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dharma.wheel

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  1. Russethouse, thank you for your considerate questions. I know they are generously intended. Thank you too, Loiseau, for raising questions about aspects of life in France that are outside the confines of education.

    Please be reminded that my initial question had nothing to do with anything besides specific Universities and attractive towns with quality colleges and Lycées. Here in the US we are surrounded by guide books to US colleges and Universities, but nothing, of course, about education at any level in France. It did not seem unreasonable to seek that kind of information from individuals living in France.

    Before I was a University professor in NYC for 11 years, I was a researcher for Herman Kahn at the prestigious Hudson Institute. I know how to do research when the information I need is public (or not hard to understand, as I find French train schedules to be....thank you NormanH). I know what official documents are required for my family to relocate to France, I know the threshold of savings I need prove to France we have, I know that we can afford taxes on our retirement income both for the US and for France, I know roughly what our French health care/health insurance will cost (Should one of us encounter a major health need we would return to the US and use the Medicare system), I know roughly what Catholic school and private schools will cost. I know just about everything that Mint, with her sarcastic superiority, assumed that I did not know.

    "Where to purchase modest dwelling 30-minutes from major University" is the title of my thread." Not only do I not have an answer to that question, I have a dreadful feeling of violation and unease from a Nosey Parker who addressed me as though I am an idiot, posts A DEVIL ICON (???), and threw in, for no good reason, hostile remarks about a President of a country who saved France from the Germans and Vichy collaborators and a ridiculous remark about an American tennis player. A player who is a commentator for French radio and who is coaching French player Romanic. Am I to think, "bienvenue au France"? or just conclude, "Words escape me?"
  2. Dear Andy,

    Thank you for taking the time to write such a well-informed, thoughtful, and helpful post. It is much appreciated.

    Thank you, too, the the great number of people who have guided me through this thread, and thank you, NormanH, for the generous train schedules.

    Before I try to answer your questions, though, Andy, I will remind Woolybanana that mint used an angry devil to precede her post to me, made hostile references to an American President and tennis player (what do they have to do with me?) and, instead of asking me for further information, made judgmental and critical assumptions of what I and my husband did and did not know. She wrongly stated (misread) that I intended to come to France alone with my daughter. I do find it sad and ironic that I am shut out and dismissed by several individuals when I was the one who was insulted, misunderstood, and blind--sided with criticism that was wholly uncalled for.

    Andy, My husband and I intend to come to France with our 13 year old daughter who, we imagine, will repeat 8th grade in college. My husband has lived in France (Rennes), worked for 35 years in the French language, assisted his parents who lived in France (in Pezenas) for years, bought and sold their houses himself in French, and is current with today's immigration and health requirements for US citizens to move to France. As I thought I made clear from the beginning, my mission is simply this: to find good schools for our daughter and to settle within commuting distance from those schools. BTW the whole family are Francophiles--my middle daughter will soon be living in Aix--and my eldest daughter is entering a profession that will earn her a good salary; thus, she come to France often.

    Andy, as for "What benefits do we see from moving to France?" they are the following: the US recession of 2006 - ? resulted in the unhappy fact that we will have a very frugal amount of money on which to retire and with witch to send our DD # 3 to college. At our age, the Federal gov't will probably not give her/us enough in loans for four years at a selective US college. Her choices could well be between a French University and an (undesirable) US community college, followed by four years at a less-expensive mediocre college which she would pay for with something like a waitressing job. She wants to study in France and learn French. Saying that asking for "inside knowledge" of those Universities with good reputations" (near one of which we planned to settle)is a "scatter gun approach" is unfair. We do NOT have books in the US assessing French Universities; however, our libraries are teeming with books about very expensive colleges and libraries. From where am I to gleam knowledge about the reputations of Universities? The Universities will not tell you themselves.There are, I found, no websites that assess and compare Universities in France. Only yesterday--after months of research--I found such a site made by the magazine US News and World Report. After Les Grand Eccoles, the ranking put Montpelier and Aix-Marseille quite high. Now they are at the top of my list. Poitiers was ranked much lower than I would have expected (not that I put undue emphasis on rankings). The University websites for Montpelier and Aix-Marseilles show attractive and very widespread programs. "A scatter gun approach"--which is what I was trained to use at the prestigious The Hudson Institute.-- is called research, and I am surprised that it struck a nerve with you. When we sell our house in NY, our retirement options are places like Buffalo or Utica NY (heavy snow) or places like Florida where we would not feel as at home as we would be in France.

    I don't know what other "personal information" would be helpful:

    1. We all/almost all speak French and have spent time in France, plan to, and have worked in France;

    2. We like France better than a lot of the US;

    3. My husband has done weeks of complex house-selling business in France (which mint mocked--sorry!--becausehis experience is "ten years old");

    4. Economically and vis a vis Universite (especially as DD # 3 is happy to live at home) it looks like we will do much better in France than in the US, especially with our retirement income. If we sell our NY house for a good price we should be able to live well but carefully.

    4. Out two older daughters will either be in France for school-year-abroad followed by a career (YES, she will have professional guidance) or can easily travel here;

    I tried to look up Rahinja, Andy, but I could not find it. What does Rahinja mean? I am a practicing Buddhist (Pure Land School).

    Constance
  3. Wow, thanks you guys - I really was flabbergasted with those train schedules. I researched properties in Avignon (didn't know any others on the train line) and found only 7 on the market, all expensive, and all rented.

    Our US "US News and World Report" LOVES to rank things, and ranks U Montpelier very high, just below Les Grandes Ecoles. So I will be looking around Montpellier too. (Warning: I may need train schedule help again in a day or two). Thanks again NormanH et al. THANK YOU FOR ALL THAT TYPING, ANDY!
  4. Greetings! I have spent several hours trying to find a rail (and/or bus) schedule which shows each stop between Avignon and Marseille. If someone can find this, can you post it for me?

    My dozens of attempts ask me to fill in the departure and arrival points. But I have neither because I wish to rent and/or buy a property 60-90m minutes from the Aix-Marseille University. Thus, I need to know the names of all the towns on the route so that I can look at the real estate listings in those towns. Merci beaucoup!
  5. I typed out a polite reply to mint's post full of explanation that revealed my very sound but still-emerging, naturally, plans, sources of information and concrete evidence about my plan. Even within the last 12 hours I have gotten helpful emails from realtors in France, one whom is going to make phone calls for me on Monday to his region's colleges, another who is going to telephone me in NY on Monday.

    Rereading mint's post, I realized how rude it is. Mint makes incorrect assumptions about my family members. I made it clear that BOTH my husband and I were coming to France with our youngest daughter. My independent older daughters have money to travel what is not a great distance.

    Mint is the antithesis of what a forum member should be. A forum is a place where an individual learns from those who are better informed and ELECT to share information. Why bother to type a reply if it is not going to shed enlightenment? Some of the information is not easy to find, and individuals like Norman H and Lehaut have aided me tremendously by pointing to essential websites or offering useful guidance. Why go to the trouble of delivering a claque au visage? I see that mint even went to the trouble of adding an angry devil emoticon to her title to add emphasis to her mean spiritedness.

    This is certainly not the first time I have encountered hostility on social media. I hope this does not deter new friends and new readers from joining this discussion.
  6. Hi Cendrillon, and thanks for writing,

    As for how knowledgeable realtors are about regional schools....ce n'import quoi...but here in the US realtors are expected to know all about the schools. But I can do that research myself.

    My husband is employed full-time in NY and our 3 daughters attend school full-time in the US, so no....we have not been to France for over ten years; we would like to do a school and property search in December. Still, we know France somewhat well. My husband lived in Rennes, travelled widely, and speaks fluently. I have travelled widely and speak passably.

    I have a list of "the cheapest 10 departments (with their average house prices), but I am not "sold" on this list. As I've written earlier, my main concert is to find a range of the best Universities and look at houses and apartments situated on rail lines int the University city (Lyon, Poitiers, Toulouse). Poitou-Charentes is seventh on the list. Anyway, to answer your question specifically, though I have not been able to visit France recently, I and my husband are pretty well aware of the regions.
  7. Hi Gardengirl....thanks! I probably didn't read your post carefully enough. So I will ask the realtors point blank whether, if I buy a house, our daughter is eligible to attend a nearby school, and I assume she will be eligible.

    I switched over to "non EU French residents Q&A" and I see I have an enormous amount of work to do to see if and how we three Americans can make this happen according to US & French rules (VISAs, etc). My husband will be on Social Security, but I have to find out if the Health Insurance I buy for myself and my daughter will be good in France. Plus so much more. But......I don't want to move to an inexpensive Snowbelt USA nowheresville. We want to be in France!
  8. NormanH, thank you for the link; and no, of course, I don't mean to doubt you. After all, I am asking for advice, and I am extremely grateful to those who have contributed to this discussion, and I hope they continue to do so. You're exactly right, I'm looking at this from an American standpoint, and seeing that there is a lot to learn.

    I must say I am very perplexed by the family situation you described, Gardengirl. Do I understand correctly: a family in, say, Brittany, was told by the government that their son of Lycée age had to attend a great distance away from home? Can that happen?

    I am looking at properties in the Poitou-Charentes region where the median house price is 105,200. I have pinpointed nine towns where the railway stops. Am I wrong to assume that if we were to go to France in December to view properties and schools, I may not be able to enroll my daughter in Poitou-Charentes in a school to which I could drive her every day while she lived at home? Merci.
  9. Hi, I've been away. Sorry, I don't understand this:

    Generally, the academy that manages education in the department you live in will determine the Uni (FAC) your child can go to. We come under Caen, so FAC Caen is the automatic choice. It is possible to go to another area, but you will need a special dispensation!!

    1. What "academy" "manages education" and how can they determine the Uni your child can go to? That does not seem possible. Here in NY, I was last year deeply engrossed in researching French Unis for DD #2 as she will be a French major (she got "too good to pass up" financial aid to a US college and will go to Aix for her Junior yr). If we live in France with DD #3, will a district determine what Uni she can go to? That does not sound possible. I must be correct to assume she can attend whatever Uni she wishes to attend, presuming she has Le Bac and good grades and passes the language proficiency test.

    Also, Campus France told us to put aside $1,000/yr for our child's living expenses. That's why I wish DD #3 to live at home. The discussion and the French are a little too dense for me to understand if it is possible for a Uni student to have free lodging and expenses.

    PS researching properties in towns on the rail line out of Poitiers, up to 90 minutes....some nice places.

    Thank you.
  10. Thanks for the clarification, Lehaut. I do understand--and concur--with the point you are making. I am saturated with a wealth of information from what we have here at the US Embassy called "Campus France" and I do find it bizarre how the French Universities are divided up into so many locations and how the course offerings are so restricted to specific locations. And that is a detriment to a child as young as 13 looking forward. Her interest is focused on computers--she won her class' award for Technology--so she does have a special interest. So I need to find the University with the broadest opportunities in a location we can afford. On the one hand it might be frustrating to think that her choices may be limited (she will probably have to live at home), but in world terms we are indeed rich and lucky.

  11. So much to absorb here - much positive, some that shows me I need to probe and research - can't get much done today, but a few quick notes.

    Regarding meeting VISA and other residential requirements, yes we would be fine. My husband's parents retired to Pezenas and we helped them with out that years ago, and yes, I recognize, things may have changed.

    Regarding Universite vs Grand Ecole and course offerings, commute, location, and so forth. Yes, this is what is dominating my thinking and planning, and my daughter's welfare and satisfaction are paramount to us, guiding where we settle and when. To be frank, once we buy a house we are on a very small income; we adopted three amazing daughters from China when we were not young. So our youngest's horizons are somewhat constricted as her two older sisters did amazingly well at small US liberal arts colleges. For our youngest, now in US 8th grade, that is still a possible path but now that her parents will have half their previous income when my husband retires and are older, they (we) will likely not qualify for any more Federal loans, having borrowed for two older daughters. Hence, the scheme for much-cheaper best-quality-we-can find University in France that will accept our youngest with Le Bac and, I assume, the TCF language proficiency test. If we were able to settle near Toulouse or Poitiers both of which I know offer diplomas in her main interests, I would not feel bad imposing one school on her. This was commonplace for New York City dwellers who went to City University in the 1920s-1960s. Besides, she is keen to go and has a carefree que sera sera nature. As for Les Grandes Ecoles, I do not think this daughter would like to attend such an intense school. And she would need to achieve a 3 on the TCF to be admitted to LGE which I don't think is a sure thing for her.

    I need to find out what Lenaut is referring to vis a vis the details in this quotation: " I think what you are suggesting is not possible, nor fair on your daughter. At her age you would be pushed to say which BAC she will take (L, ES or S) and then what subject she would wish to take at FAC or Prepa (if capable) or Bac pro options. Our son did Lycée in Avranches, Prepa at Nantes, GE at Toulouse. The other S and then licence in Physics at Caen. Theoretically all FACs doing the same subject are at the same level."

    I would like to understand what you mean by saying my scheme is "not possible" and "not fair on my daughter." I am easily persuadable if one or both of these things are true, but you go on to say this, which seems to contradict the "not possible" and "not fair" remarks." I know for sure that she would follow through Lycée an academic path--not a vocational path. I have already shown her that Toulouse Paul Sabatier offers a BA in Computer Science, her main interest.

    Leant goes on to say this which is more encouraging and seems to suggest that my scheme is "possible" and fair":

    " I would concentrate on finding somewhere you would like to live, with college nearby (bus routes exists but pickup points are limited) with a decent Lycée, also nearby."

    Yes! Voila! That is our intention! But just not a Grande Ecole, which can cost a great deal of money, as you know!

    In closing, I will have to look up L, ES, FAC, Prepa, etc. All new to me. --Merci encore.
  12. Thank you, interested and kind people! I have to be in NYC all day tomorrow so I will look at all the details you sent and reply to each thought on Thursday.

    "Trains!" I thought during the day. My daughter can take the train into Poitiers or Toulouse or Montpellier. Forget about a car and traffic! France has excellent trains, n'est ce pas? Buses?

    So I am going to print out the train routes for several cities, circle the towns where the trains stop, and look at properties in those towns. Bonne idee, oui ou non?

    Norman, I appreciated your remarks especially because I esteem Bertrand Russell, and Russell was a great friend to the Chinese, and my three Chinese daughters are super-achievers. So it would have been more correct if I had written "where my daughter can obtain by her own efforts and via the bonds she forms with experts in her field--her professors and peers--a first-class education." My husband and I worked with many individuals who obtained their degrees in public French Universities and they were all well-trained and highly-educated. If we had the resources, of course I would prefer to send our daughter to one of Les Grandes Ecoles.  The average US college or University has very average students, and each of the Ivy Leagues (I think) still has Greek Life: Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Dartmouth....what goes on in the fraternities is much in the news. I'm not pointing any fingers, but I hope that at the very least, some of the devoted :"frat boys" learn, in Bertrand Russell's words, that "Drunkenness is temporary suicide." You can go to a "first-class" University in the US and waste your time, or work hard at a low-ranked college and get a "first-class education."

    Enfin, several people mentioned towns and regions I do not know at all....so I can't wait to learn more! A bientot!

  13. Thank you for your reply, idun. Yes, I have looked at properties on two excellent French real estate sites. Our price range is about 125,000-145,000 euros. For that much I think our best bet would be an apartment in a villa-style building. I have seen many such offerings. Two, even three bedrooms, and sometimes even a garage. New dwellings, clean, wood floors, etc. And then there are small cottages "well maintained," but seeing is believing. But there are literally hundreds of such towns. And from the US I have no way to gauge the safety and society of such towns, the traffic, and, ideally, the public transportation to, for instance Universite de Toulouse. I was kinda hoping that some nice people already living in France would recommend a vicinity, say, around Grenoble....or Rheims....or Rennes....I don't know? We simply need a small dwelling within comfortable, safe commuting distance from a first-class University. Can anyone suggest some locations, s'il vouz plait?
  14. My husband and I are retirement age and wish to relocate to France with our 13 year old daughter who will repeat 8th grade (college, I think), attend public (or perhaps private) Lycée, and enroll in/commute from home to a French University that offers a broad range of subjects. We cannot afford Paris and prefer a picturesque, safe, low traffic rural village. The Universities that attract us are Lyon, Toulouse, Poitiers, Grenoble, Montpellier, Avignon (costly dwelling?). We would dearly love it if people recommend towns in which we could find a dwelling and where our daughter could prepare for University. My husband lived in France and is fluent; my French is good; our daughter is very excited by the idea of relocating to France as French culture is familiar to her (from afar) and she will have had two year of French. We know to expect a period of adjustment and stress for her, but the big picture tells us that this would be a good move.
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