Preparing to Go: Strasbourg

Contact Information and Center Address

Syracuse Strasbourg Staff Contact Information

Dr. Raymond Bach, Director, rebach@syr.edu
Dr. Mary Boyington, Assistant Director, mcboying@syr.edu
Alison Bayart, Assistant to the Director, ambayart@syr.edu
Mick Hardenberg, Housing & Community Internship Coordinator, mhardenb@syr.edu

Syracuse Strasbourg Address

Université de Syracuse
19 Quai Rouget de Lisle
67000 Strasbourg, France

Social media

Instagram: @syracuseabroad or @SUStrasbourg
Facebook: Syracuse University in Strasbourg


Traveling to Strasbourg

Visa

You will need to apply for your French student visa. All students participating in the Strasbourg program (apart from EU citizens traveling on a valid EU passport) must get a French student visa prior to departure. Obtaining a French student visa is a multi-step process, so it is important that you begin early and follow all instructions given to you by your admissions counselor.

Syracuse Strasbourg Center Programs

For all programs, students can choose to take a group flight offered by Advantage Travel, or you may make your own travel arrangements and meet the group upon arrival. Admitted students will receive a travel memo email detailing both options, as well as arrival information, including dates and locations.

Group Flights

Taking the group flight allows you to travel with other students on the program, as well as with a Syracuse University group leader. Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport by Syracuse Strasbourg Center staff and taken by bus to your accommodations. Group flight tickets are round-trip. Note: group leaders are not on the return flights to the U.S., and you are responsible for getting to the departure airport from Strasbourg for your return to the U.S.

Independent Travel

If traveling independently you should arrive at the same time or prior to the group flight. If you arrive the day before, you must make your own arrangements to stay at a hotel or hostel at your own expense. You will receive an independent travel memo email, detailing when and where to meet the group upon arrival.

Packing

Each semester students travel before the semester begins. Be sure to pack a large checked bag for the semester and have a smaller carry-on sized bag for the Signature Seminar or Welcome Orientation.

When you arrive, your large checked bag(s) will be sent directly from the airport to the Syracuse Strasbourg Center and stored while you are traveling. You will pick up your bag(s) when you return to Strasbourg for housing placement. When packing for either the Signature Seminar or Orientation travel program, consult the travel itinerary, as well as the weather forecast. Don’t forget to bring travel-sized toiletries and rain gear. Find further packing tips and guidelines.


Living in Strasbourg

Orientation

After the Signature Seminar and Welcome Orientation, you will have a mandatory on-site orientation in Strasbourg. During this orientation you will meet the Strasbourg staff, familiarize yourself with the Syracuse Strasbourg Center and the city of Strasbourg, and connect with other students on the program. You will also register for classes and receive your housing placement.

Housing

All students live with a French host family either within the city or in the immediate outskirts along a bus or tram line. This will allow you to practice the French you’ve learned in class and develop insights into French culture and daily life. Each student has a private room and access to WiFi. Breakfast is provided daily, and evening meals are provided Sunday through Thursday. You will need to budget additional funds to cover the rest of your meals. The Syracuse Strasbourg Housing Coordinator makes host family placements based on extensive experience with all the hosts, and information you provide on your housing form. We ask that you complete the housing form in a timely manner and take the time to respond to the questions. If anything changes about your situation (for example dietary needs), please contact your admissions counselor.

Note: students are responsible for their housing and meals during the week long mid-semester break, and will need to cover the costs from their personal funds.

Transportation

As part of your program fee, you will receive an unlimited bus/tram pass for the CTS. Buses and trams run frequently Monday to Saturday, starting early in the morning until 12:30 a.m.
On Sundays and holidays, trams and buses run on a more limited schedule, and for late-night travel there are special bus lines. You are responsible for any travel costs after public transportation ceases to run (e.g., taxi fare to return home after a late social activity). Students may choose to rent bicycles for the semester with Velhop; Strasbourg has the most extensive system of bike paths of any city in France.

Mail

Mail, including packages, should be sent to the Syracuse Strasbourg Center address below at the student’s attention and not to the host family’s address. Students will have a mailbox at the Syracuse Strasbourg Center, and the staff will notify students when they receive a package.

Student’s Name
Université de Syracuse
19 Quai Rouget de Lisle
67000 Strasbourg, France

Note: an import tax or customs duty is assigned to packages based on the declared value and often ranges from 50 to 100€, however, you shouldn’t have to pay the customs tax for used personal effects such as clothes. More information will be provided during orientation.

Cultural Adjustment

Living in a new culture can be both exciting and challenging, and when studying abroad it is common to go through a period of cultural adjustment. Understanding the process of adjustment and reaching out for support can help you cope with the transition. More information will be provided during orientation.


Technology

Computers and Personal Laptops

Computers and WiFi are available in the Syracuse Strasbourg Center during its regular hours:

  • Monday to Thursday: 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

You must ensure that your laptop will work on a 220/240-volt, 50-cycle current. Since nearly all laptops work on a 100- to 240-volts, 50/60-cycle current, the only accessory that you will likely need is a plug adapter, which is available at most electronics stores.

Cell Phones

It is very important that students have a working cell phone while in Strasbourg and maintain continuous phone service while abroad. Before you leave the U.S., it’s helpful to check with your current provider to see if they offer an international plan.

You can easily get a local French number and a cell phone plan when you arrive in Strasbourg. There are several options available:

  • Bring your own unlocked smartphone or buy one in France, and then purchase a French SIM card for approx. 10 Euros. You can then get a plan with unlimited calls and texts plus data. Plans start at 20 Euros per month.
  • Buy a small ‘burner’ phone for calls and text for approx. 20 Euros. Sometimes students use a combo plan of a U.S. cell phone with international data and a pre-paid French phone for emergency calls and texts.

Note: If you plan to use an international calling plan on your U.S. phone, you should also expect to get a local French number. Having a French number is essential for communicating with your host family, internship supervisors, and French friends. You can purchase an inexpensive burner phone described above.


Finances

Syracuse Strasbourg Program Cost

Banking and Cash

You will need an ATM card that allows you to withdraw cash internationally, as you cannot exchange currency in Strasbourg or open a French bank account when abroad for only one semester. International ATM and debit cards are widely accepted in France and throughout Europe. Check with your bank to be sure your ATM card can be used in foreign countries and to get information on your bank’s service fees for international ATM transactions.

Do not bring a large amount of cash with you. If needed you can order Euros from your bank prior to departure (no more than 100 €) and then plan to withdraw Euros from an ATM when you arrive. You may need cash for smaller purchases (less than 10 €), so we suggest making regular ATM withdrawals and having access to cash during your semester abroad.

Transferring Funds

If family members need to send money during the semester, they can deposit it in a bank account accessible through ATMs. In case of an emergency, money can also be wired via Western Union. For advice on transferring money overseas, check with your bank before you leave.

Credit Cards

Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted in Europe, while most businesses do not accept American Express or Discover Card. Chip cards are the standard in Europe and non-chip cards may not always work. Let your bank and credit card companies know you will be living abroad so they do not suspect fraudulent activity on your accounts. Make copies of both sides of your credit and ATM cards and keep them in a safe place, this way if a card is lost or stolen, you will still have access to important card information.


Academic Information

Enrollment Policies

All students are required to enroll on a full-time basis, with a minimum of 12 credits (not including the 3 credit Signature Seminar) and a maximum of 19 credits. All students must register for a French language course or a course taught in French.

Note: courses dropped after the drop deadline still count in your total billing credits. Some courses may not be audited, including the Signature Seminar, required French courses, courses offered at affiliated Strasbourg universities, and applied music and ensemble courses.

All “Syracuse Strasbourg Center Program” students are required to enroll in the 3 credit European Identity Signature Seminar. Students who stay for another semester may repeat the seminar for credit if space is available, as it has a different focus and itinerary during the fall and spring semesters. The Signature Seminar course may not be audited or dropped.

Note: Discovery, Engineering, and Music students do not take the European Identity Signature Seminar.

Registration

Course registration for all programs occurs in Strasbourg during the orientation period. All students should have preselected their classes based on information included in the academic packet emailed to them. In some cases, class offerings and schedules at local universities are not available until the start of the semester. Once abroad, students taking courses at the partner institutions will finalize their schedules by selecting courses from these local institutions, typically in combination with Center courses. Some class days and times are subject to change.

Textbooks

Students in the French classes must purchase their French textbooks at a local bookstore during the first week of class. All other classes will receive information about purchasing their textbooks during the first class meeting. Engineering students will receive information prior to departure.

Partner University Programs

Students enrolled at Université de Strasbourg (UdS, IIEF, and Sciences Po Strasbourg), the Conservatoire de Strasbourg, and the Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Strasbourg (INSA) should note that these institutions have classes Monday through Friday. The Conservatoire may hold rehearsals on Saturday. Students at these institutions remain in Strasbourg longer than those students who are only taking classes at the Syracuse Strasbourg Center, due to the French institutions’ extended academic calendars. Your program fee will be adjusted to reflect the additional housing expense. Final grades for courses taken at a partner institution may not be received and posted to Syracuse University’s student records system until March for the fall semester and September for the spring semester.

Internships

Internships for credit (1-3 credits possible) are available in various organizations in the Strasbourg area. Openings vary according to the needs of the organizations and the students’ interests. In the past, students have worked in such areas as community service, teaching, business and media, and government. Most internships require an intermediate level of French, though in some cases English is sufficient. Requests for other placements can be explored with the Internship Coordinator at the Syracuse Strasbourg Center.

Excursions and Study Tours

Excursions are available to all students in the Syracuse Strasbourg program, to explore more of France and Germany during the semester. Select courses have study tours throughout the semester as well. You will receive the dates by email prior to departure. Learn more about excursions and study tours.