Communication in France

Be sure to communicate with your family soon after you arrive to let them know you are safe and sound! A quick phone call or e-mail can make them feel much better.


While you are abroad it is important to find ways to stay in touch with family and friends. They will all be anxious to hear about your experiences, and you will want to know what is happening at home. Some students have said that it is helpful to set up a communication plan with family and friends so everyone will know when you are available to make a call or receive a call. With time differences, inconsistent internet access, and the many excursions and activities you will be participating in, sometimes it can be difficult for you and your family to connect.

One way some students have stayed in touch, and shared their experiences with many friends and family, is through keeping a blog. This is an excellent way to communicate as it touches many people and can be flexible with time.

Communication Apps:

Smart phone apps also work very well and allow students to text and call back home with ease. Viber, Whatsapp, and Facetime are all recommended. The most common communication tool however, is Skype, which allows for free calling from one Skype device to another or very inexpensive calling from Skype to a landline or mobile phone.

#Cisabroadtip add $5 of credit to your Skype account before going abroad to make calling phones back home easy right from the beginning.

Cell Phones:

Experienced travelers all agree: it is best to buy a phone and SIM card in-country once you arrive. Do not bring your American phone and pay huge international fees.

You will be able to purchase a basic phone and SIM card in-country. Some popular providers are Orange, Bouygues, and SFR. Typically, you can purchase a simple phone for less than 20 euros. You can then send an international text message to your family so they know your new local number.

Your phone minutes and texts will be prepaid by you.  You “top-up” (prepay) your phone with $5-20 at any time at many locations. Your on-site staff can explain this in more detail in-country.

If you have an American phone with a SIM card, it may be possible to only buy the SIM card in-country and not need to buy a basic phone.  Please contact your cell phone provider for specific instructions.

Plan on not knowing your local cell phone number until you are in-country.

Most cell phone numbers in France begin with 06 or 07. In order to call your new number from the US your family will want to dial 011 33 (country code) then 6 (or 7) followed by the rest of the number.