Frequently Asked Questions
Who is this program for?
The ESP participants are usually around 20. However, we have also hosted mature students who wanted to learn French and discover France and Europe. Since 2001, the ages have ranged from 18 to 73!
The ESP also accepts people who have already graduated and/or are not students anymore if they wish to study in France.
What selection criteria do I have to meet?
In order to be eligible for ESP, one has to have completed one’s secondary education (meaning at least a high school level). As well, students wishing to be part of the ESP must be registered in some type of higher education program or associated with a study abroad center, whether connected to the Université Catholique de Lille or not.
For more information about criteria, check with your school’s international office or your study abroad coordinator.
French level. I'm a beginner. Can I attend the program?
Yes, our program is designed for students interested in the French language whether they have studied French before or not.
French classes are organized so that students of all levels can learn French at their own pace and comfort level. However, please note that all French classes are taught entirely in French, which can at first be a little intimidating.
Please note that all ESP students, regardless of program or origin, are expected to possess academic-level skills in English.
All information and support about the program (organization, schedule, meeting place, orientation…) is given in English. If students prefer information to be given in French, this can be organized as well.
Once you have submitted your online application form, you will receive an email that gives you some payment instructions.
Payment has to be made by credit card (Visa or Mastercard). After the payment has been made, the ESP will start processing your application.
For more information, please check our Application Procedure page and our Terms and Conditions
What facilities are there for disabled students / students with special needs?
Although the main university building is famous for its 19th century neo-gothic architecture, it is accessible for those with special needs. However, we would ask that you advise us on your application of any such needs so that we can prepare your stay and provide you with the best possible service.
Do I need a visa?
Most students will not need any visa to take part in the European Summer Program, given that their stay will be shorter than 90 days. The government of France has a useful website regarding frequently asked questions about visas. Please check this link to see if you need a visa for your stay.
For more information, you are strongly advised to check with your university’s study abroad office, your study abroad coordinator, or even the French Embassy’s website in your home country or your home country’s consulate website.
If you need a visa, please contact the ESP office by email as soon as possible after having sent out your complete application package so that we edit a letter of invitation and mail it to you.
Do I need to carry my passport all the time?
You will need to bring your passport with you any time you leave France, which includes our various field trips into Belgium. It might be a good idea to carry your passport with you on other extended trips as well, in case you need to prove your identity. However, for most purposes you could use a photocopy of your passport; you should make copies both of the main page with your photo and of your visa if you have one, and keep these with you when you travel. Always keep your passport safe!
Anything else I need to know?
Please note that your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months when you enter France, and for an additional three months beyond your planned date of departure and your return home.
What is the weather like in Lille in June/July?
In France, June and July are summer months. Lille has a maritime climate and the weather is changeable. Sunny weather and rainy days can both be expected. Temperatures will usually be between 15°C and 30°C (59-86°F). We recommend that you bring clothes for different types of weather – cool, warm, dry, and wet.
What kind of clothes should I bring?
Because the weather can be very changeable in June and July in Lille, we would recommend that you bring both mild weather and summer clothes. A rain coat or poncho and travel umbrella will likely be necessary. Sunglasses, sunscreen, and hats are also useful. Of course, you can buy all of this in Lille (malls, famous brand shops, budget shops)!
It is very important that you bring a good pair of closed-toe walking shoes. France and Europe have a lot of tourist sites that you will visit (during the fieldtrips or on the weekends) where comfortable walking shoes are essential. Please see the “Travel Tips” section as well.
Packing tips for travel
• PACK LIGHTLY! You can buy anything in Lille. There are malls, a large shopping area, and some budget shops. So if there are things that you can’t put in your suitcase, you can buy them in Lille.
• Check your airline’s website to see what the regulations are about how much luggage you are allowed.
• Once you've packed, make a list of what you packed and write a description of your luggage. Put that information in your carry-on bag in case your luggage doesn't arrive with you.
• Carry-on bag for the plane: pack extra layers, a book, your travel journal, cards, music, snacks, any medication you'll be taking while overseas, tissues, set of underwear, a tee-shirt and a toothbrush (in case your luggage goes astray). Photocopy both sides of your credit and ATM cards, driver's license, and passport - leave a copy at home and pack another copy in your carry-on bag. Do NOT pack liquids over 3 oz. Make sure you have the ESP’s phone numbers, address, and instructions handy so that you find them easily on arrival.
• You may want to bring at least one dressy outfit for receptions in Lille.
• Bring comfortable shoes. Visiting France’s and Europe’s monuments, museums, and cities means a lot of walking, especially over cobblestones. A good pair of closed-toe, comfortable shoes is recommended.
• Bring rain gear or an umbrella.
• Bring an extra pair of glasses or contact lenses, if you wear them.
• You will also need an electric outlet converter plug suitable for France (and any countries that you may be visiting outside the program).
• Prescription medication. Bring enough for your entire stay in Europe. Keep medication in the original, labelled container. Know the generic name of your prescription medication, and bring a written prescription from your doctor. (You will not be able to get it dispensed in Europe, but – if necessary – you can use your prescription to inform a doctor as to what you need.)
• Pillows, bed linens and blankets will be provided by the dormitory. Towels, washcloths and other household items are available for good prices at the Sunday market in Lille. Otherwise bring 2 old towels that you can discard at the end of the trip.
• Books are heavy. All course materials will be given in class. Students have access to the university library. Books in English can be found in one of these book stores in Lille: “Le Furet du Nord” (http://www.furet.com) and “Books et alia” (http://www.booksetalia.fr). Also, tourist books are available in the ESP office.
How much money am I supposed to budget for my stay in France?
The table below aims to help you budget your costs for participating in the ESP.
Includes Class teaching and assessment, a Student Card, access to the University wifi network, all course materials, an official Summer Program Certificate, an Academic Transcript in ECTS format.
Includes Accommodation in individual rooms (some in shared flats) in University residence halls on campus or city center and meal card with 50 euros credit for use at the university cafeteria from Monday to Friday, free Access to Local Public Transportation, Fieldtrips and entrance to Museums according to the program, a Cultural and Social Program, a full Program of Orientation.
Dinners and food during week-ends, School supplies, Personal Expenses (150 euros for meals and food on weekends can be budgeted. Personal expenses will then obviously vary from one student to another)
Mandatory Health Insurance Coverage:
Health and Travel Insurance is mandatory for students taking part in the ESP, and is available through the Université Catholique de Lille.
|Passport (and Visa if required)|
|Travel to and from the country of origin|
|Transportation from the airport to the University|
* included in the cost of the program
How much cash should I bring with me?
That is up to you, although we do not advise that you carry large amounts of cash with you at any time. ATMs (and banks) are plentiful, and major credit cards are widely accepted (although cards without chips may not work for some automated transactions). Some students pick up their first euros from an ATM (called a distributeur in France) only after arrival at the airport.
Do not bring any bills larger than 50€ - it will be very difficult to change and many stores will not accept bills of 100€ or larger. Nor are travellers cheques recommended, since cashing these generally requires a visit to a bank during school hours.
We do recommend bringing a valid credit card (preferably one with a chip) and - both for day to day transactions and for cash withdrawals - an ATM debit card, ideally one with Visa or MasterCard logo on it. (Also, bring an extra card with you, if possible)
Is there any financial aid?
If you are from a partner university, you will receive a discount on our usual price, so check with your Study Abroad office. If you are not part of a partner university, you can contact your Study Abroad office or the French embassy in your country to ask for advice.
How many credits will I get when I come back to my home university?
Participating in the ESP will allow students transferable ECTS credits to include in their university career if they wish. Information about syllabi and credits are available on this website.
Transfer of ECTS credits to the student’s home university differs from one country to another and sometimes from one university to another, regarding how many credits they will give for the different ESP courses taken, what documentation they need, etc.
Therefore, students should check with their academic advisors or Study Abroad office for more information about the credit transfer process for ECTS credits at their home university.
The ESP team is available to provide information that the home university needs in this respect.
What is a typical class day at the European Summer Program?
Please refer to the ESP Draft Schedule for more detailed information. Note the calendar is subject to change prior to the start of the program.
What is the typical organisation of a week at the ESP?
Please refer to the ESP Draft Schedule for more detailed information. Note the calendar is subject to change prior to the start of the program.
IMPORTANT: This information is provided as an example to help students get an idea of the overall schedule, and is not guaranteed. A more complete schedule will be provided 2 weeks before the start of the program, and the final schedule with room numbers will be given to students during orientation. Students are strongly advised to wait until they get the final schedule before making weekend travel arrangements.
Are there rules about class attendance?
Yes, attendance is compulsory.
What if I am sick?
Some absences can be excused, under specific conditions. The rules are laid out in the ESP Regulations document (downloadable on the LILLE Short Programs webpage), which all participants must sign at the beginning of the program.
What about alcohol?
First, a hangover does not count as being sick. Be responsible. Second, the consumption of alcohol (and illegal drugs, obviously) is prohibited in all of the residences used for the program, and the abuse of alcohol cannot be tolerated at any point. Rules about such matters are covered in the ESP Standards of Conduct document (downloadable on the LILLE Short Programs webpage), which all participants must sign at the beginning of the program.
But ... France!
Yes, France is known for its wine, and this particular region, like Belgium, is known for its beer. However, the beer can be far stronger than is usual in other places; it requires caution. Please remember that, while we want everyone to enjoy the program, and to discover local culture, you are here primarily to learn.
OK. What else do I need to know?
Read the ESP Regulations and Standards of Conduct (downloadable on the LILLE Short Programs webpage), carefully. All participants must read, sign, and adhere to these.
Copies of both documents will be distributed at the beginning of the program for reading and signing.
Do I need to bring my pillow, blankets?
You will be allocated either to a university dorm or to privately owned student accommodation.
If you are in university accommodation: You will have a single room (exceptions to this may be arranged; notification will be given in advance) with a single-bed, a wash basin, a cupboard, a desk and a chair. The accommodation service provides one pillow + 1 set of bedsheets + 1 blanket per room. There are showers on each floor. Each residence hall has a fully-equipped kitchen (microwave, stove, fridge), a TV room, and a laundry room with washing machine and dryer. Machines are token operated. In each dorm, there are two student supervisors and a team of other students who are responsible for the organization of different services and equipment (TV, laundry room, computer access, mail, etc, ...).
If you are in privately owned student accommodation: You will have single room (exceptions to this may be arranged; notification will be given in advance) with a single-bed, a cupboard, a desk and a chair. Most accommodation also has an en-suite bathroom and a kitchenette area. The accommodation service provides one pillow + 1 set of bedsheets + 1 blanket per room. Each residence hall is equipped with a TV room and a laundry room with washing machine and dryer. Machines are token operated.
Will the dorm be air-conditioned?
Our dorms are not air-conditioned. Air-conditioning is not that common in France. If the weather is too hot, then you can consider buying a small fan.
Will there be a phone in my dorm?
No, there are no public phones in dorms.
Where can I use a phone?
- during office hours, a phone will be accessible in the ESP office. You will be able to make phone calls after having bought a phone card.
- you may want to buy a SIM card for your cell phone, SIM cards start at 10€
Important: there are no public phones in dorms.
How can I call home from France?
In Europe, to make international calls: 00 + country code + your number.
To check about international calling codes, you may refer to this website: http://www.countrycallingcodes.com/
How can my relatives call me during my stay in France?
- during office hours and depending on time zones, a phone will be available in the ESP office. If your family wants to contact you in an emergency or if you set a phone appointment with them, they can just call our office (the number will be given to the enrolled students).
- cell phone: the country code for calling a French (cell) phone is +33.
Do I need to bring my laptop?
Some courses may require the use of a computer to do some research on the internet or prepare reports or oral presentations. We strongly recommend that you bring your laptop.
A printer is available in the ESP office. Information and advice will be given on arrival. Please be aware that in France, computers have “AZERTY” keyboards (not “QWERTY”) and they are mostly PC and not Mac computers.
The main university building has wireless connections and you will be given access.
What will I need to connect my computer in France?
The main university building has wireless connections and you will be given access. All of the residences have wireless internet access.
When should I arrive in Lille?
Arrivals are planned on the day before the first day of the program: 24 May 2023 for ESP1, and 27 June 2023 for ESP2.
PLEASE DO NOT COME DIRECT TO THE UNIVERSITY!
Members of the European Summer Program team will meet you at Lille Europe station from 9am to 5.30pm. The designated Meeting Point (“Point rencontre”) is on the main station concourse (one level above platform level) near The Pub, in the middle of the station. (There is an online map of the station, which you might find useful.)
Please note that there are 2 stations in Lille: Lille Europe and Lille Flandres. They are quite close to each other, so if you should arrive at Lille Flandres, please make your way to Lille Europe (just a 6-minute walk).
The ESP team members will take you to your dorm where you will be able to settle in. There you will receive the ESP Student Guide and a welcome pack (including maps of Lille and of the metro).
If you are planning to arrive before 9am or after 5.30pm, the team will not be at the station; please contact us at least 2 weeks before your arrival so that arrangements can be made.
We will send you an email shortly before your arrival detailing all of this information, which you may want to print and bring with you.
How to get to Lille ?
To get to Lille, you can either choose to come through Paris-Roissy Charles de Gaulle, Brussels, or London. From these airports, it is very easy to come to Lille as we are very well-served by trains, and these 3 airports have train stations on the spot: (Other points of entry such as Amsterdam are also possible, but perhaps less convenient – check with us if you are not certain of your options.)
At Paris-Charles de Gaulle,
To get to Lille-Europe station, you will have to take a TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse = high speed train) operated by SNCF (the name of the national railway company). The train station is inside the airport. Just follow the signs for “gare TGV” or “gare SNCF”. Depending on which terminal you will get to, you may have to take the free shuttle to get to the station; the signs for “gare TGV” will guide you to the shuttle and then to the station.
The service from Paris-Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport to Lille is every hour during the day and the journey takes about an hour.
Buying a ticket in advance is usually cheaper, it is best to allow for 2-3 hours after your arrival time in order to allow for delays in passing passport control, baggage claim, or customs. Tickets will range from 25€ to 65€ depending on time and class of service.
If you take a flight through Sky Team, you can include your train ticket in the price of the flight. In this case you won't have to worry at Paris Roissy about your luggage, which will follow you to Lille.
- the website of Paris-Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport is very well done. For instance, you can find maps of the terminals if you want to know where you land and where the station is. So please don’t hesitate to consult it: www.parisaeroport.fr/en.
- the national railway company (SNCF) has a website on which you can consult train hours and prices: www.sncf-connect.com/en-en/
- You also can use the OUIGO trains : http://www.ouigo.com/
Take a regional train (City-Airport-Express) to get to Brussels-Midi station (or you can take a taxi). From there a Eurostar train or a TGV will take you directly to Lille-Europe station in 38 minutes.
All details can be found on this page: http://www.brusselsairport.be/en/
Take the Eurostar to get to Lille Europe Station. Advanced booking on the Eurostar is strongly advised. http://www.eurostar.com/
More information will be available in May
Where do I go when I get to Lille?
Arrivals are planned on the day before the first day of the program: check draft schedule for ESP1 and/or ESP2. PLEASE DO NOT COME DIRECT TO THE UNIVERSITY! Members of the European Summer Program team will meet you at Lille Europe station from 9am to 5.30pm as explained in the section When should I arrive in Lille?
However, in case of unforeseen problems, it might be useful to know about transportation options within Lille.
By metro: From Lille Flandres or Lille Europe station, take metro line 2, direction Saint-Philibert. Stop at Cormontaigne and walk for ten minutes east along Boulevard Vauban.
By bus: From Lille-Flandres station, take bus Citadine 2 , stop at "Facultés Catholiques" (rue Nationale). From Lille-Flandres or Lille Europe station, bus 12, stop at "Université Catholique" (boulevard Vauban).
By taxi: Taxis are available at Lille Flandres Station; the ride to the campus takes around 15min and the cost is between 12€ and 15€.
You can find a map of the University location here.
Where can I stay if I plan to arrive earlier in Lille?
If you plan to arrive earlier than the official arrival day, just before the first day of classes, you will need to book your own accommodation privately. However, you should still plan to meet the ESP team at the Lille Europe train station.
Auberge de Jeunesse
12 rue Malpart 59 800 Lille
Tel : 00 33 (0)3 20 57 08 94
109, rue de Saint André, 59000 Lille
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel : 00 33 (0)3 20 06 06 80
When do I have to schedule my return flight?
In order to allow yourself time to pack, get ready, and get to the airport in a reasonable time, we strongly recommend that your return flight is scheduled no sooner than the afternoon of the day following the end of the program. Accommodation will be available for one night after the official end of the program: check Draft Schedule (ESP1 and/or ESP2) for departure day.