My goodness, every time that I write, it feels as if there is never enough time to tell you guys about all of the crazy and fun events in my life. Most of the events that take up a lot of time in my life have to do with logistics and paperwork. Not all that exciting, I know, but these are absolutely essential if you plan to be, or are a part of the Dual Degree program between ERAU and EPF. Most of these tips I have learned through experience with trial and a lot of error. Please Note that I am not an expert and that my word should not be taken for granted. This is just an account of my experience.
1. Take a look at Embry-Riddle’s Study Abroad website. Please note this this list is specifically for people who wish to participate in the Dual Degree Program and therefore some items are different and require different documents.
2. Meet with the Staff at Study Abroad when you get to campus. They are very helpful and know a ton of information.
3. If you decide that you would like to be a part of the Dual Degree Program, you are now officially a photo copy making fool. Make copies of everything. When in doubt, make copies.
4. Fill out the Exchange Program Application; make sure that you fulfill all of the requirements. Check to make sure that your Four Year Plan is compatible with the chosen course of study. Besides filling out the form, you will need to include:
- Sealed copy of your official transcripts, these can be ordered from Records and Registration.
- Two letters of recommendation-one from a past professor and one from a current professor. Make sure the recommendations are good ones from professors who like you. (Time to make a good impression with pocket protectors and good white board markers, we do go to a nerd school after all.)
- One page, double spaced, essay stating why you would like to study abroad and what you would like to get out of your experience in the program. I know this seems pretty basic, but the Study Abroad Office just wants to make sure that you really want to study abroad for an entire year. This is a big commitment, like a relationship big, only instead of another person, there is an entire country with a lot of paperwork and rules (think: emotional baggage).
- Two passport sized photos-these can be taken at pretty much any drug store near ERAU. While you are there, try to get around 6-8 extras. This may seem like overkill, I promise it is not. It seems like every time I turn around, some office somewhere wants a passport photo of me and most of the time, they don’t want to take it themselves. In addition, I have yet to see a single place where I can have passport photos taken. I am sure that they exist, but I have yet to find any. Make copies.
- Copy of your current passport-make sure it is valid 6 months after your return to the US. Color is better than black and white. If you don’t have one, apply for one as soon an possible, more on how to later. Make another copy.
- CV, also known as a Curriculum Vitae. Please note a CV is not exactly the same as a resume, but essentially contains the same type of information. If you need more information about a CV, look here. The second half of the PDF is in English, no worries. I wouldn’t leave you guys out high and dry. Also this CV needs to be in French, time to make new friends. Luckily, the Study Abroad Office is popping with foreign exchange students. I’m not saying you should use them, per se, but why not create a friendship that can be mutually beneficial to the both of you? They could help with your CV and you could teach them the rigs of ERAU and Daytona Beach.
- One page, double spaced, essay in French, describing the reasons you want to participate in the Dual Degree Program. Once again, this is kind of a “are you really sure you want to do this” kind of step. Remember: It’s like a relationship with emotional baggage.
- Travel Itinerary. This can be turned in separately from you application and after you have been accepted by the Study Abroad program.
- EPF Program of Studies, which can be found at the Study Abroad Office. Essentially, this is a print out of an Excel spreadsheet showing which courses at EPF correspond with which courses at ERAU. Make copies. This document is as important to studying abroad at the Four Year Plan is to the academic advisors at ERAU. It’s like the Holy Grail of academia.
Think all powerful, not Monty Python (unfortunately).
5. Okay, this step is all about passports. If you already have one that will be valid 6 months after your return from France, skip this step. If you are hesitant to apply for a passport before being accepted by the Dual Degree Program, relax. If you, for some strange odd reason are not accepted, you can always use your passport for Spring Break Vacation to some place exotic like the Bahamas or something. It is better to have a passport than to not have one. The application process can take weeks. Make sure that you have enough time. Always have at least one colored copy of your current valid passport with you. For everything you need to know about passports, visit the .gov site here.
Facility. For a list of such placed near ERAU, or near where you are, go here.
6. Alright, so you have been accepted by the Study Abroad Office into the Dual Degree Program. Congratulations. I am happy for you. Now the real paperwork begins. Take a look at the Outgoing Exchange Student Guidebook created by your very own Study Abroad Office. I didn’t have this when I applied, I wish I did. You guys are sure some lucky dogs.
7. Make sure to get an official Acceptance Letter from ERAU or EPF stating that you have officially been accepted into the Dual Degree Program. This document needs to have addresses, signatures, school term start and end dates, signatures, and an official stamp. No document is officially official until it has a fancy stamp, right? Make a copy of the acceptance letter.
8. Start to save money.
9. Cool, theoretically by this step you should either already have a valid passport or have one coming soon in the mail. Now for getting a long-term student Visa. Ha, you thought it would really be that easy, didn’t you? Nope it is a bit complicated and therefore requires sub-steps. I know exactly what you are thinking, “Yes! More sub-steps. I LOVE sub-steps.” No you don’t. I don’t either. It’s okay. Eat some chocolate and you’ll get through them.
a. The nearest French Consulate is located in Miami and you will need a Long Term Student Visa. ERAU students can use this consulate since they go to school in Florida and have an acceptance letter from ERAU or EPF stating that they have been accepted into the Dual Degree Program.
b. Before making an appointment to visit the French Consulate, you need to register with Campus France.
i. In order to register with Campus France, you need to register with Pastel. See how this works? It’s fun, right? Okay, well maybe the process itself isn’t fun, but seeing how many steps they can break down the process into is at least entertaining.
ii. Required Items: Copy of your Acceptance Letter, and more money. Also make sure that you have your official Campus France ID number.
iii. After you receive an Attestation from Campus France, you can then go to the Miami Consulate. Make a copy.
c. Now you can apply for a long stay Student Visa, by making an appointment with the Miami French Consulate. Make sure that you have all required documents for the appointment. Make at least one copy of each document.
d. When you go to Miami, why not make a road trip and take some friends with you. You can see the famous Miami skyline, Star Island, and visit some of Miami’s famous beaches.
10. If you are concerned about any possible language barrier. No worries. Study Abroad and EPF have made an agreement where you can take part in a Summer Language for Engineers Program. I liked this program. It was pretty fun, see my previous entries. In addition, the tuition for this program for me was FREE. I only paid for my room on the ESTP campus, food, and activities.
a. The application form for the program is located here. You’ll need things such as:
i. 2 ID Photographs
ii. A Needs Form
iii. A Copy of your Student ID
iv. A Copy of your Passport
v. A Copy of your Proof of Payment
11. That’s it for most of the larger paperwork. If I have forgotten anything, I apologize. As you can imagine, having so much to do causes everything in mix in my head. All that is really left to do before going to France is complete any paperwork from EPF which is sent a bit later in the summer. Such documents have to do with:
c. Registration into EPF
Alright, that is enough boring talk for now. No more paperwork. Now it is all about fun things I have done. In the past two weeks, the best event was probably the Soirée d’Intégration held by EPF. The ticket for the event cost about 17 Euros, which also gave me a t-shirt for the event that I could decorate and personalize as I saw fit and two free drinks. Which when you think about it, the price was actually pretty reasonable. Granted, I don’t drink, but from what I could tell, the other students seemed to like their drinks. The party was held on a boat which was on the Seine. There were two decks. The bottom deck had the dance floor, tables, DJ booth, and bar while the top deck had another bar, chairs and couches for lounging, and a smoking area. It was pretty cool. My favorite part of the evening was being able to matriculate with all of the other students form my class. I met a bunch of new people who were a lot of fun and really nice.
To top off the end to a really awesome night, one of the other students in my class offered me a ride back to my residence. He was driving a whole group of other people to their own apartments in the same area and my residence was along his way home. The car ride was so much nicer than waiting for the Noctilien night bus that services Paris when the trains and metro stop. The night bus would have taken the better part of two hours to get me back to where I live. By car, it only took about half an hour, even with making various stops to drop people off. It was very generous of him.
That’s all for this week. Thank you for reading.