To simplify student life and help you settle in to France, there are 2 teams at Groupe Sup de Co La Rochelle dedicated to international students. These teams look after more than 700 students of 82 different nationalities. The services they offer aim to facilitate both your academic and personal success as well as your personal development, throughout your studies in La Rochelle.
The International Admissions team offers personalised support, from your initial contact with the Group until your registration is finalised. Our multicultural team will not only help you with your admissions application, but provide valuable support to ensure your admissions tests go smoothly. In addition, the team will assist you with all your administrative procedures prior to your arrival in France such as:
- putting together your registration papers
- preparing you for the international admissions tests
- helping you with the visa application procedure
- looking for accommodation
The aim of the International Relations team is to help you settle in and assist you in your daily life. Our multilingual team is available at any time to support you and answer any questions you may have, once your registration is finalised, such as:
- how to obtain a residence permit
- how to register for social security
- how to apply for housing benefit
- how to open a bank account
Passport and Visa
We recommend that you have a health check-up at least four weeks before leaving your home country and advise you to bring proof of this medical examination with you to France. All international students are required to take out health insurance for the entire period of their studies in La Rochelle. Upon arrival, you must therefore provide proof that you have health insurance.
STUDENTS FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION
If you already have health insurance in your home country, you will need to contact your local health service and request a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). We advise you to do this no later than two weeks before your departure. This card gives you the right to access the French healthcare system (doctor’s appointments, medicine, hospital treatment etc.) on the same basis as French residents.
If you are under 28 years of age, upon your arrival in La Rochelle you will have to subscribe to Student Health Insurance (social security). You will then be given a Social Security number and be issued with a ‘Carte Vitale’, the French health card. You will need to provide this card whenever you go to the doctor’s, or if you go to the pharmacy with a prescription. This card allows you to be reimbursed for the majority of medical charges, on the same basis as French citizens.
Please note that for the 2017-2018 academic year, the cost of Student Health Insurance has been fixed at €217. If you are over 28 years of age, you are unable to subscribe to Student Health Insurance in France.
However, you have two options:
- You can take out insurance cover in your home country. Should you decide to do this, you will have to provide proof of health insurance (translated into French) e.g. an insurance policy or certificate confirming that all health costs in France will be covered.
- You can take out private health insurance in France. We often work with two companies: Prévoyance Étudiant and MMA Insurance in La Rochelle.
For more information on Prévoyance Étudiant, visit their website:www.peefrance.com
FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Through French Social Security, you will be reimbursed up to a maximum of 70% of the costs associated with a visit to the doctor’s, purchasing medicine or receiving hospital treatment. French citizens either choose to pay the difference themselves or take out a private medical insurance policy, known as a ‘mutuelle’. Please note that without a ‘mutuelle’ or an alternative private health insurance policy, you will have to pay the difference between the actual cost and the amount reimbursed by French Social Security. When you go to the doctor’s, you have to pay the doctor immediately. Social Security will then reimburse you a few days later. For example, a visit to the doctor’s costs €25, which you will have to pay. Following this, you will receive a €17.50 reimbursement from the French Social Security.
Other compulsory insurance
In addition to health insurance, students must be aware of the following:
- Public Liability insurance – All students must take out Public Liability insurance (in France this is called Assurance Responsabilité Civile).
- House insurance – If you rent a studio or an apartment, you must subscribe to House insurance (in France this is called Assurance Habitation).
With their practical guides and checklists, the French national agency, Campus France, can help you prepare for your arrival:One month before departure
One week before departure
Good to know
Most banks can arrange both Public Liability insurance and House insurance policies. We suggest that when you open a bank account, ask about a Public Liability insurance contract at the same time. There are many insurance companies in La Rochelle that can arrange Public Liability insurance for you, at a cost of around €80 per year.
Contact the International Admissions Office
Residency permits for non-European students
Students from outside the European UnionIf you are a student from outside the European Union, you will need to apply for a student visa at the French Embassy located in your home country.
- If you are planning on staying in La Rochelle for one year
Before your departure, you must contact the French Embassy or Consulate in your home country to apply for a student visa. As soon as you arrive in France, regardless of your visa expiration date, you must validate your visa within 90 days of your arrival. This is done at the OFII (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration - French Office of Immigration and Integration). The process can take up to two months so we recommend you contact the International Students’ Assistant at the Registrar as soon as you can.
When you go to the Registrar to validate your visa, you will need to provide photocopies of the following documents:
- Your passport
- Your visa
- Your entry stamp (you usually receive this stamp when you arrive at an airport in France)
- If you are planning on staying in La Rochelle for more than one year
You must apply for a residency permit (une carte de séjour) at least 2-3 months before the expiration of your visa (at the end of your first year of studies). The team at the International Relations Office will provide you with the necessary paperwork to apply for a residency permit and will explain the whole process, as well as how to fill in your request. They will check your paperwork and then forward it to the La Rochelle Prefecture on your behalf.
Opening a bank account
If you are planning on staying in La Rochelle for more than a few months, it is essential to open a bank account. Most of the major French banks have a branch near the campus (see list below) and are happy to welcome international students.
- BNP Paribas
- Crédit Mutuel
- Crédit Agricole
- Société Générale
- Crédit Maritime
Documents required to open a bank account in France
- A copy of your passport
- Proof of address in La Rochelle (your rental contract or proof that you are living with a host family e.g. a sworn statement from the family)
- Your Sup de Co student ID card (ISIC)
- Proof of enrolment at the School (supplied by the Registrar)