Originally Posted by Htown Harry
The top issues, in no particular order:
- Financial transactions. Not where we will get the money to pay for this (incl. DD's share), but how to set up for accounts, payments and spending money in Euros. Being a member of this forum, I am of course highly allergic to unnecessary fees and hassles.
- Communications. DW and DD speak to each other free (and frequently) on our family cell phone plan. We have recently bought webcams and figured out how to make free Skype internet video calls. Cell phone research is in progress - a pay-as-you-go plan in France looks to be the way to go for a six-month stay.
- Where to stay is a big unknown right now, but it may be critical to how this works out. It's certainly the biggest financial variable. Unlike freshman year, however, there seems to be very little a non-French-speaking parent can do to help sort through the options.
- Security. Not personal security exactly (although that's a part of it, especially for DW), but the uncertainty of whether some of the safety net services we take for granted at an American U will be available if needed.
- Health care is also on the list, but I suspect provisions for basic insurance and access to a doctor or clinic will be covered as a matter of course in the exchange process. I wonder whether I should take this for granted. (DD is fit and has no health issues.)
- How to explain to my boss that I will need at least two weeks of vacation time to "pick up my daughter from college" next June.
Comments and advice will be welcomed, either specific or general.
1. I'd open an account with Schwab. Both their debit (checking) and credit card have no international fees. Then she can easily withdraw money from an ATM while in France.
2. We use Skype quite a bit. We actually have a phone that doesn't require a PC, but the PC works fine too. As for a cellphone, I'd definitely go with the pay as you go. We do this when visiting Europe and it works well. Look up Rick Steves travel website and you'll probably find tips on this. As a side thought, his site is geared towards travelers, but I'm sure you can find a bunch of other info too.
5. I've always heard good things about French healthcare. Never experienced it myself though, so I can't really comment.
What a great experience. I'm sure she'll have a wonderful time.