Tag Archives: paris study abroad problem


Can you work in France to help fund your study abroad?

(Featured photo- an aspect of French work life by expatica.com; detective photos by: arborinvestmentplanner.com)

Can foreign students work in France during their study abroad? I have always been under the impression that students who are not part of the European Union do not have the right to work in France. However, a few weeks ago an interaction with @Ici & LA Provence on Twitter enlightened me that I am mistaken as she worked in France during her study abroad. So I did a little sleuthing to uncover the truth about foreign students having the right to work in France during a study abroad.

Here’s what I discovered:


Clue #1- le ministère de l’intérieur http://www.interieur.gouv.fr

Le ministère de l’intérieur is regarded as one of the most important French cabinets (wikipedia). This cabinet is mainly concerned with the general interior security of France and also handles many immigrant related procedures.

This website advised that students who do not hold a master’s degree must change their status from student to worker at their local police station in Paris unless working part-time and the work contract is less than 1 year. What isn’t too clear to me is this part- Vous devez vous adresser à la préfecture ou à la sous-préfecture de votre domicile et, à Paris, à la préfecture de police. It says that you must go before the prefect of your home and the police station in Paris. If you’re a foreign student, your home is usually your host country and the USA doesn’t have a prefect that does functions like this. So what does this mean exactly?



Clue #2- The French Embassy of Washington D.C. http://ambafrance-us.org/spip.php?article362

Their website states that “International students wishing to work in France must obtain prior authorization from the French Ministry of Labor. Temporary work permits are usually given to students who do not have sufficient private resources to pursue their studies. The permit is valid three months and may be renewed upon presentation of evidence of continuing studies.”

This was clearer to me but had me wondering about the student who has sufficient private funds and wants to work in France- will this foreign student be denied a temporary work visa because they’re better off financially? Or is it that a temporary work visa is not needed for students who have sufficient funds? Is a work visa needed at all for students and if so, do you get that in the USA or in France?



Clue #3- Le ministère du travail, de l’emploi, et du dialogue social  http://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/

I couldn’t locate anything on foreign students working in France but I did find this neat tidbit. Essentially it is a privilege to work in France as a foreigner; not a right, especially if the French unemployment rate is particularly high at the time you are looking for work .


Clue #4- le site official de l’administration française; vosdroits.service-public.fr/particuliers/F2713.xhtml

This was the most helpful site. It clearly states that foreign students can work in France without a work visa as long as it is part-time or 60% (or 964 hours for a year) of full time hours. It also states that your employer must inform the local préfecture of your employment. However, there are 3 situations when you would need to have authorization of your right to work in France:

1) you are going to be working longer than the allowed time of your academic program;

2) if you hold a long stay student visa;

3) If you are Algerian.


Case solved!

It appears as a foreign student you are allowed to legally work in France! Here’s what you need to do if you want to work abroad:


This request for your employment as a foreigner with the local préfecture de police from your employer will require the following information:

  • The nature of the job (job position and duty)
  • The length of your work contract
  • The number of hours you’ll work per year
  • Your expected start date
  • A copy of your visa de long séjour


We might have solved the mystery of foreign students being able to work abroad but stay tuned for the next part of the case- do all French labor laws apply to foreign students and what is it like to work for a French company?


Additional links for this article

Are you interested in teaching? Check out this opportunity to teach French abroad http://highereducation.frenchculture.org/teach-in-france

http://www.smeno.com/etudiants/1434_travailler-en-france.html another great link to check out


Finishing your study abroad preparations this summer to go to Paris this fall? Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Twenty in Paris: A Young American Perspective of Studying Abroad in Paris as your ultimate guide to answer your questions on getting a French visa, what to expect of taking classes at a French university and how to immerse into French culture and language- on sale now. Hurry! These prices won’t last long (sale ends this Saturday 7/5/14)


The Most Important Study Abroad Articles of Our Time

(photo by: www.primary-intel.com)

Here at Twenty in Paris, I believe in quality over quantity. If I can’t give you a good, useful, fun and/or informative post about studying abroad, Paris or French culture/language- I’d rather let you know what I’m working on than put up something stinky. For today’s post, I’m giving you a sneak peek at the ultra secretive blog post idea document that I always keep handy to record ideas for future posts.

(Here’s the super secret blog post idea document) blogs

Study abroad dictionary – this isn’t actually a post idea but rather a project. I would love to team up with an artist with whom we would design and bring to life in a form of art (painting, drawing…) a particular aspect of the study abroad experience for each letter of the alphabet. Does this interest you? If so, send me an email at twentyinparis@gmail.com – I’d love to hear from you!

Make the most of it- Your 20s and the study abroad experience; What does it all mean?

Is studying abroad a girl thing? (need stats!)

Is English or French harder to learn as a 2nd language?

Food quality differences/relationship with food between France and USA

What I’ve Learned (and what you have to look forward to) 5 years out of college

What inspired me to study abroad (photo collage); ask others to share what is inspiring them

Dramatic Beauty is not very French

Be prepared to be Frenchified when returning home from study abroad

Is Eminem a student of Existentialism?

How to Frenchify your room in an authentic way

French existential anger is not very angry – why France was not the birthplace of punk or rock n’roll

Working in France


Do you like these “behind the scenes” style posts? Let me know by either rating it a “bon” in blue or giving it a stale baguette


Does Preparation Get Rid of the Challenges of Study Abroad Experience?

(photo by: www.linkedin.com)

A few weeks ago, I met a former study abroad student. I love connecting with study abroad students at all stages (past, present and future) but whenever I meet someone who completed their study abroad, I can’t help regaling about the experience. Although we had many differences in our experiences – hers was for 1 semester in London, mine was a year in Paris- we both acknowledged that there were so many aspects of the cultural immersion experience that we were not prepared for but could’ve been. During our walk down memory lane, my new study abroad buddy made the most interesting comment. She questioned that had we had been prepared for the challenges that come with moving and integrating into a foreign culture, would the payoff of emotional growth and change have been as great?

This comment really got me thinking. I am the queen of preparation is the key to study abroad success, however, she had a point. I couldn’t help but wonder if there is something about the element of surprise that helps you to learn and grow more than if you knew the challenge was coming? Or what if you could anticipate certain situations but not all of them? Would you still be able to experience the challenge (necessary for learning and growth) without tail spinning into frustration if you knew of the obstacles that lie ahead?

To answer these questions, I started thinking of situations or professions which require you to be prepared yet still throw you into surprise situations. ***Please note the following is based off of general knowledge and not 1st hand experience. Service men/women, trauma doctors at a hospital and astronauts came to mind. These are people who are trained to handle practically every foreseen circumstance so that when something happens, they are not panicking or frustrated but rather can start an appropriate plan of action to resolve the situation. Does this mean that astronauts, service men/women and trauma doctors are never challenged or surprised? No! It just means that they don’t react the way that someone who had no clue what to expect or what to do would act. These professions show that being prepared for a situation doesn’t make it less challenging; it just means that you handle it better. Which leads me back to my never-ending mantra of preparation is the key to study abroad success.

(preparation is part of the job for astronauts)

astronaut(photo by: en.wikipedia.org)

I acknowledge that my personal and linguistic growth came because I had so many difficulties in my time abroad. I still had an overall great time but hold firm that knowing what to expect of Parisian life and cultural immersion would have been beneficial to helping me acclimate quicker to life abroad. I am reminded constantly that preparation can help make realistic expectations of the study abroad experience each time I see the search term “I regret study abroad” on the Twenty in Paris dashboard. This former student was spot-on when she said that you cannot be prepared for everything- that’s true. Even if you read every study abroad book and blog, there will still be something culturally and linguistically new. This is because culture and language are truly living things in a constant in a state of evolution.

But there are core things that you can be prepared for; the constants of the immersion and study abroad experience which do not change. For example -the experience of being on your own; the experience of dealing with a bad day or difficult situation alone; stepping outside of your comfort zone; speaking a foreign language every day and on a variety of topics; a new school environment; core cultural customs and attitudes that are different from your own; accepting and embracing new things/ideas/ food; the idea that you are the foreigner and do things differently and not everyone around you. These are the things for which you’ll want to (and can be) prepared. It is these areas of the immersion process into a new life abroad which will still be challenging (in a good way) even with preparation. Being prepared for an experience doesn’t remove the challenges; it simply gives you the foundation to build realistic expectations and the means to handle it better than if you weren’t prepared at all.



Tips on making a study abroad budget & using credit cards overseas

(photo by: itthing.com)

Money is the main issue that worries students when it comes to studying abroad. Do you have enough? How do you make it last for 5 months or more when you don’t have a job? Can you travel and see everything while on a tight budget? I had the pleasure of teaming up with Dani Alderman at creditcardinsiders.com to bring you the money answers you seek for your up-coming study abroad experience.

What is a budget and why is it important?

A budget is a plan for how much money you’re going to spend during a certain time period- usually per month. Creating and maintaining a budget is the backbone of the study abroad experience; it will tell you what you can and cannot do. It will make sure that you don’t go broke from studying abroad (which I almost did) as well as help you to not miss out on opportunities. Not only will a budget help you during your time abroad, but it will help you in your life after college, too.

The basics of making a budget 

Andrea’s tips

Your study abroad budget doesn’t start the moment your plane lands; it starts at home. Before you leave, you need to know what your money situation is. This will help you to know how much you can spend each month (example: you have $3,000 in your account and you’ll be abroad for 1 semester or 5 months. Divide the amount of money you have by the number of months to get your total monthly spending budget or 3,000 / 5 = 600. This means that you can spend up to $600 a month before your account is at $0.00).

The most important aspect about making a budget is that you record every purchase. Tracking your budget on a spreadsheet or app is great but not necessary for study abroad. A simple recording in your phone’s notepad feature or in a notebook will do. The most important part is to look at it and don’t forget to record every purchase immediately. It’s also a good idea to record how much you plan to spend each week for different categories – for example: eating out 75€, museums 30€, etc…. This will help to keep you right on track with your spending. If you find yourself spending more on that morning latte each week and less on going to museums, you’ll know where to tweak your spending to reach your goals.


(here’s an example of budget recording on your phone. photo by Andrea)



(budget apps are great but not always necessary; if you like to use one- make sure to change to local currency. Photo by: lifehacker.com)


Dani’s tips

When making a budget for travel, it’s important to account for unforeseen circumstances. Maybe your bus to the airport is late and you have to pay for a cab. You might get sick and have to pay for medication. No matter the circumstances, it’s best to be prepared with extra money in your account. This way you can avoid overdraft fees, or worse, being stranded penniless in a foreign city.

Tip on currency

Knowing the exchange rate in the country which you are traveling is key! In many European countries, you will lose U.S. dollars when you convert your currency. For example, if 1 U.S. Dollar equals .73 Euros, you lose about 37 cents per U.S. dollar. This is because with the current exchange rate, 1 Euro equals 1.36986 USD.

Andrea’s note- Don’t forget to convert your monthly spending budget into the local currency. For example, if you’re studying abroad in Europe, that $600 monthly budget is really 440€. You’ll want to keep the 440€ in mind as you track your monthly purchases.

American credit cards that can be used overseas and travel credit cards with simple rewards that will help students to gain rewards

When choosing the right credit card for your travels abroad, it is important to consider the travel, security, rewards and theft solutions that will be most beneficial for you. If you are traveling to Europe, it might be useful to apply for a credit card with EMV technology. Most cards in the United States are chip-and-signature cards. These cards are more secure than the magnetic stripe cards we use every day. You should also consider credit cards with $0 fraud liability, 0% foreign transaction fees, and travel insurance and assistances. Most U.S. credit cards have foreign transaction fees from 2-3%! These fees can add up quickly so it’s best to choose a card with no foreign fees!

Here are the top three best travel credit cards for students:

Here are the top three best travel credit cards for all travelers:

If you plan to use one of your existing credit cards, make sure you let your card issuer know every country you will be visiting so they don’t freeze your account. Don’t forget photo identification at all times! Europeans take fraud and identity theft very seriously!
A third option is to get a prepaid chip-enabled card. You get the security of chip technology, but prepaid card are not usually linked to your personal information, it’s a win-win! Prepaid chip-enabled cards benefit college students studying abroad because they can’t spend more than the loaded amount on the card.

Studying abroad doesn’t have to break the bank. Being familiar with your finances, keeping a budget and having the right credit card can help you to maximize your time abroad. Want to find out more? Check out CreditCard Insider. Did you find this post useful? Let me know by giving it a “bon” in the blue box if you liked or a stale baguette if it wasn’t helpful.


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