I am sorry I have been neglecting you all but with only one month to go until the end of classes, a looming Masters project deadline and my thesis haunting my dreams I have been a little busy of late. There have been a lot of reflections posted here lately so I have decided to jump on the bandwagon and share my list of useful things to know before you arrive in France.
In no particular order, they are:
1. Bring an ORIGINAL copy of your birth certificate with an apostillé and a NAATI accredited translation (these guys can help) with you. Please note that many French authorities will only accept a translation that is less than three months old so try to get your translation as close to your departure date as possible. You will be surprised at the number of agencies and institutions that want to see a copy of your birth certificate.
2. Organise someone to have Power of Attorney on your behalf if you’ll be away for a while. Less than four weeks after I left, I received a letter summoning me for jury duty which, thanks to the Power of Attorney arrangement, my mother was able to handle on my behalf.
3. Learn as much French as you possibly can before you arrive. I cannot emphasise this enough. Officially, EDHEC has no French language requirement and because classes are in English your classmates are pretty fluent. There are also weekly French lessons (two hours every Wednesday) for international students but essentially, the more French you can speak the more you will get out of the experience.
4. Apply for the housing assistance (CAF) as soon as you can. Unlike Centrelink, even international students in France can be eligible for assistance (depending on their individual circumstances, of course). The International Office at EDHEC has a very helpful guide. It takes quite a bit of paperwork but if you make it through the French bureaucratic maze it’s definitely worth it.
5. When you introduce yourself, make sure you casually mention that you are Australian (Je suis australien/ne, for those who took note of point 3 earlier). There are not many Australians in the North – I am the only one at EDHEC – and this is a fantastic icebreaker as many French students have either travelled to Australia, have friends in Australia or have always wanted to go to Australia.
6. I know they’re delicious and ridiculously cheap compared to Brisbane prices, but you cannot live on macarons and tartes alone.
If you have any questions, as always, don’t hesitate to contact me through the comments 🙂
And in the meantime, I wish you all Joyeuses Pâques!