After studying in various countries, i found out that if some  prepare you well for your year there, others let you do most of the work yourself.  In France, we are not very helpful with our exchange students, sad fact … Campus France already tries to discourage people from coming (and trust me, they do all they can) but once you have passed them, don’t think this is over 😉 So if you have survived that, here are some useful tips to help you settle in France.
Before you arrive : In addition to the obvious identity papers, don’t forget to bring with you a birth certificate, you will need it later.

Campagne de Sampigny, France

  • Finding an appartment : The university should offer you student lodging at The CROUS residencies for a low rate. However if you feel like looking by yourself, there are much better solutions available for the same price. The CROUS offers you a small room with a bathroom ( no toilet seat in ours) and a shared kitchen ( no microwave, no oven, a small fridge in each room, no freezer). This kitchen is shared with the whole floor and is often dirty because the others don’t bother cleaning after themselves ; in some residencies, it also has opening hours which mean you can’t cook late at night. So if you are willing to do some digging,  try to avoid those.

Cathédrale de Reims, France

  • Insurance : The university should affiliate you to the LMDE  (the student insurance) for the length of your stay. Don’t believe that because you have paid, you are all set : you will need to provide the LMDE with a whole lot of documents before you can actually get the card (and be reimbursed in case of problem). Without that card, you are still insured but have to pay for everything and will be reimbursed later by the insurance (hope  you are not in a hurry 😉

Rambouillet, France

To get the card, you need to bring to the LMDE the following documents:
– a copy of your birth certificate ( told you you should bring it!)
– a copy of your school certificate ( certificat de scolarité)
– a proof you paid for the insurance (attestation de paiement)
– a RIB ( a paper with your bank and account number that you get from your bank so you can be reimbursed)

Port de st Malo, France

Don’t forget to put your name on your mailbox  so you don’t fail treceive your documents !
  • Opening a bank account: in the paragraph before, we talked about this paper you need from your bank to be reimbursed. It has to be from a french bank because the insurance doesn’t transfer money to international bank accounts . For that too, you will need a birth certificate 😉

Grenoble, France

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