Here is a list of some of the frequent asked questions we receive from students about coming to Paris to study with PICA. Check out some of these responses to see if any of them answers your questions. If you should have other questions, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information! PICA Contact Page
All students wishing to study in Paris must meet the following requirements:
• Must be at least 18 years of age
• Possess a high school diploma, or equivalent G.E.D.
• Maintain at least a 2.8 GPA in all college classes.
• Must submit most recent transcript (college transcripts) along with their application.
At this time, Paris Institute of Creative Arts does not offer any financial aid or private scholarships, but there are several other options for students. Check with your home university to see if your financial aid is transferable for study abroad. Otherwise check out our page on study abroad financial aid for other scholarship sources.
3. Do I need to have previous art experience or an art background to attend Paris Institute of Creative Arts?
Our program is open to art majors and non-art majors. We find that the mix of students with backgrounds in Liberal Arts, Visual Arts and Performing Arts allows for very rich interactions between students. Likewise, we have found that liberal arts students with little previous exposure to the visual arts are able to succeed very well in our introductory level classes.
Students arranging housing through Paris Institute of Creative Arts will be sent housing information by e-mail 1-2 weeks before classes begin. If you have questions about housing you can also contact us.
Soon after acceptance into the PICA program, students will be asked to pre-register for their first choice classes along with three alternative courses. Students will then be notified of their course registration two to three weeks before the start of the new semester.
Class schedules will be given out in Paris during the initial on-site orientation.
Each student is different so it’s difficult to recommend a set amount. However, $15-20 per day for your entire stay in Paris is a good starting point. If you plan on traveling at all during your time in Paris these will be in addition to the above mentioned daily recommendation.
There are numerous options for changing Dollars into Euros. Typically the least advantageous is to use currency exchange offices as there are typically high commissions or unattractive exchange rates. Therefore, it is best to instead deal with banks to exchange money. Check with your U.S. bank to see if there is an easy (and inexpensive) option to use an ATM card to withdraw cash. Typically the exchange rates through banks are the fairest. The one issue to be careful about is the withdrawal fee which can be as much as 5 or 10 dollars per withdrawal (regardless of how much you withdraw!). Some U.S. banks have partnerships with banks in France and will waive the withdrawal fee.
Before leaving for Paris, be sure to contact your bank to let them know you’ll be traveling abroad. They can tell you whether your ATM and/or credit card will work properly in Europe. Typically if your ATM card has a Cirrus logo on the back it will work.
If you are arriving at Charles de Gaulle airport on the advised morning, a representative from PICA will meet you at the airport and arrange for transportation into the city. For those arriving at another time, you have the option of taking a taxi from any of the airports which typically will cost at least 45 € for the trip into the city. Otherwise, there are numerous options using public transportation, including the RER Suburban train line for about 10 €.
*Important: If you are arriving before the check-in date, arriving after hours, or over the weekend you are responsible for reserving accommodations at a hotel.
There are many art supply stores in Paris where you will be able to find any supplies you may need. Depending on where you buy your materials in the U.S. it may be more or less expensive than what you might find in Paris. Typically, if you use internet sources in the U.S. (Utrecht, Daniel Smith, Dick Blick for art supplies, B&H Photo, Adorama for photo supplies) the prices may be a little cheaper than in Paris. In most cases it’s probably best to avoid bringing overly heavy materials and instead buy those once in Paris. Photography materials from the big stores in New York can be considerably cheaper than in Paris. If you wish to buy a new (or used) camera, this is typically much cheaper in the U.S. than in Paris.
It is recommended that students have their own digital or film-based camera (for the digital or black and white photo classes) but PICA does have a small number of cameras students can rent during a study period in Paris. It’s best to communicate this need with us early to insure we have a camera available. For digital camera purchase, students should look for a camera with at least 12 megapixel resolution and the possibility of manually adjusting lens apertures and shutter speeds. There are many excellent digital cameras available. Nikon, Canon, Sony and Fuji all make excellent ones. For film cameras Nikon, Canon and Minolta are usually excellent options. If you will be bringing an older camera it’s best to have it checked out before arriving to make sure it’s in a good state.