Studying Abroad: Picking a Program, Applying, etc. (ISEP Exchange)

hey guys today I want to talk about the entire process of how I picked my study abroad program and just give you guys any tips for those of you who are in college or thinking about studying abroad in the future so I've wanted to study abroad forever you know I never traveled much as a child so it was a major dream of mine and once I started to take French classes in high school I obviously wanted to go to France to actually be able to speak the language with the locals and actually get a good grip on the language so that's what I'm doing and it's amazing that I can finally do something that has been one of my goals for such a long time so for me the question of where do I want to study abroad was never a question I always wanted to go to France I think it also would have been really cool to go to any other francophone countries a lot of countries in Africa or different regions speak French French is a major language of the world so it could have gone to a lot of different places but I did want to go to France first and you know in the future I would love to continue traveling so last year was my freshman year of college and most people tend to study abroad usually around their junior year but I wanted to look into programs and see what my options were early because my biggest concern was cost so for my school I had to go to the study abroad website and request a meeting basically what happened is I show up and I talked to a student who had already returned from studying abroad and you just kind of discussed their experience and they asked you if you are interested in any countries or places in particular blah blah blah and they try to help you kind of get a focus on what kind of program you want also of course your major whatever you're studying is relevant where you're gonna be able to go I'm a film major so I did look into some programs that have film options and a lot of universities do but also because French the language component was such a major part of what I wanted to do while studying abroad film wasn't my focus French was so then I went to my school's website and they have a whole study abroad section with all the different programs that are partnered with the school so this is the first thing when it comes to actually picking a program or going through your school or doing an outside program there are so many options for me since I was concerned about cost I wanted to do something that would not be crazy expensive so what I discovered was I Seth which is international something something something and I found that I sep exchange programs cost the exact same as your regular semester at school so an exchange is basically literally you're paying the exact same cost as you were before because an exchange student is going to come and basically take your place at the university they're gonna be living on campus they're gonna be eating the meal plan so it doesn't cost you any differently and also all of your financial aid still applies so all of my school scholarships federal grants scholarships everything still exactly the same which is great for me because that was the least complicated and least expensive option for where I wanted to go you will find that obviously Western Europe is very expensive it's usually the most popular place that most people want to study abroad you know London France Spain all of those kind of countries those are usually the most expensive to go to if you want to go to say an African country or South America there are a lot of cheaper programs because the cost of living and everything are a lot lower in those countries so it could be that studying in one of those countries could cut less than your usual semester so you definitely want to look into it and compare prices to see you know what's the most cost effective for you so because my school is partnered with I SEP and does a lot of ice up exchanges and I SEP direkt programs with other students all the time it was very simple because I just had to work with my school and then work on the ISF application and it would all get sorted out so like I said I started thinking about this during the second semester of my freshman year which was last spring and it was about March when I started my program so I decided I was going to do ice up exchange and I went through the iced-up website looking through France looking through all of their university options a lot of them have either age requirements or language requirements so for me it depended on how many semesters of French I had taken in college so based on all of those restrictions I found all the universities that I was eligible to go to and put them as my options on my list so for me I did not want to go to Paris everybody I know who had studied abroad and France has gone to Paris and I'm sure Paris is gonna be amazing I'm definitely gonna go study there but I wanted to go somewhere different and my professor one of my French professors is actually from the region that I'm going to so he recommended it to me immediately he said you're gonna love the South of France you're gonna love the climate it's very you so I took his advice and that ended up being my focus my top choices were excellent Provence and Montpellier I can't remember any of the other options I chose so it is a matter of a lot of research researching regions researching the schools the programs what kind of courses they offer and it's a long process so I started my application which was a very long process working with my school and working with ice up March till the end of the semester which was like March to May and my school wanted me to be almost done with this whole process which includes course approval form Zhai had to go all around my school and get like 12 different people to approve these courses even though the courses aren't for sure it was ridiculous but it's a lot of paperwork that you just have to get done and you just have to deal with it which is why it's so important to start working on this early I would say start looking into programs as a freshman because then you're not stressed out trying to figure it out for the next semester you can figure it out early you could decide you want to do maybe a summer program instead of a semester or a year-long program you could do anything but it's always better to give yourself time because it can end up being way more complicated than you think so thanks to all the work that I put in at the end of my freshman year I was ready to submit my application once it opened up to be submitted at the beginning of this year my sophomore year so I submitted that there was an application fee I think it was like $300 it was something ridiculous I was like oh my god it was rough there are a lot of fees that's the second thing that I would say is be ready I mean depending on your country depending on what company you go through I SEPTA's has a lot of fees and stuff because they're working with you so I guess you're paying for them to help you the different programs will definitely have different fees so just make sure you look into it and read all the fine print so that it doesn't just sneak up on you one day and you realize you have to pay $300 so I submitted my application and they said by about mid-november I would get notified of which school I'd been placed in so the way that it works for I sep exchange is I had my options I ranked them in the order that I was interested in them and I step in all the schools go through and see who's a good pick based on a number of factors then I SEP emailed me and said all right you have been placed at X Marseille University so that was a really exciting day um actually wasn't my number one choice originally my number one choice was Montpellier but I'm actually really glad that I got placed at X because I really really really love that region I have watched videos of Marseille and XM Provence and it's absolutely gorgeous and I'm so so excited but once you've been placed in your program there's still a lot more to do so I had to start working on my visa I had to start making sure my passport was ready so that's another thing obviously you're gonna need a passport I didn't have a passport into last summer but I did go to Canada so I got a passport early but that's gonna cost you a few hundred dollars if you don't have a passport yet you need to make sure that your passport will not expire during your year or semester abroad so that's something to look into – and the French visa the visa process drove me absolutely insane it was so difficult France especially has one of the most complicated visa processes other countries you don't need a visa other countries they handle it for you but for me I had to pay another application fee through campus France if you're not going to France this won't make sense to you but basically I had to apply and do one application which had some kind of fee let's say $100 and then I had to book my appointment months in advance to make sure that I would have a time slot and my appointment had to be in person at the French consulate nearest to me which was in Houston so I had to travel from New Orleans to Houston just for a 15 minute appointment to get my visa and the visa appointment you need to bring a ton of paperwork everything filled out perfectly copies of lots of things school records transcripts your your school ID your birth certificate tons of stuff but finally I did get my visa I have it it's in my passport now and I'm good to go in addition to that I had to pay a couple hundred dollars for health insurance through I SEP and then also there's mandatory health insurance for France so a couple hundred more probably in total in just fees I think I've paid at least a thousand dollars out-of-pocket which is a lot you know you got to do what you got to do and luckily I did know in advance that there would be all of these fees you know you just have to like swallow it just do it and then you'll be good but like I said other countries can have completely different experiences so basically the first thing I can recommend is doing a lot of research giving yourself plenty of time at least a semester in advance so if you want to go in the fall you need to start looking the fall before so that you have plenty of time you do not want to be stressing last-minute about visas flights anything oh my god I didn't even include the cost of my flight in that have I even talked about my program okay so the program that I was placed in at X Marseilles it's actually at an institution that specializes in teaching French as a foreign language to international students so there will be Americans there will be other Europeans or being Australians literally people from all over the world who are there to learn French so my program actually focuses completely on French language and French culture so I am gonna be completely immersed in a very intensive program but at other universities you can take courses with all the native students you can take them in English you can take them in the language it completely depends on the school you're going to and the program that you're in a lot of the other programs that I applied to I would have just been taking classes in English and French with French students and other international students but my program that I got into is just for international students so it'll still be really interesting I can still explore around the town that I'm in is pretty much a college town anyway so there'll be tons and tons of students around me regardless but yeah I'm very very excited and one of you asked if I am confident in my knowledge of the french language i am really good at writing and reading it and have not had very much practice speaking it so that's definitely gonna be the hardest thing for me but that's what I'm most excited about because you know I took three years of it in high school and then I didn't take it for two years and then I came back and started to take it in college so I've taken a lot of French but I don't think that a lot of my high school classes really taught me much like by the time I came back to do French one again in college I felt like I was learning everything I've learned in three years again in one semester so it's getting a lot more advanced which is great and I can actually form sentences now but it is gonna be a challenge to actually use the language you guys will see me in vlogs you'll hear about everything as it happens and I'm sure I will be trying to speak in vlogs in French so I'll probably just do subtitles and translate it to English I don't know we'll see it's gonna be really fun thank you guys so much if you have any additional questions please comment below if you have watched this video until here say whoa is that burnt orange comment below and stay tuned for more study abroad videos and travel vlogs and good times by the way my hair is rose-gold okay thanks bye

44 thoughts on “Studying Abroad: Picking a Program, Applying, etc. (ISEP Exchange)

  1. Do you know any other cheap programs besides ISEP? My school does not use ISEP. How many programs do you recommend applying to?

  2. Tiffany, I need to visit North America for exchange programs. How do I go about it?Thanks for your help

  3. What if you study in an uni that you don’t pay any tuition fees but you want to take an exchange program in a college or uni that has tuition fees? Are you still paying the fees?

  4. if you remember, do you know how soon after the application deadline you found out where you were placed? currently waiting to hear back and very impatient 😂

  5. I have a question, how do you coordinate for housing? does the program include it or do you have to do that on your own?


  7. great video ! i'm French and ii'm going to America in 3 months with ISEP too, so excited yet so stressed by all the paperwork 😅 hope you had a great time in Aix !

  8. More YouTubers need to make videos like this! So, so helpful for me! Plus I loved your "internet crushes" vid!

  9. this video was super helpful!! I go to LSU and I am looking into ISEP in Spain so it was really cool hearing this from you!

  10. Tiffany!! Do you watch Damon and Jo's videos? They're hilarious and do videos in French (and many other languages) and about France and they're v enjoyable I think you'd love them

  11. you should definitely visit quebec one day!! i'm from montreal and i'm sure you'd love it 🙂 you're gonna love it in france though, bonne chance!! 💖

  12. wow is that burnt orange haha I'm so excited for u I never have been able to travel that far so please bring us along on ur journey cuz we are all peanut butter and jealous

  13. You did well not going study in Paris ! It's cold and sad, full of tourists and arogant people. whereas aix-en-provence is a warm beautiful place and people are so much more welcoming :). Good luck with your studies !

  14. I'm so incredibly jealous! I'm a freshman in college now and have just started researching Southern France study abroad opportunities, so I cannot wait to see how your experience goes! Are you going to be living in a dorm-situation or will you be doing a home stay with a host family?

  15. omg I just watched one of your vids when you were 16 and i thought you were beatiful and you are even more beautiful now!

  16. Envious of your brows. And eyes. And hair. And face. That shirt makes your eyes POP. I can't wait to see your France adventures!!

  17. So excited you get to go on this exchange! It's going to be such a great experience for you! can't wait to see the videos!

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