Are you planning on studying abroad and have chosen Paris as your destination? Here’s what you should prepare before embarking in this journey:
- Student Visa
Will you need one, what documents do you need to provide, when can you start your application? It is always a good idea to check the French Embassy website in your country for the latest requirements and guidelines as well as to prepare all the required documents as stated on the Embassy’s website. Some of them, like transcripts or a passport renewal can take some time to collect. Keep in mind, that that the requirements for a student visa for France can vary depending on your country of origin, the duration of your studies or the school you’re enrolled in.
- Learn French
French is the official language of France, so knowing at least some basic French will make it easier to navigate your way around the city, buy groceries or find a part-time job. Although most locals in Paris speak some level of English, learning French can also help you fully immerse yourself in the culture and feel more connected to the community.
Make sure you have a clear budget and plan for your living expenses in Paris, including rent, food, other daily necessities such as academic materials or stationery. Here is a great website with lots of info on the cost of living in Paris.
It is possible to work part-time if you need a source of income to help cover your expenses. In France, the legal maximum work duration for students is 20 hours per week during the school year. It is worth noting, that France has a relatively high minimum wage, known as “le SMIC” (Salaire Minimum Interprofessionnel de Croissance), which is currently around €8.92 per hour after tax as of January 2023, which is among the highest in Europe.
It’s important to start looking for housing as early as possible, as it can be competitive and prices may vary depending on the location and type of housing you desire.
- Student housing: Many universities and schools in Paris have student housing options available. You can check with your school to see if they have any available housing or can provide assistance with finding accommodation.
- Homestay: Another option is to stay with a homestay family. This is a great way to immerse yourself in the French culture and improve your language skills.
- Apartment rental: You can also consider renting an apartment or studio in Paris. There are many websites and agencies that can help you find an apartment, such as Seloger, Housing Anywhere or Nestpick.
- Shared housing: Sharing an apartment with other students is another affordable option. Websites like Uniplaces and Appartager can help you find shared accommodation opportunities.
- Cell Phone Plan
Get a SIM card or cell phone plan, as this will allow you to stay connected while in Paris and make it easier to make phone calls, send text messages, and access the internet.
- Health Insurance
You will need to have health insurance to study in France. You may be able to enroll in the French national healthcare system, or you can look into private insurance options. This is something you mustn’t take lightly, as treatment costs can add up quickly if you aren’t covered and something unfortunate like an accident happens.
It is important to note, that your school or university may also have their own recommendable or required insurance plans that their international students must have. It is always a good idea to check with the school or program before purchasing a health insurance plan.
- Public Transportation System
Paris has an extensive public transportation system that includes the metro, buses, and trains. Familiarize yourself with the system and check the commuting time from your home to your school on the RATP’s website. Consider getting a “passe Navigo”, which allows you unlimited travel on all public transportation in Paris and its suburbs.
- Bank Account
Open a bank account, as it will make it easier for you to manage your money and pay bills while in Paris. You can use the services of an online bank like Wise to transfer money from your home country to your French bank account, all taking advantage of competitive transfer and exchange fees.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t be! It’s all part of this new life you’re so excited about and you’re definitely not alone in this. As a fashion school welcoming many international students every year, IFA Paris offers a concierge service that will assist you in the visa application process, the opening of your French bank account, getting your SIM card or finding a proper accommodation. Good luck in studying abroad in Paris and embarking on this unforgettable journey!
To connect with the IFA Paris Admissions Department and inquire about studying fashion or about the school, fill in this online form. You can also browse through our website to find more infos.
See you in Paris!