Helpful Information

IAU has created an Aix-en-Provence Guide to help students prepare for their studies in France.  Please take time to read through it before departure.

The following is information you may find helpful when preparing for study abroad. 

Health Insurance
Cell Phones
Computers and Internet
Smart Traveler Enrollment Program
French Homestay
Weather
Mail
Packing Tips

Additionally, we find these Living in Provence and Study Hard Travel Smart websites very beneficial to review.

Health Insurance

Regardless of the coverage students may carry through a personal, family, or school policy, students are required to subscribe to the insurance coverage provided by IAU. The cost of the insurance coverage is included in the program fee. For semester students applying for a long stay student visa, your proof of insurance stating that you are covered for your semester in France will be sent to you by e-mail. Important: You will need this document when applying for your student visa.

The insurance carrier IAU uses is ACE American Insurance Company with arrangements being made by CMI Insurance, a FrontierMEDEX Company. You will be subscribed to this insurance coverage and the cost of the coverage is included in the program fee. With this insurance, all medical-related expenses are paid out-of-pocket, and are reimbursed at a later date. With CMI Insurance, students receive medical, accidental death and dismemberment, repatriation and liability coverage. If students do not have personal liability insurance, they are required to purchase it upon arrival in France at a cost of approximately 30 Euros.

For travelers insurance, as well as student discounts on airfare, hotels, museums and more, we strongly recommend purchasing the International Student Identity Card (ISIC).  The ISIC costs $22 and can be obtained through their web page, www.myisic.com.

Cell Phones

Please refer to IAU's Cell Phone Table for additional cell phone information. 

Computers and Internet

It is very useful and convenient to bring a laptop to France. IAU College has wireless environments available Monday through Friday. In addition, you will have access to computers and a printer in Manning Hall. If you need to use the Internet later in the evening or on weekends, there are Internet cafes located in Aix. Please be aware that some hosts do not have an Internet connection and even if they do, it may not be wireless.

Smart Traveler Enrollment Program through U.S. State Department

We highly recommend that all students enroll in the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)before they leave for France. By enrolling in this system, the U.S. Embassy is able to keep you updated with important safety and security announcements. It will also help your friends and family get in touch with you in an emergency.

French Homestay

Homestay assignments will be sent to you via email two weeks before departure. You can learn more about IAU homestays online

Students participating in the Early Start Program will be housed with their assigned French host for both the Early Start Program and the following semester.

Some students take a small gift for their host family. If your home city or state is famous for a certain product or craft, it would be nice for you to bring a sample for your host. They do not expect any gifts from you but would certainly enjoy a small souvenir with which to remember you by.

Weather

Review these websites to see what the average temperatures are for your term abroad:
     - Aix-en-Provence, France
     - Barcelona, Spain

Mail

Mail for students should be sent by regular airmail to:

IAU College
8, rue de Littéra
BP 30970
13604 Aix-en-Provence CEDEX 1
France

In general all packages sent from the US are subject to duty charges. These charges may be avoided if the sender clearly marks packages "Articles usagés pour étudiants." The package should also be declared as a gift on the small green customs sticker.

In either case, the value of a package's contents should be declared as $25 or less if you do not wish to pay customs.

Packing Tips

Some people are comfortable dressing consistently in their typical American campus clothing, and being immediately identifiable against a French backdrop. However, students may ultimately be more comfortable with a touch more daily style or elegance added to your wardrobe. Female students have remarked that in addition to the suggested wardrobe, they wish they had brought more "good" clothes. Because this is open to wide interpretation, it may be helpful simply to keep in mind that your clothes should be responsive to the same contingencies encountered by a student in a city such as Chicago or New York. In the early 21st century, the French of all ages tend to present themselves conservatively and with a certain chic. Black is always fashionable.

Be sure to check out the Aix-en-Provence weather before you pack!

Items to include:

  • Warm coat/jacket
  • Light-weight, water-proof shell for layering or rainy days
  • Gloves, scarf (both for warmth and completing wardrobe for women)
  • Jeans/trousers (3)
  • Sweaters (4)
  • Shirts (6)
  • Skirts
  • Light weight dresses
  • Set of dress clothes
  • Stockings
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear/socks (7)
  • Shorts
  • Bathing suit
  • Comfortable walking shoes (sneakers)
  • Warm sleepwear and slippers
  • 1 medium sized or beach towel
  • Wash cloth
  • Travel alarm clock
  • Watch
  • Extra pair glasses/contacts (extra solution)
  • Toothbrush
  • Sewing kit
  • Umbrella
  • Super-light sleeping bag (optional)
  • MP3 player/Digital camera/chargers
  • Emergency kit (any daily medication, aspirin, air sickness tablets, etc.)
  • Passport/Visa
  • Airline ticket
  • Electronics adapter/converter (we find this one works well!)

Keep baggage to a minimum. You should be able to carry it easily by yourself. Large, heavy suitcases are awkward and cumbersome. Reasonably sized duffel bags and backpacks fitted with padlocks are recommended. A backpack is the most comfortable way to go once abroad.

Many students follow the advice of seasoned travelers to lay out the very least you must have to get by for the semester or year, then remove half of it and possibly half again and pack what's left. Airline restrictions on baggage must also be considered, and are written on the inside of your ticket. One checked bag and one carry-on are the norm. Don't forget to label each piece of luggage with your name, home address, forwarding address, and telephone number. Stick labels outside and inside each piece of luggage. All baggage should be checked through to your final destination.