International Engineering Program

Preparing for Your Year Abroad: French IEP

Preparing for the year abroad in a stress-free way takes months of planning before you depart. Most students leave for the year abroad at the end of July and return a full twelve months later. Students studying at the Université de Technologie de Compiègne (UTC) participate in the four-week immersion French class in Compiègne during August, then the Fall semester from mid-September to mid-January, then the internship from February through July.

The preparation process includes individual and group meetings and orientations to discuss a range of topics such as the application process, academics, internships, accommodation, course selection,  registration with the university, culture and cultural differences, visa advising and health, safety and security abroad to offer the maximum support to our students. We will also connect you to 5th year students who just returned from their year abroad, to exchange students from our partner universities whenever possible and to other helpful resources. 

Follow the timeline below and also check out the French IEP Study Abroad Student Guide, created by French IEP Student Ambassadors to help prepare you for the year abroad.

FIEP Student Guide

French IEP Abroad Timeline

October – December

  1. First informational session: TBA
  2. Budget: View the Program Budget Sheet in URI Abroad for estimated program expenses.
  3. Passport application or renewal: If you have a passport, make sure it will be valid 6 months past the date of your anticipated return. If you do not have a passport, or if you need to renew your passport, go to your nearest Post Office (which for URI is in Wakefield); you MUST schedule an appointment.
  4. Obtaining a Visa: While URI offers students guidance on how to apply for a visa, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to apply for and obtain the appropriate visa needed to support their studies. US citizens who are studying in France need to apply for a long-term student visa before entering France (see the French Consulate Website for instructions). You are eligible to apply for a visa as soon as you receive your acceptance letter from the French university in early May, and a letter from URI addressed to the French consulate. Important: Non-US citizens need to check whether they are on the list of countries whose citizens need to apply for a visa on the consulate’s website. Please make an appointment with Jamie Loredo, Education Abroad Advisor,, if you need any additional guidance on obtaining a visa.
  5. Financial Aid: If you have questions about financial aid during the year abroad, you should contact a financial advisor in Green Hall.
  6. Meet with your advisors to discuss your academic plan for your fifth year: Make sure to work on a graduation worksheet with your advisors, so that you know which classes you have to take for graduation. Since you will have to register for Fall courses from abroad, let us know immediately if there is a conflict between a French course and courses required for engineering in your 5th year. Review your IEP program curriculum sheet.
  7. Research: If you would like to earn 3 credits of MCE, CHE, ELE etc. 491 professional elective credits, talk to Prof. Erickson about possible research opportunities.
  8. Scholarships: Start working on scholarship applications for scholarship opportunities with December or January deadlines, such as the Beatrice Demers Scholarship and the Gilman scholarship.  For additional grants and deadlines, check out IEP Scholarship & FellowshipsNote: The URI scholarship portal opens in April and the deadline for URI scholarships is in June. 


  1. URI Office of International Education – Attend an optional information session on how to apply to study abroad in the URI Abroad Application System – TBA
    • All students who plan to study abroad are required to obtain permission from URI and therefore must complete the URI Abroad Application. In general, IEP students should apply using the Fall Semester application for their program – not the Academic Year.
  2.  Contact Jamie Loredo, Education Abroad Advisor, if you have any questions about the URI Abroad Application or about the study abroad process.
  3. General IEP Cultural Preparation Meeting: TBA
  4. UTC application due to Dr. Erickson by January 31. Submit the application to Dr. Erickson, who will send it on to UTC for you. Make sure you include transcripts, a photo, and a CV (resume).


  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 1: Complete Phase 1: Pre-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. Deadline: March 1st
  2. French IEP Preparation Meeting: TBA


  1. French IEP Cultural Preparation Meeting: TBA
  2. URI Office of International Education – Step 2: Complete Phase 2: Post-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. This includes your Pre-Approval Form. Deadline: May 1st
  3.  Internship Documents and Placement: Set up an appointment with Dr. Erickson to discuss company choices. With Dr. Erickson’s help, you will gain access to our internship portal where you can learn more about the different French companies that have internships and view projects from past French IEP program participants to help you determine the company you would like to intern for.
  4. Prior Approval Forms: Make an advising appointment with Dr. Erickson to discuss course equivalencies between URI and UTC. Complete the Prior Approval Form for all of the courses you would like to take while abroad and submit electronic copies via e-mail of the complete forms with all appropriate signatures to Dr. Erickson. Dr. Erickson can help you get your language courses approved, but please note that for all other courses from departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, the chair of that related department and/or the Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences will need to sign, and that for engineering courses, your engineering advisor and the Associate Dean of the College of Engineering will need to sign. It is required that students take at least one engineering course while studying abroad. Remember to add in a couple (2-3) more classes than desired, in case of class unavailability or changes while taking courses in France. Students will then need to upload the finalized Prior Approval Form to URI Abroad in the post-decision phase of URI Abroad application.


  1. URI Office of International Education: Pre-Departure Meeting – TBA
  2. Health Insurance: In addition to URI Health Insurance or other private insurance, all URI Students are covered by CISI Insurance. Students confirmed to study abroad will automatically be registered and emailed proof of insurance, which they will need to obtain a visa.
  3. IDI Meeting/Testing: In this meeting, students will learn about the Intercultural Development Inventory, followed by a mandatory IDI testing session.

May – June

  1. URI Office of International Education – Step 2: If you have not already done so, complete Phase 2: Post-Decision of your URI Application for IEP Study Abroad. This includes your Pre-Approval Form. Deadline: May 1st 
  2. Pre-departure Meeting: TBA. This meeting will serve as a final overview of the plans for the year abroad.
  3. French IEP Internship Application: Complete your internship application (CV in French, cover letter in French, list of engineering courses taken with actual English course title and French equivalent) and submit to Dr. Erickson by May 15th.
  4. Receive letter of acceptance from UTC: In early May, UTC will send out the official letters of acceptance along with an information pack concerning housing, health insurance, and arrival information. Once you receive this, you need to begin immediately the visa application procedure.
  5. Obtaining a Visa: Register with CampusFrance (as soon as you get your acceptance letter). This is the first step in the application process for the visa. Once your registration is processed, you will receive a PIN, which you will use to make an appointment with the French consulate. Your appointment can be made at the Consulate closest to where you live or closest to where you study, which is the one in Boston. The French Consulate in Boston is preferred since we have close contact with them.
    • Step 1 (10-12 weeks prior to departure): Register with CampusFrance (as soon as you get your acceptance letter).
      • Read the Etudes en France Application Guide (You are under the Study Abroad & Dual Degree Pre-Consular Category)
      • Create account and submit application on the Études en France (EeF) platform
        • Passport, headshot (under 50kb), statement of motivation (max 1500words), acceptance letter*
        • All docs except headshot under 300kb -screenshots as jpegs ok
        • Pay the processing fee ($250 or $390 expedited) and submit documents (need your EEF Application # (USXX-XXXX) 
      • Note: It takes around 3 weeks/3 days, then you get your confirmation email. Print this out. 
    • Step 2 (7 weeks prior to departure): Online Visa Application & Schedule In-person Visa Appointment.
      • Log back into your Estudes en France portal and download the electronic acceptance letter (pdf). Refer to Student Visa Guidelines. Fill out the online visa application Partner of the Embassy of France’s website for U.S. citizens + others. You MUST obtain a type “D” long-stay student visa to enter France before going to France to stay over 90 days 
      • Make a visa appointment with VFS Global Center Boston (or other consulate near you).  Make your visa appointment as soon as your CampusFrance PIN arrives. The time slots fill up fast over the summer at the consulate. Do not delay! 
      • You need confirmation of your accommodations before your appointment. Try and schedule your appointment for at least 4 weeks prior to departure and no less than 15 days before departure.
  6. Housing at UTC: The information packet that comes from UTC with your official letter of acceptance has information on housing. Complete your arrangements for housing by May 31st to ensure best choice of accommodations.
  7. Travel arrangements: Students are responsible for their own travel. Many students like to make arrangements together so that you travel with some URI friends, so play early. Make sure you contact the university to ask when the best time is to arrive.
  8. Gather your paperwork for the visa appointment: There is a lot of paperwork to bring so plan ahead. Bring copies of everything. Please note that in addition to UTC’s letter of acceptance you need a letter of acceptance to the program signed by the French IEP Director. You should also bring a letter from URI’s registrar certifying that you are an enrolled student at URI. Consult the consulate’s website for the most up-to-date requirements. 

While in France


  1. Arrival in Compiègne
  2. Coursework: Begin your 4-week immersion program at UTC.
    • In order to receive French credits for this course at URI, you must have UTC send OIE the certificate of completion through the mail or encrypted email.


  1. Begin semester program.
  2. Scholarship Aid/Financial Aid: Applies as usual

December – January

  1. Prepare for internship:
    • Location/assignment to be worked out with Dr. Erickson
    • Working papers required – International University Offices at UTC will help you.
    • Fill out the Required IEP Internship Application in URI Abroad by the Spring Course Registration Deadline (Jamie Loredo from OIE will email this to you). You must fill this out so that OIE can enroll you in the 12 credits you need to maintain your student status.
  2. Getting Courses Transferred and Intent to Graduate (if applicable):    
    • Upon completion of the exchange program, you will need to have your program’s institution send an official transcript to OIE so that your transfer credit can be evaluated. Please refer to OIE’s Transfer Credit policy for more information.
    • If you will be graduating, you will need to fill out the appropriate Intent to Graduate Form at least a semester before you graduate.
    • Read additional in-depth instructions regarding the Intent to Graduate process for the College of Engineering.
  3. Housing: Begin looking for housing for in the area of your internships. Use the Facebook pages of your target city or other platforms to find housing (you can find some ideas here and here).
  4. Winter Break: You can use some of this time for housing interviews or researching your internship company/location!

Late February – Late August

  1. Take exams (if not already completed).
  2. Begin your internship: Usually starting in February – August.
  3. Courses: Work on online Spring Semester course work.
  4. Advising: Check-in with your advisor and get your advising hold and any other hold lifted so that you can register for Fall semester courses.
  5. Register for Fall Semester courses.