What should be in my work contract for being an au pair in France?

If you're going to be working as an au pair in France, you want to make sure that you have a very clear contract before you leave, to outline the position and your own responsibilities upon starting work in your host family's home. The work contract protects both you and the host family by identifying [...]

Do Language Assistants Have to Pay Student Social Security?

A question I get a lot from students coming to France is whether or not you REALLY have to pay social security twice. If you're coming to France both as a student in a master's program AND a language assistant (TAPIF), it doesn't really make sense that you have to pay for coverage both as [...]

7 Red Flags that Your Au Pair Job Won’t Go Well

Working as an au pair in France has lots of advantages, but it also comes with the challenge of choosing the right host family and negotiating a fair work contract. In order to get a visa to come to France, you're going to have to establish a set of working hours and identify the services [...]

How do I find a Test Center for the TCF, DELF, or DALF?

If you want to study independently in a French university, you’ll need to provide proof that your level of French is sufficient for being able to succeed as a student. For most universities, this means providing proof that you have at least a B2 level of French on the European Common Language Frameworks, a standardized [...]

Warning: Don’t Sign a Lease Without Getting These 7 Things From Your Landlord

When you move into an apartment in Paris, you want to be sure that you’re avoiding scams and renting from someone trustworthy. You also want to be fully informed of all of the costs of your future apartment, so you don’t end up paying more than you expect or end up ineligible for CAF due [...]

Can I get health coverage in France if I’m a student over 28?

If you’re a student in France, you normally get health coverage by signing up for a student mutuelle, like SMEREP or LMDE when you enroll in university. The cost of €211 must be paid by all students who aren’t covered under their parents’ insurance, and those who do not have a valid work contract that [...]

What is a mutelle or a complémentaire santé in French healthcare?

Social Security only reimburses a percent of medical costs in most cases, and the reimbursement rates are relatively low for some types of care. Doctors' visits, for example, are reimbursed at 70% of the "tarif conventionné", or of €23, and certain prescription medications are reimbursed at anywhere from 15-65% of the price set by the [...]

6 Tips for Receiving Gifts in France (Without Paying Customs Fees)

Around the holidays, I always see lots of posts in various Facebook groups for expats. “Help! My parents sent me Christmas presents and FedEx wants me to pay €100 in taxes on the package!” Unfortunately, the French border control has begun cracking down on imports of goods from outside the European Union, and not everyone [...]

Can I rent a studio apartment for less than €800 in Paris?

If you want to come to France as a student, you probably have a relatively low budget for housing. And Paris, unfortunately, is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Of course you want a place that’s livable. Not too small, preferably in a nice neighborhood, and clean. Even better if it’s close [...]

Stay in France After Finishing Your Degree with an Authorisation Provisoire du Séjour

If you’re working on a master’s degree in France and would like the opportunity to stay in France and work upon obtaining your diploma, you can be eligible to apply for an “Authorisation Provisoire de Séjour” to enable you to search for a job once your program ends. The Authorisation Provisoire de Séjour, or APS, [...]

    • Allison Lounes is a graduate of Columbia University (B.A., French and Romance Philology, 2009) and the Middlebury College French School (M.A., French, 2009). After studying abroad with Columbia University Programs in Paris during the 2007-2008 academic year, she returned to France in September 2009 to complete a Master 2 degree in Comparative Literature at the Université de Paris VII - Denis Diderot, where she studied Algerian libertine folktales.
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