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UC Center Paris

French & European Studies

- Fall

Language & Culture (Intensive Track)

- Summer

Language & Culture (Semi-Intensive Track)

- Summer

This guide was created to help you navigate the different aspects of travelling abroad as a UCEAP student. All important aspects of attending university in your host country are addressed here, including academic information, extension of UCEAP participation, cultural awareness, orientation, transportation, finances and much more.
Remember to also visit the Participants section of the UCEAP website for important information and deadlines.

While UCEAP endeavors to keep the information updated and accurate, all program information should be considered in conjunction with program-specific operational correspondence which may contain the most up to date information. There may be times where UCEAP will need to change this information and it will often be updated online. Student is responsible for reviewing all information shared through the program guides and by UCEAP staff in California and abroad, and partners abroad. UCEAP reserves the right to make changes to its programs, whenever, in our sole judgment local conditions so warrant, in response to local circumstances that could substantially change some parts of the program, or if we deem it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our program participants.

Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network

Local UCEAP Support

Campus EAP Office

The Campus EAP Office coordinates recruitment, student selection, orientations, and academic advising; and serves as your primary contact during the application process.

UCEAP Systemwide Office

The UCEAP Systemwide Office establishes and operates programs and coordinates UCEAP administration for all UC campuses from its headquarters in Goleta, California. You will work closely with the following Systemwide Office staff:
Program Advisors provide academic and operational program information to you and your campus as well as administrative support for all aspects of your participation.
Program Specialists manage the logistics of the program. They coordinate document requirements, visa application instructions, health and safety precautions, acceptance and placement by host institutions, arrival and onsite orientation, and housing arrangements.
Academic Staff advise on academic policies, review courses taken abroad for UC credit, and document your registration, grades, petitions and academic records.
Student Finance Accountants assist primarily with UCEAP statements, program fee collection, and financial aid disbursements (in conjunction with your campus Financial Aid Office).

Contact Information

Program Advisor
Rachelle Gonzalez​​ 
Phone: (805) 893-4255; E-mail:
Operations Specialist
Katerina Georgieva 
Phone: (805) 893-4255; E-mail:
Academic Specialist
Lauren Nestler
Phone: (805) 893-4683; E-mail:
Academic Coordinator
Emily Stewart
Phone: (805) 893-4683; E-mail:
Student Finance Accountant
Ben Kinman
Phone: (805) 893-4812; E-mail:
UCEAP Systemwide Office
6950 Hollister Avenue, Suite 200
Goleta, CA 93117-5823
Phone: (805) 893-4762; Fax: (805) 893-2583

UCEAP Online

Bookmark your Participants program page. This resource lists requirements and policies you need to know before you go abroad, including your Predeparture Checklist, UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Program Calendar, UCEAP Student Budgets, and payment instructions.
Connect with us! Join our Facebook network via the UCEAP France page.

Study Centers Abroad

UCEAP programs in Paris are directed by a UC faculty member at the UC Paris Study Center. The Faculty Director and staff will advise you on academic matters, assist with housing, and provide information on cultural opportunities. Student services and activities for the UC Center program are provided by ACCENT (International Consortium for Academic Programs Abroad) in consultation with UCEAP.

UCEAP Paris Study Center

Professor Rachel Jean-Baptiste, France Faculty Director
UC Paris Study Center
89 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine
75011 Paris, France
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011 33) 1 49 28 54 00
Phone (calling from Paris): 01 49 28 54 00

Phone Number Codes

U.S. international code ........... 11 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
France country code .............. 33
City code: Included in city phone number.  
Drop the initial 0 when dialing from the U.S.

Approximate Time Difference

Add 9 hours (between September 30 and October 30, add 8 hours)

Office Closure

The Study Center office in Paris is closed from August 1–15, 2017.
Academic Information
Program Overview

​Summer Language & Culture, UC Center Paris

This language and culture program is designed especially for the University of California and taught by experienced French language instructors. Courses are demanding. You will be in the classroom or on required site visits and excursions Monday through Thursday.  You are expected to attend all field exercises and excursions, which are integral components of the courses. All students will enroll in an upper-division culture course taught in English that covers topics in French culture with an emphasis on either the humanities or social sciences (4 quarter/2.7 semester UC units). This program has two separate language tracks: Intensive Track and Semi-Intensive Track. 
See the Paris Study Center website for complete course descriptions and syllabi from previous years.

Intensive Track

If you are above the introductory level of French, you will receive an electronic language assessment prior to departure. Once onsite, you will take a placement exam to finalize your level of language proficiency. You will then be placed in the appropriate language class. The language course levels correlate roughly with the lower-division elementary and intermediate designations at UC.
For the seven weeks you are on this program, you will spend Monday through Thursday mornings and afternoons in language classes taught by resident Parisians and in lectures and activities related to your culture course. There will be occasional required events and excursions in the afternoons and evenings, and on some Fridays. In addition to the culture course described above, you will take two sequential French language courses worth 5 quarter/3.3 semester UC units each.
You will receive a total of 14 quarter/9.3 semester UC units on the program (three courses).

Semi-Intensive Track

The semi-intensive track is exclusively for students with no French language background. For the seven weeks you are on this program, you will spend Monday through Thursday mornings and afternoons in language classes taught by resident Parisians and in lectures and activities related to your culture course. There will be occasional required events and excursions in the afternoons and evenings, and on some Fridays. In addition to the culture course described above, you will take one French language course worth 5 quarter/3.3 semester UC units.
You will receive a total of 9 quarter/6 semester UC units on the program (2 courses).

Attendance Policy

This program has a very strict attendance policy. You are required to attend class, arrive punctually, and participate actively in all of your courses. Roll will be taken at every course meeting. Review the Academic Handbook provided at your orientation for more information on allowed absences and grade penalties.

Pass/No Pass Policy

You may choose to take one course P/NP.
Most campus departments prohibit the P/NP grading option for any course in the major. It is your responsibility to be aware of your UC campus and department regulations, restrictions, or limitations regarding P/NP, and to plan coursework accordingly.
For more information on this policy, see the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.



Fall French & European Studies, UC Center Paris

The curriculum is designed by UC faculty with the objective of providing an academic foundation for French and European studies.  

An eleven-day French language and culture practicum provides an introduction to Paris and the practical use of French. For the semester, you will continue to study French and enroll in two or three upper-division courses in the humanities and social sciences. Courses focus on Paris, France, and European studies, and are taught by scholars from institutions in the Paris area.

You will enroll in the following courses:

  • French language and culture practicum: 4.5 quarter/3 semester UC units
  • Intensive French language course: 6 quarter/4 semester UC units
  • Two or three culture courses: 5 quarter/3.3 semester UC units each

You are required to take a full-time course of study while abroad. 20.5 - 25.5 quarter/13.7 - 17 semester UC units are required; four-five courses. 

Attendance Policy

You are required to attend class, arrive punctually, and participate actively in all of your courses. Roll will be taken at every course meeting. Review the Academic Handbook provided at your orientation for more information on attendance.

Pass/No Pass Policy  

If you are taking four courses, you may choose to take one of those courses P/NP. If you are taking five courses, you may choose to take two of those courses P/NP. 
Most campus departments prohibit the P/NP grading option for any course in the major. It is your responsibility to be aware of your UC campus and department regulations, restrictions, or limitations regarding P/NP, and to plan coursework accordingly.
For more information on this policy, see the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.  
Academic Culture
Course Information

Registering for Courses

You will complete your course registration prior to departure. The Academic Coordinator will send you an email with instructions on how to sign up for your courses. There will be an electronic language assessment prior to departure for students who are above the introductory level of French. You can find extended course descriptions on the following pages:


Summer Program

Fall Program

The culture courses may fulfill general education and breadth requirements as well as major requirements in the fields of art history, literature, communications, history, political science, and economics. See the UC Paris website for complete course descriptions and syllabi from previous years.

Grades for the summer program are usually available by mid-September.

Grades for the fall program are usually available by late January.

For general information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Extending your UCEAP participation may be possible. The following extension options are available:
  • UC Center Paris Language & Culture summer to UC Center Paris French & European Studies fall semester   
  • UC Center Paris French & European Studies fall semester to Bordeaux Language & Culture spring semester
  • Eligibility: In order to extend in this option, you must have completed 2 quarters/1 semester of French at your UC campus (or equivalent) before you start the Paris program.
  • UC Center Paris French & European Studies fall semester to University of Bordeaux Coursework in French spring semester
  • Eligibility: In order to extend in this option, you must have completed one year of French at your UC campus (or equivalent) before you start the Paris program.
  • UC Center Paris French & European Studies fall semester to University of Bordeaux Coursework in English spring semester
    Eligibility: In order to extend in this option, you must have completed no more than 2 quarters/1 semester of French at your UC campus (or equivalent) before you start the Paris program. 
  • UC Center Paris French & European Studies fall semester to University of Lyon 3, Coursework in English spring semester
    Eligibility: In order to extend in this option, you must have completed no more than 2 quarters/1 semester of French at your UC campus (or equivalent) before you start the Paris program. 
  • UC Center Paris French & European Studies fall semester to Univ. of Lyon spring semester
    Eligibility: In order to extend in this option, you must have completed one year of French at your UC campus (or equivalent) before you start the Paris program. 
  • UC Center Paris French & European Studies fall semester to Sciences Po spring semester
  • Eligibility: In order to extend in this option, you must be majoring in and have a strong academic background in political science or a related field. Refer to the list of eligible majors for Sciences Po. You must also have a minimum 3.2 GPA and completed at least two years of university course work (high school AP credit does not count).
Please note that you must meet the GPA requirement of the extension program at the time of application to the first program.
If you are planning to extend from the UC Center Paris fall semester program to any of the programs in Bordeaux or Lyon, be mindful that the progress you make with your French during the fall program in Paris will determine whether you can extend to Bordeaux or Lyon and into which option. The Paris Study Center will conduct an evaluation in early October before your extension to Bordeaux or Lyon is approved.

Plan Ahead to Extend

If you are considering extension, have a Departmental and College Preliminary Approval to Extend (DPA) form approved prior to departure.
The UCEAP Systemwide Office and the Study Center must approve your extension request once you are abroad in order to finalize the extension. Approval is based on a number of factors, including academic performance, the support of your UC campus department, language acquisition, and available space at the host institution. To initiate the extension process once abroad, make an appointment with the Study Center.
Note that due to France visa restrictions, you must have a preapproved DPA form to extend your stay in France, and you will need to apply for a long-stay visa that covers the entire length of your anticipated stay, including the extension term. (This does not in any way obligate you to extend; there is no penalty if you get a visa for a longer period of time and later decide not to extend.) It is not possible to extend a visa after arrival in France. Instructions for obtaining the student visa are included in the Student Visa Instructions in your UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist.
Once your extension has been approved, UCEAP will notify your UC campus registrar, Financial Aid Office, and Campus EAP Office. For information about the steps you need to take in regards to finances, see the Extension of Participation chapter in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Cultural Awareness
Educate Yourself
Get acquainted with your new host city, country, and culture before you leave the U.S. Travel guides and travel-related websites are excellent resources. Many guides provide background information about the region’s history and culture. The following guides provide a wealth of travel information: Lonely Planet’s France: A Travel Survival Kit, Shoestring Guide to Western Europe, The Rough Guide to France, Michelin Guides (Red and Green), Baedeker’s France, Fodor’s France, and Frommer’s France.
Gain or brush up on your general knowledge of French history and culture and prepare yourself for your academic program by reading books like The Discovery of France (2008); Sixty Million Frenchmen Can’t Be Wrong: Why We Love France but Not the French (2000) and The Bonjour Effect (2016), both by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow; Fragile Glory: A Portrait of France and the French (1991) by Richard Bernstein; and Multi-Ethnic France (2007) by Alex Hargreaves.
You may also consider reading two books written by a UCEAP France alumna, Meredith Escudier. Meredith is the author of Scene in France: A to Z (2014) which paints portraits of ordinary French folks through the telling of various vignettes, and Frenchisms for Francophiles (2014) which is a compilation of 50 columns devoted to French expressions. 
Improve your language skills. The more French you know before leaving for France, the easier your time abroad will be. Prior to departure, spend time working to improve your French. Even though you may know the language, you may have trouble understanding people initially because they may speak fast, have a regional accent, use colloquial terms, etc. To prepare for this, go beyond reading and studying French and look for opportunities to speak and listen to the language. Stream French music on your listening devices from sites like Fun Radio or France Culture and French television from sites like TV5 Monde, M6, or Arte.
Keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers, magazines, and journals. This will also help you to understand the local culture and history. The following resources will help you prepare before departure.

Recommended Periodicals

You may also fine certain websites like (in French or English) and Paris Update (in English) useful to about cultural events going on in your city.
Also, familiarize yourself with the UC Paris website, especially the Student Life page, which has links to great student resources.
The French are very attached to certain formalities, such as shaking hands frequently, exchanging light kisses on the cheeks several times when meeting friends, and using expressions of courtesy like bonjour, au revoir, and merci, followed by monsieur, madame, or mademoiselle when in public situations. You can avoid misunderstandings by observing closely and conforming to some of these customs.
The student society is more relaxed than the society at large, and once initial contact is made, you should have little difficulty socializing with young French people. Students frequently go out in groups. UC students have found social networking apps such as Meetup to be great ways to meet French people.
Concealment Act
The French Concealment Act prohibits the wearing of the full-face veil in public places in the territory of the French Republic. However, hijabs are very common and unlikely to lead to any specific harassment in France. Students wearing hijabs in France may encounter stares, though not likely any outright hostility. If you encounter any kind of hostility, contact the UC Study Center staff immediately.
Official Start Date & Mandatory Orientation
Attendance at all orientation sessions is mandatory (per the UCEAP Student Agreement, Section 10). If you miss the Study Center orientation, you may be dismissed from UCEAP.
Your program begins at a predetermined place, time, and date. If you fail to appear on the Official Program Start Date, you are subject to dismissal from the program (Student Agreement, Section 10). The Official Program Start Date is provided in the program calendar, which you can access via your Participants program page. You can find more detailed arrival information on the Arrival Information Sheet in the UCEAP online Pre-Departure Checklist.
Travel Planning
Travel to Your Host Country
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
UCEAP strongly recommends purchasing changeable round trip tickets, which will allow you to make changes to your return flight for a fee. UCEAP discourages purchasing one way tickets, as your Program Budget is based on a changeable round trip student fare, which is generally less expensive. Carefully research airfare rules prior to purchasing a flight. Standby and courier fares are not appropriate. Plan for this expense. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid office will reserve or pay for your ticket. If you are on financial aid, you will need to purchase a plane ticket before you receive a financial aid disbursement.
Most airline tickets are good for one year only. When buying round-trip tickets, purchase tickets that allow changes to the return date. If you do not make round-trip arrangements, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up fast and economy-fare seats are booked early.
You are responsible for reserving and purchasing your tickets (even if you are on full financial aid). Your Financial Aid Office is not responsible for purchasing tickets. You are strongly urged to purchase a changeable airline ticket. Standby tickets are not appropriate for EAP.
The UCEAP program calendar, which is located on your Participants program page online, lists the official start date for your program. You will need to arrive at the specified location in France on time on the official start date. Detailed arrival information is provided in the Arrival Instructions in your UCEAP online Pre-Departure Checklist.
Flights are routinely changed or canceled. Confirm your flight schedule about two weeks before departure. Your UCEAP insurance includes coverage for certain travel-related contingencies such as delayed flights and late or lost baggage. Review the UCEAP Insurance Plan brochure thoroughly for details.
The start date of the program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications in your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges incurred for independent travel arrangements. In order to be kept informed of any program changes, update MyEAP with any changes in your address, phone number, or e-mail address. Your program requires that you submit a Travel Itinerary Form (see the online Pre-Departure Checklist).

Financial Aid Students

Your financial aid package is calculated using your specific UCEAP Program Budget. The estimated round-trip airfare amount is based on the cost of a changeable student ticket to your host country. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Program Budget, notify your financial aid counselors. Neither UCEAP nor the Financial Aid Office can guarantee that the additional cost will be funded by financial aid.

Avoid Travel Hassles

Do not ask others to carry any items abroad for you (laptop, camera, extra bags, etc.) and do not volunteer to do so for others. Airlines may not allow you to take them, or customs abroad may charge you a high duty. This is particularly a concern with electronic goods.
Identify each item of your luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and destination. To avoid theft, never leave your luggage unattended. Always pack your prescribed medication in your carry-on luggage along with the prescription; do not pack it in checked luggage where it could be lost or stolen.
The UCEAP Insurance Plan includes a personal property benefit; however, it is your responsibility to review the benefits before departure and determine whether or not the coverage will suit your needs. You may decide to purchase additional coverage.
Craigslist France is not as legitimate as Craigslist USA and should not be used to secure housing, be it temporary or permanent.
Travel Documents


If you are a U.S. citizen staying in France beyond 90 days, you need a visa to study in France. In order to obtain a visa, you must first possess a current passport that is valid at least three months beyond the end date of the UCEAP program. If you are participating in the UC Paris summer program and are definitely not going to extend to the fall semester program, then you do not need to obtain a visa.
The UCEAP Systemwide Office provides information about obtaining the appropriate visa in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. It is not possible to apply for a visa after your arrival in France (i.e., if you enter the country as a tourist, you cannot switch to a student visa after arrival). You must obtain the appropriate visa before leaving the U.S. If there is even a chance you may extend your participation in UCEAP France, you must apply for a long-stay visa that covers the entire length of your anticipated stay, including the extension term. (This does not in any way obligate you to extend; there is no penalty if you get a visa for a longer period of time and later decide not to extend.) Once you have obtained your long-stay visa, verify that the expiration date is later than the end date of your program.
You will submit various documents to Campus France and the French consulate when you apply for a visa. The documents submitted should be returned to you. If the documents are not returned, request them immediately. Since you must take these documents to France, make copies of all documents before submitting them to the French consulate. You will need the documents after arrival.
Non-U.S. Citizens: If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact a French consulate immediately to determine your specific visa requirements. Requirements may differ depending on your country of citizenship, and the process may take longer than it does for U.S. citizens.


You will be required to submit an OFII (Office Français de l’Immigration et de l’Intégration) form when you apply for your visa if you fit one of the following descriptions:
  • You will be staying in France for more than six months (180 days or more).
  • You are considering extending to a spring semester or academic year program, so that your potential stay in France will be more than six months (180 days or more).
  • You will be staying in France for a period of time between four and six months (for a total duration of 91–180 days) and wish to be allowed to work in France while studying (see the Working Abroad section of this guidebook).
Refer to the Student Visa Instructions in the UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist for instructions on how to complete the OFII form, and bring it with you to your visa appointment at the French consulate (if required). The French consulate will complete their section of the form and return it to you. It is essential that you bring your completed OFII form with you to France. Do not send the OFII form to the Prefecture de Police upon arrival in France. Depending on which program you attend, you will be instructed to either give this form to the Study Center administrator or to another office that will handle your titre de séjour processing.

Titre de Séjour (Residence Permit)

If you are required to submit the OFII form with your visa application (see previous section), you will need to obtain a titre de séjour after arrival in France. The titre de séjour is a sticker placed in your passport. It must be carried at all times. Study Center or host institution staff will provide the necessary instructions for obtaining the titre de séjour.
The cost of the titre de séjour is expected to be about €60 and is paid in the form of a tax stamp (timbre fiscal), which you can purchase online, at a tabac, or at a local trésorerie générale. The cost is neither covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Plan nor the UCEAP student fees. The titre de séjour is provided when all of the required documents have been examined by the OFII Office. Once you receive your titre de séjour, your visa will become valid through the date indicated on the visa, and you will be a legal resident of France.
As part of the titre de séjour application process, students in programs in Paris will be required to have a medical exam after arrival. This is in addition to the health clearance you are required to obtain before departure. 
If you are not required to submit the OFII form (i.e., your stay in France will be within 91–180 days and you will not work in France), you will receive a visa that says “dispense temporaire de titre de séjour” (temporary waiver of titre de séjour), and you will not need to obtain a titre de séjour.
With the Attestation de Dépôt provided by the OFII office after you initially apply for the titre de séjour, or if you have a dispense temporaire de titre de séjour, you can leave France but cannot reenter if there is a passport inspection at the border once your visa has expired. Identity checks occur frequently; you risk being deported if you do not have the titre de séjour or dispense temporaire de titre de séjour. You must carry your passport and titre de séjour at all times. The French are becoming increasingly stringent about immigration and foreigner status in France. Even those with student status are subject to the laws.

Undocumented Students and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Students

Consult with an immigration attorney free of charge on your campus to determine if study abroad is right for you.

If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Berkeley, contact the Undocumented Student Program

If you are currently enrolled as a student at UC Davis, UC Irvine, UCLA, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC San Francisco, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz, contact the UC Undocumented Legal Services Center at
Packing Tips
The UCEAP Program Budget does not include funds to purchase clothing abroad.
When traveling, pack your passport, visa, ticket, prescription medications with their prescription, money, and other important travel documents in your carry-on luggage. Keep photocopies in a separate location. Scan the informational and visa pages of your passport and e-mail yourself the document; keep the file in your e-mail inbox and not on your computer desktop so that you can more readily retrieve a copy if it is lost or stolen.
Never put valuables or prescription medication in your checked luggage. Leave extra credit cards at home and carry only what is necessary. You will not need to carry your California driver’s license or your Social Security card.
The UCEAP Insurance Plan does offer some coverage for personal property; however, it is your responsibility to determine if the plan provides enough coverage to suit your needs. You must research this yourself prior to departure to decide whether or not you should purchase additional coverage. To avoid personal property theft, never leave your luggage unattended.


  • Photocopies and scans of important documents (informational and visa pages of passport, receipts for travelers checks, etc.)
  • One extra change of clothing and toiletry kit (packed in your carry-on)
  • Warm clothing (thermal underwear, waterproof winter coat, etc.)
  • Summer clothing (it can be very hot through September)
  • Items of clothing with multiple uses that can be easily layered
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes
  • Reference French grammar book
  • Towels
  • Umbrella
  • Prescription medication (packed in carry-on); see the Health chapter for more information
  • If relevant, an extra pair of prescription glasses or contact lenses, as they are expensive in France


  • Dressy outfit for evenings, formal events, and outings (museums, theater, etc.)
  • Laptop and recovery disks; adapters (see Computers in this chapter for details)
  • Lightweight gifts for new friends and hosts (suggestions: Frisbees; T-shirts with city, state, or campus logos; UC pens or pencils; baseball caps; California postcards, posters, or scenic calendars; sealed local food products such as California almonds, honey, mustard, Ghirardelli chocolate)
Travel lightly. You will have to carry all of your luggage through customs. Be sure to check baggage allowances with your airline to determine their restrictions. Most U.S.-based airlines charge a fee for each bag you check. Oversized and overweight luggage (typically defined as over 50 pounds) also requires an additional fee. Ideally, aim to travel with one large suitcase, but make sure it does not go over the weight limit.
You will be responsible for carrying your own bags quite some distance, including to your final residence. Some apartment buildings do not have elevators. In addition, most cities in Europe are not set up with wheelchair ramps. Consequently, luggage may need to be carried up flights of stairs or lifted frequently. Keep your luggage with you at all times while traveling. It is expensive to ship bags home or consign them at an airport or train station, and many airport and train station storage lockers are now closed for security reasons. Most students find that they can get by on much less than they brought. In addition, many students find that a large backpack (not an external frame backpack) is more convenient than a suitcase. Backpacks are especially handy when traveling by train.


If you are in a summer, fall, or year program, it will be hot when you arrive in France. Temperatures sometimes reach the 80s and low 90s (ºF), depending on the location. However, France will become cold and wet later in the fall and throughout the winter. Snow showers are also likely during the winter. If you are in the spring program, it will be cold when you arrive. Pack the appropriate clothing based on the months that you will be in France.
Typically, California winter coats are too thin for cold winters in France. Be sure to take a durable coat or buy one in France. However, be aware that clothing is often more expensive in France and the UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for the purchase of clothing abroad.
Europeans tend to dress up more than Americans and generally do not wear sweatpants outside the home. You may feel more comfortable if you dress to fit in. Wearing dressy clothes is obviously not practical for everyday purposes, and you can get by wearing shirts, blouses, or sweaters with pants or nice jeans.
Laundry facilities are expensive in Europe (approximately $5 per load of wash) and are often hard on clothes. Pack easy-to-care-for clothing that can be washed at home and drip-dried.
Between cultural activities, excursions, on-site lectures, and traveling, you will be doing a lot of walking. Comfortable shoes are a necessity; make sure they are well broken-in before departure. Sturdy walking shoes (preferably with thick rubber soles), boots, and tennis shoes are recommended.


Good jeans, skirts, sweaters, and other casual attire are sufficient for everyday wear. You will need a warm dress or skirt and blouse for more formal occasions, such as the theater, opera, or dinner with a French family. Most French women do not wear shorts, halter tops, or revealing clothing in the city. If you dress this way you are likely to attract unwanted attention and rude remarks. Such clothing is acceptable and common, however, at the beach and recreational areas.


Jeans and permanent-press shirts are practical. Many French men wear sweaters over their shirts in cooler weather. You will need some formal attire for dressier occasions, such as the theater, the opera, or dinner with a French family.

Electrical Appliances

As in most of Europe, the current is 220 volts at 50 cycles in France, instead of the 110 volts at 60 cycles found in the U.S. Travel irons, curling irons, hair dryers, and electric razors that can operate on all currents are available both in the U.S. and abroad (a plug adapter will be required). Voltage converters and plug adapters are available in the U.S. for European current and outlets (the same items cost more in France).


Taking a laptop has advantages, especially if you are unaccustomed to writing papers any other way. Disadvantages include the risk of theft and access to printing facilities. Commercial outfits that provide printing are neither numerous nor cheap. There may be lines to use university printers. Past students who took laptops were generally pleased they did.
If you are in a UC Center Paris or Univ. of Bordeaux program, take a laptop if possible.
Limited printing and Internet services are available at the UC Study Center and ACCENT Center in Paris, as well as at the UC Study Center in Lyon.


Pack a reference French grammar book with which you feel comfortable. The grammar books for foreigners available in France do not concentrate on the usual difficulties and particular problems of native speakers of English. If you do not have a grammar book, get a recommendation from your current French instructor. Once in France, you can purchase a French dictionary.
There are some English-language bookstores in France, but it is typically cheaper to order books through or Book Depository (go to the  “livres en anglais” section).
Insurance for Personal Posessions
Consider having additional protection for your property. In spite of your best efforts, it is still possible to experience loss, theft, or accidents that will damage your belongings while traveling. Talk to your parents and analyze their family homeowners’ insurance to determine whether the items brought or bought while abroad are covered by their policy.
UCEAP Travel Insurance policy offers limited personal property coverage.  UCEAP strongly recommends that you examine the details of the UCEAP Travel Insurance benefits and purchase additional property insurance coverage, especially to protect high cost items such as laptop computers, Smartphones, tablets, and other valuables. Review the policy carefully before departure and determine if it provides adequate coverage for your possessions before you experience a loss. 
If you decide to purchase supplemental personal property coverage, do so before departure and make sure that the coverage extends while traveling because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing. The host university does not protect student belongings—even in university accommodations.
You are responsible for your own personal property. Use logical precautions to safeguard valuables from damage or theft by locking your room and securing currency, jewelry, passport, and other possessions. Avoid wearing expensive clothing or jewelry and going to questionable parts of the city, especially at night or when alone. Minimize your vulnerability by staying in control of your drinking and your behavior. Do not invite casual acquaintances or strangers home.
Return Transportation
Financial Information
Understanding Your Finances
It is important that you carefully read all of the information available in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and discuss it with the person who will assist you with your finances while you are abroad.
Understanding your finances before, during, and after your program is crucial to having a successful time abroad. The following list outlines just a few of the many things you will need to know before departure.
Detailed information on the following topics can be found in the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad:
  • Contact information for finance questions
  • How to estimate the cost of your program
  • Budget instructions and information
  • Who Can and How to make payments to UCEAP
  • UCEAP student account information(what fees do I pay to UCEAP and what fees do I pay out of pocket?)
  • Banking before and after arrival
  • Fees and penalties
  • Loan information
  • How financial aid works while abroad (how do I get my financial aid from my home campus and how are my fees paid?)
  • Various forms (e.g., direct deposit, etc.)
Your MyEAP Account & Budget
Your MyEAP Student Account is similar to your UC campus financial account. It will be available as soon as you are selected for your program in MyEAP. You can make payments through this account using e-checks or credit cards (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, or Discover). The fees that you owe UCEAP will be applied to your account after your program pre-departure withdrawal date, which is listed in MyEAP. For the amount due to UCEAP prior to fees being posted on your account, refer to the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule located on the second page of your UCEAP Program Budget. Program fees are subject to change.
Carefully review your UCEAP Program Budget.
Your UCEAP Program Budget lists the fees you will pay to UCEAP and an estimate of the personal expenses you will need to plan for. It does not include the cost of recreational travel or personal entertainment. Review your UCEAP Program Budget frequently. The Payment Schedule is on the second page of the UCEAP Program Budget.


  • Download and print your UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule.
  • Note the deadlines on the Payment Schedule.
  • Give the UCEAP Program Budget and Payment Schedule to the person responsible for paying your UCEAP bills. Sign this person up for Third Party Authorization on MyEAP so they can make payments online.
For further information see the Money Matters chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and the Money Matters tab of your Participants Portal. If you will be receiving financial aid, see also the UCEAP Financial Assistance web page.

Refund of Credit balances and Financial Aid Disbursements:

If you are signed up for Direct Deposit on your UC campus, it is not linked to your MyEAP account. You must sign up for eRefund with UCEAP to receive direct deposits from your MyEAP account. For more information, see the UCEAP eRefund Instructions.
Handling Money Abroad
It is imperative that you review the UCEAP Student Budget and determine your program costs. You can find the budget in the Money Matters section of your Participants program page. As noted in Section II of the UCEAP Student Budget, you are responsible for your finances while abroad. Before you go, make sure you completely understand your financial needs for study abroad and verify that your personal funds and/or financial aid meet these needs. Plan carefully, as recreational travel expenses and entertainment are not included in the program budget.

The Euro (€)

The official currency of France (and of the European Union) is the euro (€). As with all currencies, the value of the euro relative to the U.S. dollar fluctuates daily. Depending on these fluctuations, your actual living expenses (in terms of U.S. dollars) can rise or fall over the duration of the program.
There are 100 cents in 1 euro. Coins (la monnaie) come in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 cents, and €1 and €2. Much like the U.S. dollar, euro bills (les billets) come in denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, and €500.
In writing numbers, commas and periods are reversed in Europe. For example, 1,00 is what we would consider 1.00, and 1.000 is what we would consider 1,000.
To find out the current dollar-euro conversion rate, visit websites with currency calculators such as Google Finance or OANDA.

Cash Upon Arrival

It is wise to obtain €150–200 before departure from the U.S. In addition to allowing you to become familiar with the currency, the funds will be useful for snacks, transportation, and unexpected purchases when you first arrive in France. You can purchase foreign currencies from most U.S. banks; the process may take a week or more, so plan ahead. We recommend you request low-denomination notes (e.g. 10s and 20s); many merchants will not break larger bills.
It is also possible to exchange dollars for euros at international airports (both in the U.S. and abroad), although exchange rates are less favorable and exchange offices are not always open in the late and early hours of the day. ATMs can be found at the airport, and you will have the opportunity to withdraw euros from your American bank account as soon as you enter the arrival hall.
If you set up a bank account in France, you may not have access to money in the new account for up to a month, so be prepared to access cash from another source for your initial financial needs (see Obtaining Cash Abroad).

Obtaining Cash Abroad

The Study Center recommends the following forms of handling money: debit card, credit card, and wire transfers. How you divide your money into the various forms is entirely your choice; choose the options with which you feel most comfortable. UCEAP recommends that you choose multiple methods of accessing funds so if there is a problem with one, you can use another.

Credit Cards

Credit cards generally offer the best international exchange rates. Visa, known as Carte Bleue in France, is the most widely accepted credit card in Europe. MasterCard is also widely accepted, as is American Express (AmEx), though to a lesser extent. There will be an additional fee added to any purchase you make using your AmEx card since the commission AmEx takes is so high, the retailer/restaurant passes this onto the customer. The Discover card is not commonly accepted.
If you take a credit card, set up an online account (if possible) so you can track expenses, receive statements, and pay your bills online. You may also arrange to have your statements sent to France, or for your parents or a responsible person to receive and pay your bills from the U.S.
Be sure to notify your bank that you will be using your credit card abroad so they do not freeze the account when you try to use it overseas.
Past students have found it useful to bring an additional credit card strictly for emergencies.

ATM Transactions

A good way to obtain cash is through an ATM. In most cities in France, it is easy to use an ATM. To get an ATM card, you must first have an account at a bank or credit union in the U.S. before departure. Most ATM cards are connected to a checking or share draft account. The bank will issue you an ATM card and a personal identification number (PIN). The PIN must have four digits in order to work in France. Keep in mind when choosing a PIN that ATMs abroad do not have letters on the keypads. Most cards carry the symbols for the Cirrus and Plus systems on the back, which are common ATM networks throughout Europe. It is helpful if your ATM card has a Visa or MasterCard logo on it. Once abroad, the ATM card and PIN can be used to withdraw money from the U.S. account.
There is no waiting period, and money deposited in your account in the U.S. is immediately available for withdrawal abroad. There may be limitations on the amount of cash accessible per transaction, and there may be fees depending on your U.S. bank. Ask your bank about sister banks in France; you may be able to avoid extra fees. Be sure to keep track of your account balance at all times so you do not overdraw funds from your account.
Bank of America is linked with BNP Paribas and students find their transactions to carry the lowest bank fees.
ATMs are available at most French banks and commercial centers and accept all major ATM and credit cards. This is the least expensive way to withdraw money. There is usually about a 3% charge on each transaction.
Check with your bank to make sure your ATM card can be used to access funds in France. Be sure to notify your bank that you will be using your debit card abroad so they do not freeze the account when you try to use it overseas. Increasingly, banks block the use of American ATM cards abroad to prevent fraud.

Personal Checks

U.S. bank checks and cashier’s checks cannot be cashed in France. Therefore, this is not a recommended option.

Wiring Money

One option for wiring money is MoneyGram International. The transfer generally takes about ten minutes and all fees are paid in the U.S. For more information, contact a MoneyGram location.
Another option for wiring money is to use the international transfer services operated by Western Union (phone in the U.S. is 877-989-3268). As with MoneyGram, all fees are paid in the U.S. You may pick up the money at one of many post offices within two or three hours from the time it was sent.
Never wire transfer money to anyone you do not know personally through companies such as Western Union and MoneyGram. It is nearly impossible to reverse the transfer or trace the money, which makes a common tool for scammers.

Credit Card Advances

You may obtain a cash advance with your Visa or MasterCard from a bank offering Dépannage. Your PIN is not usually required if the transaction is conducted inside the bank, but you must show your passport. Remember that interest begins to accrue the day that you take the cash advance, not at the end of the billing period as is the case with purchases. Also, the interest rate charged on cash advances is usually higher than that charged on regular purchases.
If you plan to use your credit card for cash advances, check with the issuing bank in the U.S. to make sure that the card will be accepted by European banks and ATMs. A credit card with an international PIN comes in handy if you need to obtain a cash advance after hours.

Travelers Checks

Travelers checks are rarely used nowadays in France, so they are not recommended.


Due to the short duration of the UC Center programs, you may not open a bank account. Neither ACCENT nor the Study Center can facilitate the process. You are advised to access money from abroad using your ATM card.
Late Withdrawal Penalties & Fees
If you withdraw from the program after the deadline noted in the UCEAP Student Agreement, you will incur financial penalties. These penalties vary according to the host institution and date of withdrawal. UCEAP cannot waive or assume the expenses of penalties assessed by the host institution. You will be required to pay the amounts assessed by the host institution and UCEAP.
UCEAP is not responsible for reimbursing airfare expenses; therefore, do not buy a plane ticket until your UCEAP participation is confirmed.

In addition to UCEAP penalties, ACCENT will charge withdrawal penalties based on the withdrawal date. Refer to your online Student Budget and the online Pre-Departure Checklist for more information. The effective withdrawal date is the date that ACCENT is notified of the withdrawal. It is important that your Campus EAP Advisor notify the UCEAP Systemwide Office of the withdrawal immediately.

Communications Abroad
Internet Access
In most cases, WiFi access in Europe will not be as extensive as it is at UC. If possible, take a laptop. Carefully consider security risks and other precautions. Laptops, cell phones—particularly smart phones—and other electronic devices are among the most frequently stolen items from travelers. Keep all your electronics within reach at all times. Do not place your cell phone on the café table or pull out your phone while on public transportation—it can be quickly swiped. The UCEAP Insurance Plan offers a personal property benefit, which covers theft; however, it is your responsibility to review the insurance details and determine whether or not it is sufficient to cover your laptop. You may decide to purchase additional coverage depending on your needs. For your laptop, it is advisable to have updated virus protection.
Most laptops are equipped with a voltage converter allowing the use of the 220-volt electricity in Europe. Read your manual to confirm. The converter is usually part of the “box” located halfway down the power cord. You still need an adapter to use the outlets.
If you bring a laptop or smart phone, you will be able to access WiFi, 3G, and 4G in Europe where it is available.
You will have access to the ACCENT Center, which is in the same courtyard as the UC Study Center. You can do academic work at the UC Study Center, either on the computer workstation or on personal laptops. There are additional computer workstations at the ACCENT Center. You also have access to printing and photocopying facilities in the ACCENT Center. It is highly recommended that you take a laptop because a decent amount of course material will be online. If you do not take a laptop, you will have access to all materials through the workstations.


All homestays and Comforts of Home apartments have WiFi access.

Many students choose to obtain a cell phone shortly after arrival. A wide selection of cell phones is generally available. You may be required to have a bank account in order to buy one, but if you buy a “Mobicarte” (cell phone with prepaid minutes) you can avoid this. If you already have a cell phone, check with the manufacturer to see if it will operate in France (it will need to be at least a tri-band phone to operate in Europe). More information will be available after your arrival at the Study Center.
For students with smart phones, many opt to use their US phone and to swap out the SIM card for a French SIM card. Students can find inexpensive, contract-free plans with, and Free currently offers the lowest cost, best coverage, and most flexibility regarding a contract. Make sure your smart phone is unlocked before you leave the U.S.
Due to the recent and significant increase in theft (violent and other) of smart phones, students have found it better to avoid using a Blackberry, iPhone, or other costly device in a public place, instead replacing it with a cheap (€20–30) pay-as-you-go cell phone that does not attract thieves when used in public.
One of the most popular means of communication when calling internationally is using the Internet to make phone calls at an inexpensive rate. Students with smart phones often use apps such as Skype, Facetime, and Facebook Messenger to video chat with friends and family back home. In addition, SkypeOut is a Skype service through which you or your parents can charge the account to make calls to regular landlines and cell phones. Currently, SkypeOut costs 2.3 cents per minute to a French landline, American landline, and American cell phone, and 8 cents per minute to a French cell phone.
Most students find a cell phone particularly useful. You will be informed about renting or purchasing a cell phone during your orientation in Paris.
Students in Comort of Home housing will have WiFi access, but no landline.

Homestays have limited phone access and you will always want to clarify with your homestay family house rules regarding using the landline.

Mail & Shipments

French Postal System

French mailboxes are yellow and readily available in public places and on the outer walls of post offices and tobacco shops, called tabacs. Collection times are indicated on each box. In general, mail sent within France that is posted before the last collection will be delivered within 48 hours, unless it is sent economy rate. Mail sent abroad will take longer, and delivery times depend on the destination—on average it takes from three to five days. Anticipate five days for letters to reach the U.S.
Stamps are available in post offices, which are open from 9 a.m. to 6 or 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturday mornings until noon. You may purchase stamps from multilingual vending machines located inside the post office. In Paris, the main post office, located at 52 rue du Louvre (metro station “Louvre”), is never closed. It is the only post office in France open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Domestic stamps are also available at tabacs, which charge the same rates as the post offices. These shops are identified by a red or orange diamond-shaped sign.
Sending parcels home from post offices is generally convenient and reliable. Sturdy, pre-paid shipping boxes with self-fastening systems are available in all sizes at the post office.


Do not ship computers, cameras, or valuable items to France unless the shipping agent and French customs confirm that you can receive your shipment without import duty taxes. It is common to pay a fee as high as $100 for something as simple as a coat or camera. Furthermore, even inexpensive items that are correctly marked “For Personal Use Only/No Commercial Value” sometimes incur customs charges. Keep all your receipts for electronic equipment and register the items with U.S. customs to make it easier to bring equipment back to the U.S. It is also against the law to send prescription and over-the-counter medications through the mail. Medication will be stopped at French customs if you try to ship it to France.
If things have to be shipped, all packages will go First Class and the rates are fairly expensive.
When shipping important documents, it is often worthwhile to use such shipping services as FedEx and DHL. These companies, along with the U.S. Postal Service, have special additional services that help to ensure that the documents reach their proper destination. All of these options usually require a physical address (no P.O. boxes) along with a phone number.
Remind your parents, friends, and others who might send you a package to declare “For Personal Use Only/No Commercial Value” on the customs slip.


Have your mail sent to the ACCENT Paris Center. Address mail as follows:
[Student Name]
89 rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine
75011 Paris
Housing & Meals
Where Will I Live?

Language & Culture, Summer

Upon arrival, you will move into your homestay or your Comforts of Home apartment (see below for details). ACCENT, not the UC Study Center, manages all the student housing. Housing costs are included in your UCEAP program fees.

French & European Studies, Fall

Upon arrival, and for the duration of the UCEAP orientation and practicum, students in homestays will stay at a residential hotel near ACCENT. Non-homestay students will move directly into their Comforts of Home apartment. ACCENT, not the UC Study Center, manages all the student housing. Housing costs are included in your UCEAP program fees.
Housing Contracts: The housing contracts, costs, roommate preference forms, and detailed instructions are available in the ACCENT Portal, which you can access through your UCEAP Pre-Departure Checklist. You will need to complete all required forms by the stated deadline. Housing option requests are honored on a first come, first served basis. Ranking an option does not guarantee placement in that housing choice.

Comforts of Home Apartments 

Each apartment houses from 2-8 students in shared and single bedrooms (the average has 4-5 students). Each apartment is different; some are in buildings built in the 1970's, others in buildings that were built in the 1770's! That means that you might have a fancy lobby with an elevator, or a salon with characteristic high ceilings, tall windows, and charming (but creaky) parquet floors. They are all different (some would say "quirkier") than apartments in many parts of the United States, where they tend to be newer. The apartments are located all over Paris and feature the following amenities:
  • Great beds (90cm x 200cm)
  • Clean, comfortable linens and towels
  • Fast and reliable hi-speed wireless internet
  • Fully outfitted kitchens, including appliances, pots and pans, dishes and dining implements; You will either have a microwave or a regular oven
  • A dining table and chairs for everyone
  • A living area with soft seating for everyone
  • Washing machines and drying racks
  • On-line, on-call maintenance service
  • 24/7 emergency service 

UCEAP collects a $150 refundable housing deposit, which will be returned to you, less any damage charges after the program has ended. Damages include, but are not limited to, extra cleaning, repairs, unreturned keys, unreturned smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, etc.  It is your responsibility to document any pre-existing damage in your housing and report it to your housing provider at the very beginning of your program.  Any damage charges above and beyond the $150 housing deposit will be applied to your MyEAP account and you will be responsible for the charges.


Homestay accommodations provide the opportunity to observe firsthand how the French live. As in a residence hall, living in a homestay requires respect and sensitivity to others. You will receive a set of “Family Living Guidelines” upon arrival in Paris to help you adjust to your accommodations.
The host family will provide sheets, blankets, pillows, and towels. The number of meals provided per week will depend on the meal plan you have chosen with your host family. Phone usage varies from home to home, but students are generally allowed to receive calls in the home and may make short phone calls. You may need to pay for outgoing calls. All homestays have Internet and WiFi.
Students in homestays will be placed in homes throughout Paris, thus commute time to the ACCENT Center will vary. If you choose the homestay option, you will get the name and address of your host family during the UCEAP orientation in Paris. This information will not be available prior to departure from the U.S.

Living in a Homestay

There is probably no better way for you to be immersed in French culture than to share everyday life with a family. The homestay is intended to be a mutually convenient social arrangement, a cultural experience, and a financial agreement between the host family and you. The home is intended to be more than just a place to stay. However, conforming to someone else’s rules, especially if they seem strict, may be a strain if you have lived on your own for a few years. You may need to accept some limits to your independence. For example, the homestay family may require that you keep your room reasonably tidy, or they may have different rules governing phone usage, food, and utilities. Some families place restrictions on visitors. In some homes, students have their own entrance and considerable privacy.
Although you may be made to feel like a part of the family, some families are more distant and will establish a more impersonal and businesslike arrangement. The degree of interaction with other members of the household varies in relation to the diversity of the households in France. You may well find yourself living with a single individual and one or more family members (collateral or direct kin) instead of a traditional family unit. Retired single individuals (usually retired women) frequently enjoy hosting students. Do not expect a traditional French nuclear family or the dynamics that you might otherwise experience with such a family.
You will need to be flexible. The responsibility to adapt is on you, not on the host family. Being in a family setting, it is imperative for you to take into account local customs as the family comes to know you personally. The homestay coordinators are careful about matching you with the best family, but a perfect match is difficult. Dialogue, patience, cooperation, and consideration are usually the best vehicles for good results. While the program attempts to place one student per household, occasionally another student might be present from another program. In order to be placed in the most suitable situation, fill out the pre-departure housing questionnaire carefully and accurately by the required deadline.
The primary purpose of being with a host family is to interact socially and culturally, and to improve language proficiency. It is expected that everyone, including other guests in the home, will speak French at all times. If a host family requests that you speak English, it may be beneficial to work out a reciprocal arrangement in which you occasionally speak in English to help the host family with the language, while remaining committed to using the host family’s help in your own acquisition of French.
There may be some unspoken conditions and responsibilities to a homestay involving everything from use of the kitchen to possible curfews. To avoid any confusion, communicate with your host family about the following when you arrive:
  • Keys: Will you be issued keys to the house? Does the family expect you to be home at a certain time of night?
  • Bathroom privileges: What are your rights and responsibilities concerning the bathroom facilities? If possible, set up a schedule, especially for the morning.
  • Meals: How many meals per day will you receive? What should you do if you know you will miss a meal? What should you do if you miss a meal unintentionally? Discuss any special dietary needs and scheduled meal times, and inquire about access to the kitchen and the household’s food. Be flexible if you are a vegetarian.
  • Towels and linens: Will they be provided? Who will launder them? How often will linens be changed?
  • Your room: Who is to clean the room? Make the bed? Change the linens?
  • Laundry: Who is responsible for the laundry? In some situations, the host family will do all laundry except underwear.
  • Water: Conservative usage is highly recommended. You may be limited to one shower per day.
  • Guests: Are you allowed to have guests, including overnight guests? What about parties and social gatherings in the home? Always inform the host family about any out-of-town trips and times when you expect to arrive home late, in case of an emergency.
  • Payment: Clarify how payment for room and board is to be made. When is payment due? In some programs, homestay payment is included in the UCEAP fees.
  • Phone: Ask your host family about the use of the phone and how to reimburse them for phone bills, and follow the set guidelines. Leave some money to cover charges that have not yet been paid before you leave France. Procedures and expectations vary by program. Most students obtain cell phones, which avoids this problem altogether.
  • Internet access: If the host family does not have wireless, make sure you understand how to access the Internet. If you will be using a computer belonging to the host family, assume access will be limited. Seek out other ways to get online, such as computer labs and Internet cafés.
  • Other utilities: Do not leave lights, computers, or other items running when not in use, and check with your host family regarding use of heat, etc. The French are conservative about the use of electricity and hot water. Respect host family expectations with regard to use of utilities.
Do not hesitate to report difficulties to the Study Center staff. Concerns should be aired immediately to avoid having a small instance build up into a major annoyance. Often, an upsetting situation is the result of a cultural misunderstanding that the Study Center may be able to explain. Note that the Study Center will only consider reassigning you in severely mismatched situations.
You are responsible for any damage that you cause in the homestay and you will be expected to replace the items or pay for the damages before departure.

Rent Payment  

All rent is paid through the UCEAP student fees. Initially, all students will have the double/triple occupancy in shared student apartments option reflected in their MyEAP accounts. This will be adjusted to your actual housing choice as soon as we receive the housing placements from ACCENT. Please note that this may not occur until after the start of your program.
If you live in a homestay, you will be provided with some meals. The summer program homestays offer daily breakfast and two dinners per week. The fall program homestays have two options: a) daily breakfast and dinner four days per week; or b) daily breakfast and dinner one day per week. Meals are not provided during the midterm vacation. During this time you must prepare or buy all other meals yourself (you will have kitchen access). Report any meal/kitchen access issues immediately to the ACCENT or UC Center staff.
If you live in a Comforts of Home apartment, no meals will be provided. 

Dining Out

Meals in student restaurants (the “CROUS”) are balanced and substantial and only cost about €3.25 each. If you eat primarily at student restaurants, you can keep within the estimated budget noted in the UCEAP student budget. If you cook some meals and eat at restaurants often, plan on spending at least $100 more each month than is noted in the UCEAP budget. Eating out in France is generally a lot more expensive than it is in the U.S., and students report grocery shopping in general is more expensive than at home.
Daily Life Abroad
Local Transportation
The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.

Public Transportation

You will most likely have a 15- to 60-minute commute from your place of residence to your classes. A 25- to 35-minute commute is average. Transportation options include walking, the metro, and the bus within Paris. You can purchase a Navigo or imagine “R” pass, which allow you to ride the metro, the bus, and the RER. The cost of the Navigo pass is €73 per month. Single metro tickets cost €1.90 (€2.00 if purchased on the bus), and weekly passes cost €22.15. If you are staying for the year, you may purchase the carte imagine “R” for €333.90 to last the entire school year. Prices are valid from January 2017 but subject to change.


Paris has a rent-a-bike program, called the Velib. For information, go to the Velib website. Velib does not accept credit cards that do not contain a microchip.


When traveling between cities and countries, many students use the train. To find routes, fares, and departure and arrival times, visit the website for France’s train transportation system, SNCF.
Extracurricular Activities
Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while on UCEAP is an excellent way to meet people, improve your language skills, and integrate more fully into the community.
Join sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; volunteer at local organizations; attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles; and get the most out of your time abroad.
Students with Disabilities
In France, accessibility and accommodation for people with disabilities are very different from what you find in the United States. French law requires that any new building with public or community space and any existing public building be accessible for persons with disabilities. However, many existing buildings, as well as transportation systems, do not yet meet these requirements.
Getting around in French cities may be difficult at times since many sidewalks are narrow and uneven, and cobblestone streets make access difficult, but the major tourist areas have better facilities. Although the Paris métro is a very efficient method for traveling throughout central Paris, most métro stations are not readily accessible for people with disabilities, especially mobility challenges. Very few stations have elevators, and most have stairways and long corridors for changing trains or exiting to the street. However many Parisian buses and tramways are equipped with lowering platforms for travelers with limited-mobility, or who with vision or hearing disabilities. Taxis and Uber are also a good mode of transportation.
The English-language website of the Paris Visitors Bureau and the French language, government-sponsored internet site contain additional information and include links to a downloadable local transportation map specifically designed for travelers with special mobility needs. There are many other resources available on the internet for disabled persons traveling to, or living in, France. 
For more information:
Travel Sign-out Form

Leaving your host city for more than 24 hours?

You are required to complete the ACCENT Travel Sign-out.
You will be given detailed instructions for this during your on-site orientation.
During an emergency (abroad or in the U.S.), it is important for UCEAP and ACCENT officials to know how to reach you so we can help you. 

The UCEAP program budget does not include funds for recreational travel abroad.
Working Abroad

Volunteer Opportunities

There may be volunteer opportunities available in your host city. Talk to the staff at your UCEAP Study Center to discuss whether volunteering is feasible for you and for suggestions on what organizations may be in need of volunteers.

Working in France 

Students may legally work in France as long as they hold a valid Titre de sé​jour (See the Travel Documents section of this guide for details.) It may take four months or more to receive your Titre de sé​jour after your arrival in France. EU citizens are exempt from this requirement.

The law allows students to work 964 hours in a given year, which corresponds to 50% of full-time employment for the year (approximately 20 hours per week). Your work schedule should not interfere with your class schedule and coursework. 

If you decide to work abroad, do not rely on that source of income to subsidize the UCEAP program; you must have other means of support. Student jobs are difficult to find, especially for foreigners, and even more so if you are not fluent in French. A few students in the past have found jobs teaching English and babysitting. 

Contact the French consulate for more information about working abroad and applicable visa requirements. 

Summer-only students cannot work in France.  

LGBTIQ Students
France has both sexual orientation and gender identity anti-discrimination laws in place and is generally considered one of the most gay-friendly places in the world.
​For more information,
UCEAP Insurance

Know Before you Go

While abroad you are automatically covered by the UCEAP Travel Insurance Policy.  Coverage begins 14 days before the official start date of your UCEAP program term. Coverage ends 31 days after the official end of the UCEAP program term.
The UCEAP travel insurance does not include coverage for preventative care, checkups, and vaccinations. Read details in Benefits at a Glance. Familiarize yourself with the coverage, exclusions, and eligibility criteria. Your travel insurance policy number is ADDN 04834823.  It is underwritten by Chubb Insurance Company.
There is no deductible or co-insurance but the travel insurance works on a reimbursement basis.  You can submit a claim for a refund consideration of covered expenses.  For more information about the medical claim proces or about non-medical claims.
Do not assume that if you seek medical care abroad for a covered illness or injury that the local hospital will bill your insurance.  Generally, hospitals around the world, including the US, do not bill insurance companies (unless there is a special arrangement with a local hospital in your UCEAP country).  It is your responsibility to inquire with the hospital, at the time of service, and make arrangements to pay any outstanding bills. Payment for medical services abroad is ultimately your responsibility.
For more information refer to your Pre-Departure Checklist, Insurance tab, or the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Insurance chapter.

For Questions about Coverage, Benefits and Claims Status

ACI at

Staying Healthy
Local Medical Facilities

​The UC Paris website contains health-related information, such as English-speaking doctors and therapists. 

Students participating on the ACCENT-supported programs can read about local medical facilities in the ACCENT online portal.  
A high level of medical care comparable to that in other industrialized countries is available throughout the country. 
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center immediately. There is a network of English-speaking medical practitioners that have treated past UCEAP participants. The local Study Center staff can recommend a clinic to visit, provide the necessary UCEAP insurance claim forms to complete, and make arrangements with your professors if an extended absence from class is expected.
Keep the following universal number handy in case of a medical emergency. The operators are multi-lingual and will dispatch the appropriate medical or fire responders:
Police, Fire Department, Medical Emergencies, Ambulance........................112
If you have questions, concerns, or feel that you need to be tested for a sexually transmitted disease, the Institut Alfred Fournier is the leading clinic in Paris for information and testing.
Institut Alfred Fournier
25, bd Saint-Jacques
75680 PARIS Cedex 14
The clinic is located off of the following exits:
Métro ligne 6: Glacière ou St-Jacques
RER ligne B: Denfert-Rochereau
Bus n°21: Arrêt Glacière
Bus n°38: Arrêt Denfert-Rochereau

The UC Paris website contains health-related information, such as English-speaking doctors and therapists. 
Students participating on the ACCENT-supported programs can read about local medical facilities in the ACCENT online portal.  
A high level of medical care comparable to that in other industrialized countries is available throughout the country. 
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center immediately. There is a network of English-speaking medical practitioners that have treated past UCEAP participants. The local Study Center staff can recommend a clinic to visit, provide the necessary UCEAP insurance claim forms to complete, and make arrangements with your professors if an extended absence from class is expected.
Keep the following universal number handy in case of a medical emergency. The operators are multi-lingual and will dispatch the appropriate medical or fire responders:
Police, Fire Department, Medical Emergencies, Ambulance........................112
If you have questions, concerns, or feel that you need to be tested for a sexually transmitted disease, the Institut Alfred Fournier is the leading clinic in Paris for information and testing.
Institut Alfred Fournier
25, bd Saint-Jacques
75680 PARIS Cedex 14
The clinic is located off of the following exits:
Métro ligne 6: Glacière ou St-Jacques
RER ligne B: Denfert-Rochereau
Bus n°21: Arrêt Glacière
Bus n°38: Arrêt Denfert-Rochereau

The UC Paris website contains health-related information, such as English-speaking doctors and therapists. 
Students participating on the ACCENT-supported programs can read about local medical facilities in the ACCENT online portal.  
A high level of medical care comparable to that in other industrialized countries is available throughout the country. 
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center immediately. There is a network of English-speaking medical practitioners that have treated past UCEAP participants. The local Study Center staff can recommend a clinic to visit, provide the necessary UCEAP insurance claim forms to complete, and make arrangements with your professors if an extended absence from class is expected.
Keep the following universal number handy in case of a medical emergency. The operators are multi-lingual and will dispatch the appropriate medical or fire responders:
Police, Fire Department, Medical Emergencies, Ambulance........................112
If you have questions, concerns, or feel that you need to be tested for a sexually transmitted disease, the Institut Alfred Fournier is the leading clinic in Paris for information and testing.
Institut Alfred Fournier
25, bd Saint-Jacques
75680 PARIS Cedex 14
The clinic is located off of the following exits:
Métro ligne 6: Glacière ou St-Jacques
RER ligne B: Denfert-Rochereau
Bus n°21: Arrêt Glacière
Bus n°38: Arrêt Denfert-Rochereau

Physical Health
If there has been any change in your health—physical, mental, or dental—since you submitted your health clearance form to the UCEAP Systemwide Office, you must immediately notify the UCEAP Program Specialist.
If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the UC Paris Study Center administrator immediately. The Study Center will help you choose a clinic to visit, help you with the UCEAP insurance claim process, and arrange with your professors if extended absence is expected. It is a good idea to let the Study Center know of any medical services you receive, even in routine or non-emergency situations.
If you have a preexisting medical condition, carry a letter from your physician describing the medical condition, treatment, and prescribed medications, including generic names and dosage.

Basic wellness

Recognize that your behaviors have a significant impact on your wellness.  Observe healthy habits, as follows:
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Stay hydrated:  Drink water
  • Avoid negative health behaviors (excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, etc.)
  • Do not skip on sleep
  • Maintain a positive outlook
  • Exercise

Know Before you Go

Inform yourself before you travel.  Just as language and currency vary around the world, so does medical care.  Know what to do if you get sick.
Read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad and your Program Guide for important information to plan for a healthy stay abroad.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Traveler's Health web page has important information about health risks present in the country where you will be studying.
Prescription Medications


  • Understand your UCEAP travel insurance terms of coverage.
  • If you need a refill while abroad, you must see a local doctor. US prescriptions are not valid in other countries.  Note:​ If the visit to the local doctor is considered preventive care, it will not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance; your campus or private insurance plan may cover it.  You must travel with a letter from your prescribing explaining your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name. 
  • If you need to find out if this appointment would be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance, contact ACI at For more information about the UCEAP travel insurance, refer to your UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, or your pre-departure checklist, Insurance tab.
  • Two classes of medicines – narcotics and psychotropics – are under the control of international law. This covers any medicine that can have an effect on the Central Nervous System (CNS) and the potential to be abused. The narcotic class mostly relates to analgesic opioids and their derivatives (e.g. morphine and codeine) which tend to be highly regulated. Psychotropics are all those medications likely to be used to treat mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and psychotic conditions.

Before Departure

  • If you plan to purchase medication using the UCEAP Travel Insurance coverage, you must fill and pay for medication when coverage is effective (14 days before the official start of the program).  Do not assume that your local pharmacy knows about the UCEAP travel insurance policy.  It is not the same as your campus health insurance coverage. You will need to pay for the medication and submit a claim to the UCEAP insurance.
  • Find out whether your medication is legal in your UCEAP country.
  • If traveling with a prescription containing controlled substances, review international agreements governing the transportation of medications across borders check the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) website. The INCB is responsible for international drug control. If traveling with controlled substances, you must have a letter from your doctor. Generally, amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Vyvanse) are illegal in other countries. Talk with your doctor to switch you to another medication.
  • Talk to your doctor to see whether he/she can prescribe an adequate supply of your prescription medication to last through the end of the program.  Ask your doctor how to adjust your dosage depending on time zone changes.
  • Get a letter from the prescribing physician, on letterhead, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic name as brand names vary considerably around the world.

Traveling with prescription medications

  • Keep the medication in its original packaging clearly labelled with your name, doctor’s name, generic and brand name, and exact dosage. Carry it in your carry-on luggage, provided it is in pill or solid form. For more information, particularly if your medication is in liquid form, consult the US Transportation Security Administration., Traveling with Medications.
  • Carry copies of all original US prescriptions.
  • Carry the letter on letterhead from the prescribing physician for all prescribed medications, indicating your diagnosis, treatment, and medication regimen, including the generic names. This is extremely important in case you need treatment or a medication refill abroad.

Why is a letter from your treating physician necessary? 

If your particular medication cannot be taken into the country, talk to your doctor.  If you need to switch prescriptions, your doctor may need to make changes to your medication at least 3-6 months before departure to monitor side effects and dosage.  The letter from your doctor indicating condition, treatment and medication regimen, can help a local physician to assess you and to consider reissuing your prescription provided it is licensed in your UCEAP country. Note that the local doctor's appointment for medication refill may not be covered by the UCEAP travel insurance.

Consult with ACI, Read more in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health section.

Mental Health
If you are currently in treatment in the U.S., discuss your UCEAP program details with your doctor so you can work on a plan in case you need to reach out for care. If you are taking a prescription medication, talk with your prescribing physician before departure about getting the supply you need for going abroad.  For information about traveling with medications, refer to the Prescription Medications section in this guide.​

Your mental health is important to us all. Create a plan with your treating doctor. Managing your mental health while studying abroad – whether or not you have a pre-existing condition – is something every person must think about when going abroad. Being away from usual stress at home can sometimes be a relief when abroad; experiencing new adventures can be a useful distraction. You will also have times when you feel confused, uncomfortable, annoyed, and many of the same emotions that you manage in your daily life at home.
Cultural adjustment and homesickness are normal. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Most students who experience culture adjustment function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life.

You may feel homesick or sad. Feeling down, anxious, homesick, depressed or stressed might be your body’s reaction to the new environment and different life away from your usual support network. Don't cope alone.  Reach out for help to the local UCEAP program staff and your friends.  If you have been feeling unhappy for longer than a few days, or it is staring to affect your enjoyment of life and/or your studies, then you should see a doctor immediately.
The UCEAP travel insurance policy covers outpatient visits as any other illness up to $500,000; there is no co-pay or deductible, and you can make an appointment with any doctor. Budget for this expense as you must pay up front and submit a claim to the insurance company for a refund consideration.  Doctors, hospitals, and clinics will require you to pay bills at the time of treatment. You must then submit a completed claim form and paid receipts to the UCEAP insurance company. For information about the claims process, access Insurance Claims Process. If you have questions about your UCEAP travel insurance benefits contact ACI at
Health Risks
Food Allergies
Students with severe food allergies should take precautions, as the cuisine may include ingredients that can cause anaphylaxis in those affected. A language barrier increases the risks associated with severe food allergies. 
Precautions to take include:
  • Research the local cuisine. Be aware that some popular local sauces may contain nuts.
  • Discuss the risks with your doctor six to eight weeks before departure to discuss your treatment plan while abroad.
  • Carry the medications you need to prevent an adverse reaction like antihistamines or epinephrine injectors with refills. Pack it in your carry-on, not your checked luggage. Your medication must be in its original packaging, with your name.
  • Have a letter from your physician to present to airport security that states your need to have the epinephrine auto injector with you at all times.
  • Wear a medical alert bracelet or tag with instructions for assistance in both English and the local language. Wearing medical identification at all times can help should a life-threatening reaction occur.
  • Tell others about your food allergy.
  • Carry a card written in English and the local language explaining what foods cause allergies and possible reaction. Make several copies in case you lose one. Be sure to have a native speaker verify that you have written everything correctly.
For more information, read the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Health chapter, Allergies section.
Air Quality
​Air pollution routinely exceeds recommended thresholds in urban areas, especially in Paris, Antibes, Lyon, Nice, Valenciennes, Marseille, and Toulon. Individuals with asthma or chronic cardiorespiratory conditions should consult with a healthcare provider and carry necessary medications. On days when air quality is particularly poor, affected individuals should take personal precautions to reduce respiratory stress​.
Staying Safe
Minimize Risk

You play an active role in protecting your personal health, safety, and well-being. Consider an action plan.

With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing personal risks. Take time to assess the risks, plan ahead to reduce them, and think how you would lessen the consequences if things go wrong. Start by outlining activities you plan to engage in through your program and/or during independent travel; label the risk and rate it based on the likelihood of harm and the severity of consequences. Consider measures you can take to reduce the severity and chance. Plan your itinerary carefully, let your friends and relatives know where you will be, and research the safest way to travel.
The University of California Education Abroad Program (UCEAP) has established policies and procedures and has contracted with emergency assistance and security providers, to help you minimize your risk exposure and enhance your safety. 
Be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate and unpredictable terrorist attacks, which make it impossible to protect yourself from. Remain vigilant in all public areas in your UCEAP city and country and wherever you travel. Many terrorist groups, seeking publicity for political causes within their own country or region, are not looking for student or higher education targets.

Terrorist attacks using vehicles are very hard to prevent and appear to be on the rise. If you are in a crowded public place, know how you can exit quickly, identify barriers or safe places where you can shelter-in-place, and watch out for any vehicles that appear to be going at very high speed.

Report anything suspicious to local authorities.  Read all security-related correspondence and advice from local staff.  Schedule direct flights, if possible.  Avoid stops in high-risk airports or areas. Minimize time spent in the public area of an airport, which is a less protected area.  Keep a mental note of safe havens, such as police stations, hotels, and hospitals. Have a plan for what you will do in the case of an emergency.  If you are ever caught in a situation where somebody starts shooting, follow the active shooter guidelines: drop to the floor, get down as low as possible, and hide if possible.  Cover yourself behind a solid object. Silence your phone. Do not move until the danger has passed.

Steps to manage or minimize risk and enhance your personal safety

  • Familiarize yourself with all UCEAP resources and emergency support services while on UCEAP.

  • Assess your surroundings.  Learn to recognize danger.
  • Remain aware at all times. Do not walk around talking on the phone or listening to music on your headphones.

  • When entering larger venues, always decide on a meeting place with those you are with just in case you get separated. Always identify possible exits.

  • Be attentive to what is unusual or threatening. Assess reasonable and safe options. Trust your "gut feelings"; if you feel threatened, act if safe to do so and leave the area immediately. Find somewhere more secure.
  • Research potential risks you can encounter before you travel. 
  • Increase your safety and reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of crime by staying on top of your drinking. Know your limits. In many countries beer, wine and liquor in some countries contains a higher alcohol content than similar products in the U.S. Know what you are drinking and how much alcohol it contains.
  • Practice the buddy system, which promotes safety.  This system helps ensure that you, and a partner, will look out for each other.  Choose your buddy wisely.  The ideal buddy should feel that the buddy system is very important. If you are having a problem, your buddy can help to alert others and get you to safety.
  • Have a communication plan. Who will you call on site if you are facing an emergency? Do your friends and relatives know how to reach you when you are traveling?
Register online with the U.S. embassy through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country.
Read the UCEAP the Guide to Study Abroad, Safety Chapter  for more information on how to prepare to have a safe experience and access the U.S. Department of State Students Abroad website for updated travel information.
With the right information - and by thinking ahead - everyone can play a part in minimizing or preventing risks.
  • UCEAP and its partners provide resources and support services to help you have a safe experience while abroad.
  • You have the primary responsibility to prepare before departure, to research and be aware of the risks involved in your planned travels, to be physically, academically, and mentally prepared for the program, to know about your insurance coverage provided to you by UCEAP and its partners, to behave in a safe and respectful manner, and to bring any concerns you may have to the attention of UCEAP and its partners.
  • Once abroad, check the email account that UC uses to communicate with you every day, at least once a day. In the event of an emergency, this is one of the ways in which your Study Center will communicate with you. 

  • There are steps you can take to manage or minimize risk and avoid being a victim of a crime. Stop and think. Remain aware of your surroundings. Stay alert at all times.  Be conscious of what is unusual or threatening. Trust your "gut feelings"; if you feel threatened, leave the area immediately and find somewhere more secure.

  • Carry official ID and a charged cell phone with you at all times.

Personal Safety Tips

  • Be inconspicuous. Dress to blend in with locals. College sweatshirts, sweatpants, baseball caps, white sneakers, and shorts are all associated with Americans and will make you stand out.
  • Act like you know where you are going, even if you do not. Plan ahead when you are in an unfamiliar part of a city so you will not have to pull out a map and reveal that you are lost.
  • Always walk with a friend (the buddy system).
  • Carry your purse or bag with the strap diagonally across your chest, and on the side of your body that is not facing the street. Do not store a camera or other valuables in backpacks where they can be removed without notice.
  • Leave items that you do not need on any given day at home.
  • Do not carry your passport. Copy the first page of your passport to use as a form of ID and leave your actual passport safe in your room. Before departure, scan the first page of your passport and e-mail the file to yourself. If your passport is stolen while you are traveling, you can access it online and print out a copy, which will help in obtaining a replacement from the embassy. If you lose your passport, or if it is stolen, immediately notify the nearest American embassy or consulate, local authorities, and UCEAP Study Center staff; go to the consulate immediately and obtain information about passport replacement.
  • Do not use ATMs in isolated, unlit areas or when there are people loitering in the vicinity. Avoid using the ATMs in train stations, especially at night. Beware of people standing close enough to the ATM to read your personal identification number (PIN) as you enter it into the machine. Thieves often conduct successful scams simply by observing the PIN as it is entered. If your card gets stuck in the ATM, be wary of people who offer to help, even those who seem to be helpful and ask for your PIN so they can “fix” the machine. Legitimate bank employees never have a reason to ask for the PIN.
  • If using your laptop or smart phone in a public space, be sure to remain aware. Many laptops, cell phones, and smart phones are swiped by agile thieves watching you and waiting for you to turn away for a moment. If using a laptop or smart phone in a restaurant or café, do not sit near the doors where a thief could run in, grab it, and run out easily. Sit in a back area and remain aware of the people around you. Do not place your cell phone or smart phone on the café table; always keep it in your purse or pocket.
  • Do not text or phone while walking down the street or waiting for the metro; do so in a discreet place where no one can see the phone you are using. Avoid the temptation of checking your Facebook while in the metro; wait until you are in a discreet place to take out your smart phone.
  • Use common sense and use the same personal safety precautions that you would use in a large city in California.
  • Lock your door and close your windows when leaving your housing.  If biking, secure your bike to prevent theft.  Do not leave your residence room unlocked and/or open, even when just visiting a friend down the hallway.
  • On buses and in crowds, secure your wallet and purse. Carry your wallet in a front or breast pocket, never in your back pocket.
  • When trying on clothes in a dressing room, do not place your purse or backpack on the floor, where it can be grabbyed by a swift thief.
Crime & Prevention
France is a relatively safe country, with most crimes being non-violent. The majority of crimes directed against foreign visitors, including Americans, involve pick-pocketing and theft.
Crime in Paris is similar to that in most large cities. Violent crime is relatively uncommon in the city center. Pickpockets are by far the most significant problem. In addition to purses and wallets, smart phones and small electronic devices are particular targets. In Paris, pickpockets can be any gender, race, or age and are commonly children under 16 because they are difficult to prosecute.  Pickpockets are professionals and they are good at what they do. They prey on tourists and can usually spot one easily. Then they will wait for the one moment when your attention is elsewhere to steal your purse or wallet. They frequently work in teams, with one person distracting you and another relieving you of your personal items.
Pickpockets and thieves are very active on the rail link (RER B) from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city center. They single out jet-lagged, luggage-burdened tourists and students. In addition, passengers on the Metro line 1, which traverses the city center from east to west, servicing many major tourist sites, are highly targeted.
Avoid the area around the famous Moulin Rouge, known as Pigalle, after dark, unless with a tour group headed for a show. Pigalle is an adult entertainment area known for prostitution, sex shows, and illegal drugs. Unsuspecting tourists have run up exorbitant bar bills and been forced to pay before being permitted to leave.
Beware of thefts that occur on both overnight and day trains, especially on trains originating in Spain, Italy, and Belgium. 

Safety Tips

  • Carry only essential items: ONE credit/ATM card, ONE piece of identification, and no more than €40-50.
  • Never leave valuables unattended.
  • Never confront a thief, but do walk away from anyone you suspect to be a pickpocket. Don't worry about seeming rude if you refuse to answer a question, sign a petition, or don't wish to accept their friendship bracelet.
  • Avoid carrying high-value jewelry and large amounts of cash. Valuables should be kept out of sight and in places difficult for thieves to reach, such as internal coat pockets or in pouches hung around the neck, under your clothes.
  • Carry only a purse that zips closed and ensure that it is carried under the arm and slightly in front of the body. Swing backpack-type purses around so that they are slightly in front of your body. Carry your wallet in a front pocket. While on foot, remain aware of your surroundings at all times and keep bags slung across your body and away from the street. Shoulder bags and wallets in back pockets are an invitation for a thief.
  • Never leave valuables unattended Thieves often operate in groups and often come to each other's aid if confronted. If a thief is caught in the act, a simple pick-pocketing could turn into an assault if you attempt to capture the thief. You can shout out for police assistance to attract attention, but do not pursue the thief.
  • Many theft and assault victims are targeted when making their way home from a late night out after drinking alcohol. If you go out late at night, do so with a group of trusted friends. There is safety in numbers, especially when returning home. Do not leave any member of your group behind.
If a pickpocket steals your wallet or purse, do not let it affect your sense of personal safety. It can happen to anyone and possessions are much less important than your overall safety and good health.  Report the incident immediately to the UC Paris Study Center Administrator, and then to the local police. You can create the police report, which is necessary to file an insurance claim, at any police station. It doesn't have to be at the one where the theft took place.

Common Scams Affecting Travelers

  • Persons working in conjunction to distract a foreigner by asking directions or the time, asking you to sign a petition, or putting a “friendship” bracelet on your wrist. While you are distracted, one of the scam artists steals from the victim.
  • A thief throwing a ring or a key on the ground and stealing your wallet while you are distracted.
  • One thief sprays you with a substance and others, pretending to help, rob you. Safeguard belongings before reacting to any situation or before attempting to clean up.
  • Fake poll-takers who steal your items while asking you to sign the paperwork on their clipboard. 
In many bars and restaurants, males are targeted by women who work in conjunction with the establishment. They will ask the man to buy them a drink. Later, the man will be billed for the drink at an exorbitant rate. Management will frequently claim that the customer is also being charged for the services of a conversation hostess. This is most prevalent at cabarets in the Pigalle district.
Be mindful of anyone asking to borrow your smartphone "to make a quick call." The scammer will often pretend to have just had his phone stolen/lost. When you lend him your phone, he runs away with it.

Police Response

The police are well equipped and trained. Many officers speak more than one language. Main police stations, whether National Police or Gendarmerie, are located in each arrondissement. Commissariat is the name for a police station. The Study Center can help you fine the one closest to you.
Civil Unrest
For your safety, avoid all protests and demonstrations, including student and labor rallies. Exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations.
Political violence in Paris and throughout France is relatively uncommon, although there are occasional instances of extremely large demonstrations simultaneously occurring in many French cities.
Large demonstrations in Paris are generally managed by a strong police presence but even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.
Some sporting events, such as soccer matches, have occasionally degenerated into violence that continued into the streets.
Traffic & Transportation Safety
Paris has an extensive and efficient public transportation system. The interconnecting system of buses, subways, and commuter rails serves more than four million people a day with a safety record comparable to, or better than, the systems of major American cities.​

Pickpockets are very active on the rail link (RER B) from Charles de Gaulle Airport to the city center. In addition, passengers on the Metro line 1, which traverses the city center from east to west and services many major tourist sites, are often targeted. Thieves often time their pickpocket attempts to coincide with the closing of the automatic doors on the Metro, leaving the victim on the departing train while the thief makes his/her escape through the Metro.

It is advisable to avoid public parks after dark, particularly Bois de Boulogne, as they are frequented by drug dealers and prostitutes, increasing the risk of assault. Visitors to adult entertainment districts, such as the Pigalle area of Paris, should take particular care at night.

Many nightclubs engage in very aggressive marketing, charging exorbitant rates for drinks. Hidden charges of 500-600 Euro for drinks are not uncommon, and there have been reports of threats to coerce customers into paying these charges by physically preventing customers from leaving until the tab is settled.​​
Efficient transportation systems are found in all major French cities. Between cities, France is served by an equally extensive rail service, which is safe and reliable. High-speed rail links connect the major cities in France. Traveling by train is safer than driving. Many cities are also served by frequent air service.
In larger cities, subways, buses, trolleys, and public transport stations are havens for thieves, pickpockets, and purse snatchers. Loose items such as cameras and purses should be kept within a larger and securable carrying bag that is kept in front of you.

Train Travel Security

Crime committed on trains on popular tourist routes is a concern. Most personal crimes, including robbery and assault, occur at night and on low-end domestic service trains.
  • Travel during the day, using the highest class of travel available and the most direct booking.
  • If overnight travel is required, book tickets only on international rail lines in a lockable cabin and never travel alone.
  • Do not accept food or drink from strangers, as criminals are known to drug unsuspecting travelers, especially foreigners.
Train stations are usually open 24 hours a day and do not have security to control travelers or loiterers. Stations and their immediate surroundings are havens for petty criminals including scam artists, pickpockets, purse snatchers and baggage thieves.
  • Keep your luggage and other possessions in sight.
  • Avoid using the station's public restrooms if they are vacant or not guarded.
  • Avoid withdrawing money from ATMs in train stations, as thieves may be targeting those that use them.

Pedestrian Safety

Pedestrians make up 13 percent of the deaths in motor vehicle accidents (roughly the same as in the United States), but this percentage is increasing. Most of these accidents occur when a pedestrian steps out onto the street, often when a car or motorcycle is making a turn onto a pedestrian crosswalk.
As a pedestrian, it is your responsibility to make yourself visible and avoid dangerous behavior and situations. Be careful and attentive.
Traffic is heavy in major cities, and pedestrians are numerous. Sidewalks are sometimes narrow and motorcyclists will drive up onto them to avoid being blocked by cars in the street. Motorists may not stop for pedestrians in crossings. Look carefully in both directions before crossing streets, even when using a marked crosswalk.
Be especially careful while crossing streets at busy intersections. Drivers can be very aggressive in Paris and traffic laws are frequently broken. Even when the light is green, take extra caution while crossing the street. Also watch out for cars and motorcycles in certain areas that seem pedestrian-only. Even if a street is marked one-way, look both ways before crossing as there may be a bus or taxi lane that allows for these vehicles to drive in the opposite direction.
Substance Abuse
You will find different practices and attitudes towards drinking in France. Alcohol can be purchased by anyone over 16 years old.
Alcohol alone is far more likely to put you at risk for assault, injury or death, regardless of whether you are male or female. Evidence shows that people who have been drinking are more at risk of being the victim (and perpetrator) of attacks, robberies, muggings and sexual assaults.  You don’t have to be ‘really drunk’ for alcohol to affect your judgement. Even a few drinks can make you take risks you would not otherwise have taken.
Many theft and assault victims are targeted when making their way home from a late night out after drinking alcohol. When you are drinking, your ability to gauge the safety of a situation and to take appropriate action is going to be reduced. Alcohol can, and frequently does, cause a person to lose all common sense when it comes to their own safety. Avoid becoming a victim when you do drink. The best way to have a great time and to keep safe is to plan ahead. If you go out late at night, do so with a group of friends and drink responsibly.
If you are out with someone new it is wise to consider how to keep yourself safe:
  • Make sure someone knows who you are meeting and where.
  • Have an exit strategy ready (such as a friend calling you).
  • Remember alcohol is the most common date rape drug.
  • Alcohol affects your behavior and the messages you give out.
  • Date rape drugs are used as much in France as in the U.S. Never accept a drink that you haven't seen poured, and never leave your drink unattended.

Violence and Antisocial Behavior

  • Don’t feel under pressure to drink until you are drunk. French students drink as an accompaniment to an evening, and not with getting drunk as a goal.
  • Be aware that when drunk you may appear threatening to others – which in turn may impact how they behave toward you.
  • Alchohol can, and frequently does, cause a person to lose all common sense when it coems to their own safety. Avoid becoming a victim.


  • ​An anti-smoking law forbids smoking in all public places, includoing restaruants, bars and nightclubs. Howerver, smoking continues to be well-tolerated in France, so expect to see many people smoking.
Familiarize yourself with the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy.
Vigipirate Alert Level System
The Government of France maintains a threat rating system, known locally as “Vigipirate,” similar to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Advisory System. Under this system, the government routinely augments police with armed forces and increases visibility at airports, train and metro stations, and other high-profile locations such as schools, major tourist attractions, and government installations. Over the last few years, there have been arrests of suspected militant extremists allegedly involved in terrorist plots. French authorities have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions for terrorist attacks in Europe.
After a series of terrorist attacks in France, the Government of France raised the Vigipirate level and continues to evaluate its security posture on a regular basis.
Updated information is available on the Vigipirate website in French and travelers may consult Travel Information and Messages on the U.S. Embassy France website for the latest information in English.
​​France was victimized by significant terrorist attacks in 2015 and 2016 to include the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo Attack; the November 2015 Paris attacks that resulted in 130 dead and over 380 wounded; the deadly mile-long truck rampage in July 2016 in Nice that killed 86 people and wounded more than 400; and the attack on a Catholic church in July 2016 in Normandy by two teenagers wielding knives that resulted in the death of an 86-year-old priest and the wounding of another.

There were several other less publicized attacks by individuals targeting the French police, and a failed car-bomb attack near Notre Dame in Paris in September 2016.

The government maintains a threat rating system known as “Vigipirate.” There are three threat levels: Vigilance, Enhanced Security Risk of Attack, and Imminent Attack.

Although U.S. citizens have not been specifically targeted in terrorist attacks in France in the past few years, several have become victims in recent terrorist attacks. Terrorist organizations continue to aspire to attack American interests worldwide. Travelers should remain vigilant.​
Fire Safety
France has low fire safety requirements for both single-family dwellings and blocks of flats. There is a law requiring every home in France to be equipped with a smoke alarm as of March 2015. Around 800 people die each year from domestic fires in France.
  • Identify possible fire hazards in your room and eliminate them.
  • Educate yourself. 
  • In case of fire - Dial 18
If your dwelling does not have the mandated smoke alarm, borrow one from the UC Study Center. ​

Follow these general fire safety tips. Most college-related fires in the U.S. are due to a general lack of knowledge about fire safety and prevention. Educate yourself about fire safety standards in your UCEAP country. Fire safety standards differ drastically around the world.
  • Know where emergency exists are located and check whether exits are passable.
  • Know how to call the local fire department.
  • Do not stay in housing above the sixth floor so you are within range of most fire department rescue ladders.
  • Print and take with you the UCEAP brochure, Fire Safety 101 for Students.
  • Purchase and use a smoke detector. Before departure contact the Fire Safety Foundation. Choose from a variety of battery-powered smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms, including models with sealed, 10-year batteries. Once purchased, the alarms and a multilingual installation manual – written in English and the host country’s native language - will be shipped to the address where you are residing.
  • Have an escape plan and practice it.
  • Treat every smoke alarm activation as a likely fire and react quickly and safely to the alarm.
  • Check for fire hazards. Make sure exit routes are not blocked.
  • If you have a disability, alert others of the type of assistance you need to leave the building.
  • Refer to the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, Fire Safety section for life-saving information.
UCEAP Contingency Planning
If a local situation requires increased caution or a program suspension and evacuation of participants, UCEAP will activate contingency plans. For security reasons, contingency plans are not public and cannot be shared with anyone except UCEAP officials.

Program Suspension Policy

If the U.S. Department of State or CDC issues a Travel Advisory after the start date of the program term, UCEAP may suspend the program. If time and local security conditions permit, UCEAP will consult with the UC Study Center Director, UC security provider, U.S. Embassy, U.S. Department of State regional and security analysts, other organizations that offer programs in the same country, and area experts to determine the appropriate timeframe for suspending the program and/or for the evacuation of the students from the host country.

Security Evacuation

The UCEAP required security evacuation will override any host institution, or local US Embassy evacuation on U.S. government-arranged flights, that require U.S. citizens to sign a promissory note with the government. The safe evacuation of UCEAP students, managed by UCEAP and its security providers, is covered by UCEAP itravel nsurance. UC students are required to follow UC safety directives in the event of an evacuation.
In An Emergency

What Is an Emergency?

An emergency is a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action. The following are considered emergencies:
  • Any life/death situation
  • A traumatic event requiring immediate assistance
  • An arrest
  • Civil unrest or natural disaster in the host country

In an Emergency

Contact local emergency services first and then contact the following:

If you are in the U.S.

  • During office hours (8 a.m.–5 p.m. Pacific Time): Contact your Program Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office at (805) 893-4762.
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone numbers at (805) 893-4762 or (805) 882-2086.

If you are abroad

Carry the local emergency contact information at all times.
If you need immediate emergency assistance, call 112 for Police, Ambulance, or Fire Department.
If necessary, call the emergency number of the U.S. Embassy in Paris:
01 43 12 22 22

U.S. Embassy in France

American Citizen Services
4, avenue Gabriel
75382 Paris Cedex 08
Phone: +33 1 43 12 22 22
Fax: +33 1 42 66 97 83
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