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Be prepared for your year abroad, British Embassy asks students in France

Our advice for a once-in-a-lifetime studying experience in France.

Université-Montpellier 3, campus de la route de Mende. Credits: Camille Stromboni, Flickr Creative Commons
Université-Montpellier 3, campus de la route de Mende. Credits: Camille Stromboni, Flickr Creative Commons

France is a very popular destination for British students, whether for a year abroad or a whole course of studies. The vast majority will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience that they enjoy wholeheartedly. Consular staff are often approached by students, however, after running into problems here. While some of these cannot be foreseen, others can easily be averted by a bit of preparation.

To help students prepare for their time in France, we’ve spoken to students who have told us about their time abroad and about some of the challenges that they have faced.

ULIP students video

Our advice

  • finding accommodation can be difficult especially in Paris - don’t wait until the last minute, and visit the flat before you rent it
  • understand the French healthcare system: if you’re an exchange student, you’ll probably need a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Visit the EHIC website or apply at your local post office
  • other students may need to join the French healthcare system and apply for a Carte Vitale
  • neither the EHIC nor the Carte Vitale will cover the full costs of health cover: look at top-up insurance too
  • draw up a budget and stick to it - Euros can go faster than Pounds!
  • don’t forget your personal safety just because you’re having fun abroad - just like the UK, France has its share of street crime and worse.

Where can you find more?

If things go wrong

If you do run into trouble, we’ve got consulates in Paris, Marseille and Bordeaux that cover the whole of France. Call us on +33 144 513 100 (24hrs a day, 7 days a week). We’re always happy to help - but if you never need to speak to us, it will probably mean that you’re having a better time!

With thanks to the graduates and the University of London Institute in Paris.

Published 23 July 2015