Once in France

Once in France

Upon arriving, you will of course have to go through a number of administrative procedures, plus adapt to your new environment and to the French educational system.

A number of guidance structures are there to help you. Housing will, once again, be one of your main concerns, as well immersion in the French language. And you will test the budget you planned, on the filed. You might find you need to get a student job to supplement your income.

What procedures need to be completed upon arriving

Upon arriving, find out whether your establishment holds orientation events prior to the start of the year, or "welcome mentoring sessions" designed to help you get used to your new environment. Refresher courses may also be offered, for instance, in mathematics. Student Welcome Organisations The National Centre for University and School Funds (CNOUS) manages both the scholarships offered by the French government to international students, and the scholarships granted by foreign governments. Present locally across the entire country, it is designed to welcome international students and foster mobility in Europe. It facilitates working and living conditions for students by providing food services, housing, scholarships and social assistance, cultural services, employment services and temporary jobs, etc. A number of CROUS have set up "one-stop offices" so that international students can complete their administrative procedures more easily. In conjunction with the prefectures, they will take you through the residency permit application process, provide information about mutual insurance, or inform you about housing. The list of all the CROUS offices can be viewed at the CNOUS Web site: www.cnous.fr, Academy and Administrative Registration, you will be officially enrolled once you have completed the administrative and academic registration process.


Administrative registration, which can take place on-site or by mail, involves paying tuition fees and receiving your student ID card. The latter is valid throughout the school year, from 1 October to 30 September of the following year. At academic registration, you will choose your electives, discussion sub-groups and hands-on group. This will determine your schedule. Residency Permit If you intend to study in France for more than three months, you will need to apply for a residency permit, unless you are a European Union citizen. The permit is valid for at most one year and may be renewed. The process is to be undertaken with the prefecture of your place of residency. A EUR 55 tax is due.


Administrative Procedures for Working in France One out of every two students works. Like them, you may need to work to make ends meet, whether in babysitting, language courses, telemarketing, newspaper distribution, sales or another area - the opportunities for students are plenty. With a few conditions. International students have the right to work while studying in France as long as they are enrolled in an institution that participates in the national student health-care plan. Students who are not nationals of EU member countries must also hold a valid residency permit. The right to work applies to all students,inlcuding those who are in France for the first time, those who are enrolled in the first year of a university program, and those who are enrolled full-time in a language school. The law allows students to work 964 hours in a given year, which corresponds to 60% of full-time employment for the year. Tip: A Residency Permit for "Scientists" You may be issued a "scientist" residency permit if you entered France on a long-term visa to carry out research or teach at the university level.

How to find housing or a student job

Housing can be a real headache for all students, whether French or international. This is true above all in Paris, and less so in the provinces. However, housing in the major university towns is taken by storm, all at the same time. The best response is thus to get a head start. CROUS Housing The CNOUS (www.cnous.fr ) manages the halls of residence on university campuses via CROUS offices (Centres Régionaux des Oeuvres Universitaires et Scolaires, or French Regional Centres for University and School Affairs). Monthly rent for a furnished room (10 m2 on average) is EUR 200. Studios cost is EUR 400 on average, expenses included. CROUS housing is allocated on the basis of social criteria, with scholarship holders given priority, in particular those of the French government. If you have been awarded a grant from the French government, the CNOUS will be responsible for your application and will make your move easier: finding accommodation in halls of residence, enrolling at university, administrative formalities, etc. If you have not been awarded a grant, the CROUS can only allocate a place in a hall of residence to a student without grant if there is a place available. CROUS accommodation is allocated as a priority to low-income students. Applications for accommodation must be made between 15th January and 30th April for the following academic year. A Dossier Social Étudiant (DSE, or application for grants and accommodation) must be completed on the CROUS website. The website you need to visit depends on the city you have chosen to study in. Without a scholarship, your chances are almost non-existent ...


Paris' Cité Universitaire Campus is open only to students at the graduate level, based more on academic merit than on need. The Residences representing a country admit students, researchers and artists of their nationality. The CIUP's Web site offers a pre-registration form on line. The registration period lasts from 1 April to 30 September for the school year beginning the following 1 October (www.ciup.fr).


Web Sites Dedicated to Housing www.lokaviz.fr: If you choose to rent from a private landlord, CROUS offices will offer you this "city housing" service, acting as middleman between landlords and students. This free service can be very helpful, making it possible for students to avoid real estate agency fees.


www.adele.org: On its Web site, Adele (Association for the Economic Development of Student Housing) offers a list of campuses or student dormitories across France, along with on-line reservations. Housing Subsidies Available to International Students Students renting housing can receive grants from CAF (Family Subsidy Fund) intended to cover part of their rent. International students may benefit from such subsidies, like any other students.


For more information: www.caf.fr, with the application form to be filled out online. The ALS (solidarity housing subsidy) is the grant most frequently provided to students. Where the housing in question is not covered by an official agreement - room in hostel or campus, studio, apartment, or home. The APL (personalised housing grant) is paid directly by the CAF to the landlord; the tenant thus pays only the remainder. Tip: Housing Via One's School If you enter a grande école, you may be able to find housing via your school. Make your request directly with the school.


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