One of the first things you need to determine after you are selected to study abroad is your budget. Here are some things to consider:

Travel & Accommodations

After you have been accepted into your program, start pricing flights. The sooner you book your airfare, the better. You can use Google Flights to track different options, but decently priced airfare from Los Angeles to Paris can be found with Norwegian Air, Aer Lingus, Icelandair, and Air France.

Flights: You will be responsible for booking your own flight from LAX to CDG Paris. If you book early using Google Flights or Kayak to compare rates, you can find roundtrip flights for as low as $500. A reasonable estimate if you are purchasing closer to departure is $800-$1000.

Ground Transportation: To get to LAX, students can take the USC shuttle to Union Station and then the LAX FlyAway for a total of $9.75.

The most cost-effective mode of ground transportation in Paris is to purchase the “NAVIGO” one week pass for 21 Euros and 60 cents that allows unlimited travel on all Paris transport systems: buses, metro, express trains, electric buses, and even the funicular at Montmartre. You must bring a small passport-sized photo to put on the back of your NAVIGO pass.

Housing and Facilities: While in Paris, we will be housed in double occupancy rooms. The hotels are directly across the street from each other in the 9th arrondissement on the Right Bank near the Paris Opera House. If for any reason these hotels are full, we will also book overflow rooms at the corner. All four hotels are on the same block, are owned by the same company (Astotel), and you can use their facilities at any location with your room key. These hotel accommodations include a complimentary full buffet breakfast, free and unlimited Wi-Fi access, soda, and bottled water free of charge from the in-room minibar, and every afternoon you can enjoy complimentary soft drinks and snacks at any of their 16 locations around the city. Both Hotel Joyce and Hotel Monterosa turn their dining room (where our buffet breakfast is served each morning) into a free rec room in the afternoon and evening. You may use this space for collaborative group work and planning.

Meals: All breakfasts and afternoon snacks are included in your housing cost. We will have a welcome and farewell dinner together, but otherwise meals will be on your own.

Fundraising Ideas for Study Abroad

One of the best ways to raise funds to study abroad as a student is to get research fellowships. At USC, you can apply for the SOAR and SURF programs. Externally, ProFellow is a database of thousands of research and study fellowships to advance your education domestically and abroad.
Other options:
  • Write a personal letter to alumni in your department. Alumni are often happy to give small donations (as long as you tell them exactly what you are spending the money on). For example, if you say “I need to raise $4,000” and leave it at that, they are less likely to reply. But if you write and say “can you buy this book for me off of our required reading list? Here is our syllabus” or “can you donate money for my plane ticket, I need to raise $250 more dollars” they will often be happy to help in a tangible way. You can also do this with alumni from clubs/ sororities on campus.
  • Another popular option is to use the student expenses/tuition tab on GoFundMe. Send the alumni a personal e-mail, a link to our class website, and provide the link so they know it’s legitimate. You can also include my contact info in e-mails you send alumni.
Here are some other great articles:


Class safety is paramount while we travel abroad. All USC policies are to be recognized while traveling and abroad. We will discuss safety precautions, preparedness, and procedures extensively at our first meeting, but please familiarize yourself with the links below and begin implementing these safety measures. Students will have the cell phone number for the program faculty member.

In the event of an emergency, USC faculty and staff members will contact International SOS, USC’s contracted health and safety emergency service provider for overseas programs at 215-354-5000, 215-942-8226 or The following resources provide detailed information about the university’s general plan for emergency response, which students are responsible for reviewing:

  1. Overseas Study Trips-Destination Restrictions and Crisis Management:
  2. Overseas Emergency Response Plan:

Students must sign the Know Before You Go Informed Consent Form and Medical Treatment Authorization no later than five weeks prior to the program departure date.

Student Health

Students must adhere to all university study abroad health requirements. They must be covered by the USC Aetna Student Health Insurance Plan or the USC Student Health Insurance Plan for Students Studying Overseas, both of which include special health and emergency coverage by International SOS. For more information, visit USC strongly recommends that students schedule medical and dental examinations and/or visit the Travel Clinic at the Engemann Student Health Center ( prior to departure.



Before You Go 

Travel Documents

  • Your Passport needs to be up to date (with six months remaining after your estimated departure date). If you need to order a passport, visit the US State Department Passport Website.
  • You do not need a Visa to go to France if you are a United States Citizen staying for less than 3 months. If you are not a United States Citizen, you might. Check. If you are staying for a full semester (i.e. enrolling in a program in France as a student, you will need a student Visa).
  • Photocopy your travel documents and give one copy to someone you trust in the United States. Pack them in your carry on, along with a pen, as you will likely need to fill out a country entrance card.
  • Pack emergency phone numbers, the address to your consulate, and any other precautionary measures you’ll need
  • Print out all of your boarding passes, museum tickets, and vouchers before you leave so you don’t have to try and locate a printer abroad or go to an internet cafe
  • Bring copies of your health insurance and prescription paperwork. If you need to wear glasses, contacts, or retainers it can also be wise to bring backup documentation of your prescriptions.
  • Familiarize yourself with ground transportation options in Paris 

Money and Electronics

  • Notify your bank that you are traveling out of the country so you do not get a fraud alert
  • Get foreign currency (Euros) directly from your bank before you go (it’s cheaper than the airport)
  • If you use a larger bank, like Bank of America, find out who their affiliates are abroad so you will not be charged to withdraw money at international ATMs
  • Switch your cell phone to a temporary international plan or look into getting a SIM card
  • Password protect all of your electronics
  • Pack surge protectors and electronic adapters / correct plugs. France uses type “E”

Packing List (Beyond basic clothing, consider the following): 

  • Mini first aid kit (including band-aids for long days walking and / or mini flashlight)
  • Sunscreen
  • Electronics: tablet, headphones, computer, phone, camera, relevant chargers
  • Travel laundry detergent
  • Toiletries (beyond the routine, consider bringing baby wipes for public restrooms)
  • Feminine hygiene products & sexual protection
  • Glasses, contacts, contact solution, mouth guards, retainers, inhalers, or any other medical devices you need to function
  • Dress in layers: light sweaters, shirts / blouses, pants, scarves
  • Very comfortable walking shoes
  • Extra socks
  • Travel umbrella and / or poncho
  • Warm jacket with a hood
  • Bathing suit / trunks
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Luggage locks

Things To Do Before You Go 

  • Forward or stop your mail
  • Make sure your rent is paid
  • If leaving the country, you can request a prescription advance
Rhae Lynn Barnes is an Assistant Professor of American Cultural History at Princeton University (2018-) and President of the Andrew W. Mellon Society of Fellows in Critical Bibliography. She is the co-founder and C.E.O. of U.S. History Scene and an Executive Advisor to the documentary series "Reconstruction: America After the Civil War" (now streaming PBS, 2019).

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