French Polynesia, 8 in New Caledonia. The offer is therefore very limited for these young people who wish to continue in higher education.

In New Caledonia, meeting with these students who have already taken the plunge, leaving the rock to do their first year of medicine in France. Back on their native island, they share their experience away from the rock: a moment of sharing with young graduates who themselves join this course, and will live the same adventure this year.

Watch the report broadcast in the RFO Nouvelle-Calédonie newspaper on July 31, 2007 and produced by Marie-Claude Lacombe:


Looking for accommodation when you are a student is often an ordeal, with its share of uncertainties and sometimes disappointments. There are initiatives to help them, such as the establishment of a structure for Reunionese students to help them settle in metropolitan France.

Watch the report broadcast in the evening news of RFO Paris on October 15, 2007:


Registration, search for accommodation, allocation of a grant, all students are confronted with these procedures. However, when you arrive from overseas, there is also the adaptation to a completely new environment, uprooting and sometimes loneliness.

Watch the report broadcast on the Mascarines program on November 24, 1991 and directed by Pascal Vasselin:


In this new school year 2022, Outre-mer la 1ère offers you a new digital fiction, Ultra Far. The story of a flatshare that shelters young Ultramarines living far from home in the Paris region. The humor is very present, but over the course of the eight episodes many situations experienced by overseas students in France are addressed. To watch the eight episodes of Ultra Loin, it’s here!

Overseas Archives: back to university in France, overseas students put to the test of distance – Outre-mer la 1ère