Become an International Student at ALGOSUP; we welcome students from all around the world!
ALGOSUP is an innovative international software development school located in the Loire Valley of central France.
International students in France
Visas for international students
Firstly, there are two different processes for international students moving to France for their studies.
- For nationals from any of the 28 European Union nations, the European Economic Area, Switzerland, Monaco, or Andorra, they follow the same application process as French students. No student visas are necessary.
- International students who are not nationals of the aforementioned countries need a visa in order to study in France. The required visa is the visa long séjour valant titre de séjour « étudiant », known as a VLS-TS "étudiant". Students must validate this document upon arrival in France.
Primarily, it permits students to study in France as well as other things. It also allows students to use the free security deposit service and receive a rental subsidy from the Caisse d’allocations familiales (CAF). With the visa, students can work in France for up to 964 hours per year and can extend their stay beyond the first year of the visa. More information about getting a visa to study in France can be found here.
Campus France is the French Agency for the promotion of higher education, international student services, and international mobility. For incoming students from 67 countries, applications to higher education in France must pass through Campus France. For incoming students from other countries, applications are directly to ALGOSUP.
The "Etudes en France" procedure involves students residing in one of the following 67 countries:
Algeria, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Laos, Lebanon, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Vietnam.
Beyond being the administrative centre for many international students wishing to study in France, Campus France is an excellent resource for all international students coming to France. The platform is kept up to date and goes in depth on visa procedures, budgeting, and different aspects of living in France.
Insurance for International Students
During your studies in France, you will be legally obligated to have at least three different types of insurance, namely:
- Housing insurance
- Health insurance
- Civil Responsibility Insurance
Don’t worry; the processes required to obtain these insurances are relatively easy to complete.
Firstly, there is housing insurance (l’assurance habitation). It will cover either your apartment or your room and the common spaces in a shared apartment. You will get a certificate of insurance (attestation d’assurance), which you will keep a copy of. Typically, you will provide another copy of this to your landlord or the rental agency. These are generally also required for your space in a boarding house (internat).
Secondly, there is the Civil Responsibility Insurance, or the (l’assurance responsabilité civile). This covers anyone or anyone’s belongings that you might accidentally damage. Typically, you can get this insurance along with your housing insurance. The easiest way to get these two insurances is usually from the bank that you opened your account with. They are usually inexpensive.
Thirdly, most international students will qualify for the French public health insurance (l’Assurance maladie). If not, private health insurance must be obtained. Registration with l’Assurance maladie is essential in order to be in compliance with the law and to be reimbursed for your healthcare expenses. This is to be done once you have validated your VLS-TS student visa and opened a bank account.
Once registered, you will receive a Carte Vitale, your health insurance card, which will be used at the doctor’s office, the pharmacy, or the hospital. Sometimes this card might take a while to arrive. In that case, you should go to the Caisse primaire d'assurance maladie (CPAM) in Vierzon and request an "attestation de droits". This paper will allow you access to the system until your card arrives. The social security system reimburses 70% of most healthcare expenses. Additionally, it is advisable to get a second insurance policy, known as a mutuelle, to cover the remaining cost of different procedures or treatments. However, this add-on to public health insurance is not mandated by law.
Once you are registered and have your card, you can register for a principal doctor (médecin traitant). It is advisable to contact the Centre de Santé in Vierzon to be connected to a doctor.
* If you are a citizen of the EU, you need to apply for the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in your home country. Your EHIC must be valid until the end of the academic year.
Banking for International Students at ALGOSUP
It is advisable for international students in Vierzon to open a bank account with a French bank. This account will serve to facilitate your rent payments, utilities, and other expenses, as well as receiving their salaries if they become employed in France. In the town of Vierzon, there are ten different banks from which to choose.
It is wise to compare the different banks' rates for the transactions you will make frequently, as the rates may vary significantly. Additionally, another deciding factor in your decision to select a bank as an international student at ALGOSUP will be the bank's opening hours. Most banks here are open in the mornings and afternoons from Tuesday to Friday, and then on Saturday mornings. However, a number of them close on Thursdays and Wednesdays. Concerning the hours more specifically, some banks close at 5 pm, while others close at 6 pm. Considering that you will be attending classes from 9 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday, it may be useful to find a bank with hours that extend beyond these times during the week.
Opening a Bank Account
In order to open a bank account, you will first have to get an appointment at the bank you have decided on. There may be a waiting period of a day to about a week. On the day of your appointment, you will need to carry at least three items: proof of identification such as your passport or national identification card; proof of having a place of residence in France; and proof of your enrollment at ALGOSUP, or your student card. In case you haven’t yet decided on an apartment at the moment of your appointment with the bank, you might be able to use the school’s address. Additionally, it can be useful to bring a letter of recommendation from your bank in your home country (translated, of course).
Once you have your bank account, you will get a bank card and a Relevé d’Identité Bancaire (RIB). Having copies of your RIB will be useful for different routine services that you have to pay for as well as for receiving refunds from the health insurance system. As such, it is not strange for certain services or jobs to ask for your RIB. Normally, the RIB can also be found in your bank’s app.
In Vierzon, you can make most payments by card, with the exception of some establishments that have a minimum sale for such payments. This can vary from 5 euros to 10 euros. As such, having small amounts of cash with you can be useful.
Living in Vierzon for International Students at ALGOSUP
Finding Accommodation in Vierzon for International Students at ALGOSUP
Several off-campus housing options are available for international students at ALGOSUP. Firstly, students may rent apartments individually or with roommates (collocation). Similarly, there is a possibility to rent a room in a boarding house (internat) of a school in the town; however, these are limited. It is important to note that the best practice is to wait until you have arrived in France to decide on an apartment and to sign housing documents. Thus, students should give extra time to finding an apartment when deciding on their date of arrival in France. In the interim, there are numerous options for Airbnbs and hotels with reasonable prices in Vierzon. (Link to Airbnb, Vierzon, and booking.com, Vierzon)
To help you start your apartment search, the school can provide you with a list of apartments and the contact information for a real estate agency. Beyond that, there are numerous real estate agencies in Vierzon with apartments for rent. Popular sites to find housing are Leboncoin and SeLoger. Here, you can find apartments for rent by both relators and individuals. In France, it is common to be asked for a guarantor when signing a rental lease. This guarantor typically needs to be someone in France who earns at least three times the rent. If no one in France is able to be your guarantor, the French government offers a solution known as VISALE, which will work as your guarantor. Once you have received your student visa from the consulate, you should start your VISALE "visa" application right away. That way, it will be ready by the time you arrive in France and are ready to sign your first lease. This application can be done online; you can find more information on the process here.
Apartments in France
These are perhaps the most common options if you will be living alone. For more information on the categorization of apartments in France and to discover the larger types that are common when living with roommates, have a look over here. Apartments may be rented furnished (meublée) or unfurnished (vide). To end a rental agreement in an unfurnished apartment, you must give your landlord at least three months’ notice. While in a furnished apartment, you must give at least one month's notice.
In many apartments in France, there is a washing machine but no clothes dryer. Many people use drying racks, which are inexpensive and efficient for drying throughout the year. In case your apartment isn’t furnished with a washing machine, there are several laundromats in Vierzon. However, in Vierzon, Google Maps tends not to have the most updated information for this particular topic. The two most reliable ones are the Espace Lav Zen on Avenue Henri Brisson and the Lavomatic on 6 rue de Dr Roux.
Public Transport in and Around Vierzon
One of the great advantages of our campus in Vierzon is its optimal location. Vierzon is very well connected by a variety of transportation options.
Firstly, ALGOSUP is located less than two minutes’ walk from the train station in the town center of Vierzon. This train station connects Western France to Eastern France and Europe, Northern France to Southern France, and perhaps most importantly, it connects Vierzon directly to Paris in just 90 minutes.
For those under 28 years of age, it is in your best interest to purchase the Carte Avantage Jeune. This is a discount card that will reduce the cost of any trains you may take in France. The card is usually 49 euros per year but goes on sale twice a year for approximately half that price.
Should you choose to live in another nearby town and take the train to Vierzon every day, you can purchase a monthly pass at a reduced cost for that specific line. These passes are called abonnements, more specifically Abonnement Rémi Zen Jeune; you can find out more here. Note that this is different from the Carte Jeune; however, those under 26 benefit from reduced prices.
In Vierzon there is a secondary train station, Gare de Vierzon Forges which connects the Eastern side of the town. To arrive at ALGOSUP, you need to go to the train station in the town center, Vierzon Ville.
Within the town of Vierzon, there is the local public transportation service, LeVib’ which boasts six regular lines throughout the town. Different cards that allow access to the system are available.
As someone under the age of 26, the cost for the unlimited yearly pass is 131 euros, and the monthly pass is 17 euros. Individual tickets cost 1 euro each, and a book of ten tickets costs 7.50 euros.
The buses operate from around 6:30 am to 7 pm depending on the line and the time of year. The hours change during the school holidays. There is also the possibility of renting electric bikes from LeVib on a weekly basis. Find more information on the LeVib site.
For trips beyond the town of Vierzon, and if you live beyond Vierzon, the regional bus system, Car Rémi 18, may be of interest to you. They connect many towns in the region, some of which do not have train stations. Also, the prices are a fraction of those of the train. Notably, there are lines that run frequently between surrounding towns such as Bourges and Romorantin. The cost is 3 euros per trip. However, there is also a reduction card for monthly passes at a reduced cost. Find out more about the Car Rémi 18 system here.
Finally, there are some other private ways to travel between towns, such as Flixbus, a low-cost bus network, and BlaBlaCar, a popular rideshare app.