No matter where you live, a culinary school education can be possible for you!
Students from 23 different countries have attended Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts over the years, either at one of our campus locations or in our industry-leading online programs.1
Choosing to attend school in a different country is a major decision, which can come with some complex logistics. To clear up any confusion or misconceptions, here’s what you should know about culinary school for international students!
Escoffier currently offers degrees and/or diplomas in five different disciplines. Whether you’re interested in becoming a cook or a chef, a baker or pastry chef, starting a vegan restaurant, becoming a health coach, or working in restaurant management, an Escoffier education may be one of the tools that could help you achieve your goals.
Here is a quick look at the five basic programs currently available at Escoffier.2
Degrees and diplomas in Culinary Arts can help prepare students for a future in food. The curriculum explores traditional French culinary techniques, updated with contemporary cooking methods and technologies. Students complete coursework in basic culinary skills, as well as business curricula like purchasing and cost control.
Aspiring bakers and pastry chefs explore artisan breads, cakes, cookies, and desserts of all types with a degree or diploma in Pastry Arts. From the science behind the bake to advanced decorating techniques, pastry students take a detail-oriented approach to the foundations of baking and desserts.
Plant-Based Culinary Arts
Cooking goes meat-free with Plant-Based Culinary Arts. These plant-based programs focus on seasonal ingredients, sustainability, and meal composition. Students may also explore substitutions for common animal-based products.
“I like learning online. I just go to the supermarket on Mondays and I buy all the things that I need. If I’m not able to find what I need in Colombia, I send [a note] to the chef and she tells me what to change.”*
Maria Rodriguez, Escoffier Plant-Based Culinary Arts Student
Holistic Nutrition & Wellness
If you dream of a career in the wellness industry, a degree or diploma in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness could be the education you need. With coursework in nutrition, healthy living, mindfulness, and culinary technique, these programs could prepare a nutrition-focused cook or a future health coach for their career.
Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management
If you’ve got your sights set on a management role, then an online associate degree in Hospitality & Restaurant Operations Management may help you to get there. This business-focused degree includes coursework in data analytics, guest experience, and employee management to help graduates be more effective leaders in the hospitality industry.
At Escoffier, there are two ways for both domestic and international students to study. On-campus students may choose to complete their programs at our Austin, Texas or Boulder, Colorado campuses. Students gather with their fellow learners and chef instructors and complete both classroom and kitchen lessons during a full day on campus.
But there’s another option: online culinary school. For international students who want a U.S.-based education without the extra steps of securing a student visa and transplanting to another country, Escoffier’s online culinary programs, which are offered via the Boulder campus, could be the answer. These practical programs include a similar basic curriculum as on-campus courses, but they are uniquely tailored to the online platform.
“The quality of chef instructors is so good. It’s very personal. They really join hands with you one-on-one, talk to you, and walk you through every step of the program. I could reach out to any Chef Instructor whenever I needed. I keep learning each and every time I am in need of knowledge from Escoffier.”*
Chef Arnold Safari, Escoffier Online Culinary Arts Graduate and International Student
Here’s how online learning works:
At the beginning of each school week, students start with background reading and demonstration videos. Then they attend live video lessons with their Chef Instructors. This is the primary classroom portion of their course, where students get the benefit of their instructors’ expertise and the opportunity to ask questions. Next, students receive their cooking assignments and get to work, right in their home kitchens!
Since the Chef Instructors aren’t there to taste the food, Escoffier has created an innovative way for students to get feedback. Students take photos at preset stages during the recipe process and write a narrative assessing the cooking process and finished dish. Chef Instructors use this information to evaluate student dishes, and may provide personalized video feedback with tips for improvement.
The cost of culinary school at Escoffier is the same for international students and domestic students, ranging from $17,258 to $35,685 for the 2022-2023 academic year depending on the program. This investment in your education could open doors in the future and help you start your culinary career with good habits and a strong foundation.
However, there are some additional costs that international students must consider if they plan to attend school on-campus. This includes their travel costs, like flights and a passport. They will have to secure lodging, which could include the cost of an apartment rental. Students must also prove English proficiency, which may require completing a course or taking a formal test—both of which may come with costs.
Further costs are associated with securing a student visa (see How to Apply to Culinary School as an International Student, below). These fees currently add up to approximately $500, but are subject to change.
Applying to culinary school as an international student is a multi-step process, due to government regulations and guidelines for non-citizens.
Here is a step-by-step guide to applying to Escoffier as an international student. Planning to attend online? You only need to complete steps one through three! But if you’re planning to attend in Austin or Boulder, you must complete all eight steps. Keep in mind that visas cannot be issued to students who plan to study online.
1. Apply for Admissions to Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
The basic application process is the same for international students as domestic students. Once you’ve selected a program and a campus, you can apply for culinary school in just a few minutes.
2. Provide Proof of High School Graduation or Equivalent
All Escoffier students must show proof of high school graduation or an approved equivalent. To make sure your documentation is considered qualified, have your graduation document evaluated for U.S. equivalency by a translation company approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services.
3. Provide Proof of English Proficiency
Escoffier’s courses are taught in English, so students must be able to speak, read, and understand English. There are a number of ways you can demonstrate your proficiency.
- Demonstrate a Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR) level of B2 or higher
- Complete a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) with an Internet-Based Test score of 65 or higher, Paper-Based Test score of 500 or higher, or Computer-Based Test score of 173 or higher
- Complete a test with the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) with a level of 6 or higher
- Earn a Cambridge English: First (FCE) grade of a C or higher or Cambridge English: Advanced (CAE) grade of a CEFR B2 or higher
- Earn a grade of C or better in an intermediate English as a Second Language (ESL) course
- Graduate from an English-speaking secondary institution
- Provide evidence of having completed 8 semester hours or 12 quarter hours with at least a C (70%) average at a United States Department of Education (USDE)-recognized postsecondary institution in which English was the language of instruction.
If you don’t yet have the necessary proof of your English proficiency, you may be able to get “conditional acceptance” to Escoffier. This allows you to start the application process, but you won’t receive final acceptance until you’ve sent your proof of proficiency.
4. Provide Financial Affidavit of Support
In order to receive a student visa (which we’ll discuss in Step 8), prospective international students must show that they have the financial means to live and study in the United States. This is because (as we’ll discuss in Step 8) student visas either don’t allow students to work, or put limits on where and how much they can work during their time in the U.S. Students must demonstrate financial resources of at least $35,000 for our diploma programs, or $57,000 for our Associate degree programs.
This proof requires a sworn Financial Affidavit of Support and supporting bank statements in U.S. dollars from within the past six months. The affidavit can be in your own name if you have the funding, or it can be from a family member or sponsor who is willing to support you financially.
5. Provide Additional Documents Required for Transfer Students (If Applicable)
If you’re an international student transferring from another U.S. school to Escoffier, you must provide the following:
- A copy of your current I-20 from your previous school (see step #6)
- Your passport
- A copy of your I-94 card (which you would have received upon arrival in the United States by the Department of Homeland Security)
- Transfer Verification form (Escoffier can provide a copy of this form, and it must be filled out by the student and their international student advisor at their current school)
- College-level transcripts for possible transfer credits
If you’re not transferring to Escoffier from another U.S.-based institution, you can skip this step!
6. Escoffier Issues Your Form I-20
If you are accepted to Escoffier, you will be issued a Form I-20: Certificate of Eligibility for Nonimmigrant Students. You’ll need this form in order to apply for a student visa to enter the United States.
Form I-20 will include details about your school and program start date. International students can only enter the United States 30 days or less before their program starts.
7. Pay the I-901 SEVIS Fee
The Student Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) is a database that allows the U.S. government to monitor international students in the United States. Students must pay a fee to register with SEVIS. This fee is $350 for most students, as of October 2022.**
This fee can only be paid after you receive your I-20 form from Escoffier, as that document will include the necessary SEVIS ID number.
8. Apply for Your M-1 or F-1 Student Visa in Your Home Country
There are several types of student visas available. At Escoffier, students will need either an M-1 or F-1 student visa. To get a visa, students must apply and complete an interview with the U.S. consulate in their home country. They must have their Form I-20 at the interview.
M-1 Visas for Austin, Texas or Boulder, Colorado Diploma Students
Diploma students at both Escoffier campuses will need an M-1 visa. This visa allows students to attend school at Escoffier but prohibits students from accepting any paid employment while they are enrolled in school in the United States. They may accept an unpaid position, which will allow them to complete their culinary externships.
After completing their programs, graduates may do up to six months of “practical training.” The rules regarding this training are complex, and it requires the completion of several forms on or before specific deadlines. Get more information about practical training here.
F-1 Visas for Austin, Texas Associate Degree Students
Associate degree students at Escoffier’s Austin campus need an F-1 visa. This visa has specific rules regarding work as well, but they vary based on how far the student has advanced in their program.
After the Student’s First Academic Year
Students have two options for off-campus work:
Pre-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT): This program allows students to work off-campus part-time (up to 20 hours per week) in an approved program while school is in session. Students may work full-time when school is not in session.
Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT): After completing their studies, students may apply to work in an approved program for a part-time or full-time position. F-1 students are eligible for up to one year of post-completion practical training.
Wherever you live, your dream of a culinary education can be within reach! Even if traveling to the United States is not an option for you, an online education with Escoffier can allow international students to get the same in-depth culinary training from expert Chef Instructors who know the industry inside and out.
If you have additional questions about culinary school for international students, we can help. Contact us to get all the information you need to make a smart decision about your future.
To learn more about attending culinary school, try these articles next:
- From Kenya to Colorado: Chef Arnold Safari on Starting a Restaurant During COVID-19
- Escoffier 101: Everything You Need to Know About Culinary School
- 5 Important Things to Know Before Starting Culinary School
*Information may not reflect every student’s experience. Results and outcomes may be based on several factors, such as geographical region or previous experience.
**Tuition rates are subject to change. Check Escoffier’s Tuition & Fees page for up-to-date pricing.
1International population data current as of July 2022
2As of October, 2022