Our advice for a once-in-a-lifetime studying experience in France.
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.
- 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?
- tips for safety from the Paris Police force
- Centre Régional des Oeuvres Universitaires et Sociales: the “Crous” is the first port of call for anything to do with student welfare, including accommodation and even student jobs
- Caisse d’Allocations Familiales: if you’re entitled to housing benefit, you’ll need to get in touch with the local “CAF”
- follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook – we publish all sorts of helpful tips for Brits in France
- the British Community Committee website has details of all sorts of English-speaking associations that may be of assistance (or that you might like to join!)
- the French Embassy in London also has a page of advice and more information for you
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.