There are always "hidden" expenses involved in traveling. Knowing about them ahead of time is an important way to prepare for your trip and avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Your programs fees will cover tuition, room, board, airport transfers, program related activities and any local travel involved in these activities.
These fees do not include round-trip airfare, course textbooks, or any of the costs we have detailed below:
Passport: There are costs involved with getting a new passport or renewing your old one. In addition to offficial passport photos (approx $10) a new passport costs $160 and a passport renewal costs $130. If you wait until the last minute, the expedited, or ‘rush’ fees are even more expensive!
Visa: For non-US citizens who need to have a visa to visit France, VFS Global, the company that processes visas for France charges a $35 service fee as well as a $95 visa application fee.
Cell phone: You will be required to have a working cell phone while you are in France so that we can reach you in case of emergency. Here are two options to consider:
Your American service provider might have an international plan. This usually is a set fee per day for the duration of your trip. (See example: Verizon’s Interntional Plan)
Once you are in France, you can buy a French SIM card which will provide you with a French phone number and allow you to have phone/text and data without a contract. It is easy to purchase a SIM card as well as credit when and if you need it. The SIM card and initial credit is about $20. For this option, your cell phone must be unlocked.
Travel/Luggage costs: Most transatlantic flight tickets include one checked bag in the price (usually up to 50 pounds). Be aware that recently, some published flight prices are ‘flight-only' with an additional cost for a checked bag.
Medical Costs: If you take regular medications, you will want to purchase a supply sufficient for your time away. You may need to set up a medical visit with your health care provider/s before you leave. If you need to see a doctor while you are in France, you will have to pay out of pocket for the visit (usually about $35/visit) and any medication you might be prescribed, then submit paperwork to your insurance for any eligible reimbursements.
Bank Fees: When you withdraw money from a French ATM, your bank may charge you for using an “out of network” ATM (just like here in the US). They may also charge an international transaction fee. It is very important to check with your bank ahead of time so that you are aware of their fee structure for withdrawing money. You will also want to check with them to see if they have any European banking partners who might allow you to withdraw money without fees.
Credit card fees: Just like the bank, your credit card company may charge you an additional international transaction fee when you make a purchase in France. This is usually a small percentage of your purchase cost.
Discretionary spending: You will want to have some discretionary spending money while you are in France. It will be helpful to know the exchange rates between the dollar and the euro (https://www.oanda.com/currency/converter/). Note that this rate can fluctuate significantly in a short period of time.