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Travel Resources
London & Paris 
Approx. Time Difference
UK: Add 8 hours
France: Add 9 hours
Welcome to your program!
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.
Click a heading below to see section content.
Your UCEAP Network
Local UCEAP support, UCEAP online & Study Center abroad

Contact Information

Operations Specialist
Michelle Bobro
Phone:(805) 893-3246; E-mail:
Academic Specialist
Andrea Nuernberger
Phone:(805) 893-2810; E-mail:
Program Advisor
Ann Logan
Phone:(805) 893-3246; E-mail:
Student Finance Accountant
Rachel Wilson
Phone:(805) 893-5927; 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 UCEAP United Kingdom page and the UCEAP France page.

Study Centers Abroad

UCEAP programs in London are administered by the London Study Center while UCEAP programs in Paris are administered by the Paris Study Center. Both offices collaborate closely and continually with ACCENT, a provider of student services for a number of study abroad programs worldwide. ACCENT headquarters are located in San Francisco.
ACCENT’s London office is located in a large building block owned by Florida State University, so there is FSU signage on the building. The classrooms and computer lab are also located in the FSU building which is in the heart of London’s Bloomsbury district near the British Museum and the University of London. The London Study Center is nearby.
In Paris, both the ACCENT office and the Paris Study Center are in the same building, along with classrooms and computer lab.
The program is designed for UCEAP students; there are no British or French or other international students in the program.
Study Center staff advise on academic and other matters and help ensure that your academic program meets UC requirements. ACCENT handles the logistical arrangements and day-to-day activities of the program. ACCENT oversees student housing, coordinates on-site orientation, organizes field trips and cultural activities, handles class scheduling, and serves as a resource for nonacademic questions or problems you may encounter.
The Director for ACCENT in London is Elizabeth Terry, while the Director for ACCENT in Paris is Melissa Smith-Simonet. Both ACCENT offices have several staff members overseeing specific components of the program, while all are available to assist students with any issues.
If you need to contact ACCENT prior to departure, call the San Francisco office.

Contact Information

ACCENT San Francisco
870 Market Street, Suite 1026
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (800) 869-9291
99-103 Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3LA
United Kingdom
UCEAP Study Center
3 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3RA, United Kingdom
Phone (calling from the U.S.): (011-44-207) 079-0562
Phone (calling from the U.K.): 0207-079-0562
ACCENT Paris and UCEAP 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 in the U.K.

U.S. international code. . . . . . . . . . . . . 011 (dial this to call from the U.S.)
United Kingdom country code. . . ... . . . 44
London city code . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Approximate Time Difference in the U.K.
Add 8 hours

Phone Number Codes In France

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 in France
Add 9 hours
Academic Information
University-specific academic information, internships & volunteer opportunities
Please see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad for critical academic information and policies, including unit requirements, taking less than the program requirements, the MyEAP Study List registration process, changing courses, petitions, and grades. While abroad, direct all academic questions to the ACCENT Director first, with one exception: direct any questions regarding satisfying home UC department degree or major requirements through UCEAP coursework to your home UC  department or college advisor.

Library Facilities

In addition to the ACCENT office library, you will have access to a small, fully staffed lending library, which is located in the same building as the ACCENT office. Within the library there is a selection of materials relevant to your courses reserved just for UCEAP students.
You can also access the California Digital Library (CDL) while abroad. This library includes online academic journals and other resources. In order to access the CDL from a computer that is not part of the UC network (including those you may use abroad), follow the instructions from your UC campus on the CDL website. Students can also become members of the British Library. Please see ACCENT staff for more details.
Academic materials including textbooks will be distributed by ACCENT during orientation.

Course Information

You will take two courses at each location, resulting in four courses total for the entire program. Each course is four units. You also have the option of adding on a 2-unit Directed Group Study.
Course Selection, London (choose 2 of 3):
  • After the Empire: Diversity and Integration in Britain. Study the rise of Imperial Britain, its transformations following de-colonization and the redrawing of national borders, and the emergence of competing versions of Britishness leading to the diverse and challenging British society of today.
  • Global Cities: Health, Urbanism, and Social Change. Examine the history of London's health care issues and analyze the manner in which today's London must answer to a growing population through successfully managing sanitation, waterways, transportation, and global sporting events such as the 2012 Summer Olympics.
  • Voices from the Margins for the Margins: Activism and Community Organizing in London and Paris. Analyze recent events in London and Paris from the perspective of the citizenry who have actively mobilized to achieve human rights that political systems failed to accomplish on their behalf.
Course Selection, Paris (choose 2 of 3):
  • Human Rights in France in an Era of Immigration and Integration. Study the thorny human rights issues inherent in today's conflicts between the different nationalities which make up the modern French population.
  • Identity and Citizenship in the Paris Housing Projects. Examine the particular urban social problems of the children of the North African immigrants who live in the economically and socially disfavored Parisian housing projects.
  • Youth Protest Movements in France. Analyze the history of youths contesting social injustice and attempting to force the government to face its responsibilities.


You are required to take a full-time course of study on UCEAP, which is 16-18 quarter units for this program.

Attendance Policy

A maximum of two absences per class, for any reason, is permissible but discouraged. Normally, absences are not permitted except for health and unforeseen emergencies. In both cases, if possible, discuss your absence with the ACCENT Director beforehand.
Instructors maintain attendance records and may treat arrival more than ten minutes after the class begins, or leaving early, as an absence. Attendance at all components of a class (lecture, seminar, field visits, etc.) each week is expected and absence from any component will be counted as an absence for that week. Violation of the attendance policy may result in sanctions including a lower grade, loss of course credit, or dismissal from the program.

Academic Culture

In the Perspectives on the Global City program, courses are designed along the American model, with continual assessment and multiple assignments. The focus of the program is careful analysis of British and French society. You’ll be expected to assimilate and then compare and critique what you read, see, and experience around you.
Instructors will welcome questions and lively discussion. However, most program faculty are themselves products of British and French traditional academic culture, and will generally admire independence, self-discipline in managing readings and assignments, very strong writing skills, and intellectual curiosity. UCEAP students who exhibit these qualities will especially shine in this program.


For detailed information about grades, see the Academic Information chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.
Extending UCEAP Participation
Extension information, forms & deadlines
Extension is not possible in this program.To participate in two back-to-back programs (either a fall quarter program and a spring quarter program or a spring quarter program and a summer program) you need to apply to both programs by each one's application deadline and fulfill all pre-departure requirements for both. Make sure the program calendars do not overlap and that you can apply for the appropriate visas from your location at the time of visa application.
Cultural Awareness
Educational resources

Educate Yourself

Become as acquainted as possible with the U.K. and France prior to departure, and keep up with current events by reading articles in newspapers and magazines, and by watching films set in contemporary U.K. and France. UC libraries subscribe to the main daily newspapers published abroad and weekly or monthly magazines of news and commentary also should be available.

Travel Guides

UCEAP students report it is wise to acquire a guidebook or two before departure. There are various series of travel books that give comprehensive accommodation, sightseeing, historical, and travel information, covering practically all countries of the world. Suggested travel series include Let’s Go, Rough Guide, Lonely Planet, Blue Guide, Michelin Guide, and Intelligent Traveler’s Guide. Other resources are Time Out, DK, Insight, and Footprint guides.

Cultural Awareness - London

Living in the U.K.
The United Kingdom is a multiracial society and has experienced, and continues to experience, racial tensions. But the mix of races is quite different from the U.S.; in addition to Africans and Afro-Caribbeans, Britain has a sizable population from the Asian subcontinent, including Indians and Pakistanis, but in relation to California, a smaller number of East Asians. Moreover, ethnic minorities represent  different cultural experiences, deriving their place in contemporary Britain from the nation’s comparatively recent colonial past. British people are conscious of the need for racial awareness and sensitivity, but as ethnic groups are unevenly spread across the country (minorities typically concentrated in London and the large cities of the Midlands and North), they vary a great deal in their actual experience of racial diversity.
Drinking & Smoking
In general, British students use pubs for socializing a great deal more than their American counterparts; a night out may be more frequent and involve the consumption of more alcohol than most American students are used to. Be aware of this fact and set your own limits; all pubs serve soft drinks, too.
Cigarette smoking, while more controlled than a few years ago, is still common, especially among university students. Smoking in public buildings has been banned, but smokers may cluster immediately outside doorways so you cannot always avoid secondhand smoke.
Sexual Attitudes
Although the British are not as open about sexuality (especially in the smaller cities), larger cities such as London have well established lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) scenes. Publications such as Time Out list LGBT-friendly events and venues in London, and UCEAP staff will have further contact information. In addition, most universities have LGBT societies. The age of consent for gay males is 16 years in the U.K. There are no legal prohibitions against lesbianism.

Cultural Awareness - Paris

The French are very attached to certain formalities, such as shaking hands frequently, exchanging kisses 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.
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.
Sexual Attitudes
The French may have different attitudes toward sexual differences than Americans. Although they may be more accepting of sexual difference at the societal level, they may be less open to discussing it at the individual level. Cities such as Paris, Nice, or Lyon have long-established lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) scenes. Websites such as Time Out or Paris’ Centre LGBT provide list of LGBT-friendly events and venues. The age of consent is 15 in France for males and females.
Arrival & Orientation
Travel documents, packing tips, travel to and from your host country

​Travel Documents

Make photocopies of all important documents and keep the copies in a location separate from the originals. E-mail yourself a list of passport and credit card numbers and any other personal information that would need to be replaced if it were stolen or lost.
Carefully read the UCEAP Visa Instructions concerning entry to the U.K. and France. The regulations are different for each country, and different for U.S citizens and non-U.S. citizens. All students need to follow the instructions for both countries.
Non-U.S. Citizens
If you are not a U.S. citizen, follow the UCEAP Visa Instructions 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.

Traveling to the U.K.

You may not travel to or through the Republic of Ireland on your way to the United Kingdom. Do not book your flight on Aer Lingus, as it will make a stop in Dublin on its way to the U.K.
The U.K. and Ireland are part of the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangement, which also includes Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man. The first entrance into the CTA dictates the type of entry clearance stamp or entry clearance activation you will receive. This means that if you arrive first in Ireland on your way to the U.K., you will receive an “in transit” stamp and you will not receive the correct stamp for short-term study when you arrive in the U.K.
U.K. immigration officers may not even be present where passengers deplane from flights from CTA locations into the U.K. Immigration officers elsewhere in the airport will not and cannot give another entry clearance to persons who have already entered the CTA. This means you have no status in the U.K. immigration computer records—your student status in the U.K. is nonexistent and your stay is considered illegal. You must then regularize your status—and you will be denied reentry if you travel. Most likely you will need to return to the U.S. to obtain the correct entry clearance. If the British Home Office allows you to apply to their London office, it will cost at least $590 to apply by mail and at least $1,000 to apply in person. Applying by mail requires you to submit your passport to the British Home Office for several weeks, so you will not be able to travel out of the country. To be on the safe side, do not travel to or through Ireland on your way to studying in the U.K.
History of CTA
CTA has been in existence for decades to allow ease of travel to British and Irish citizens between the two countries. The European Union has adopted and continues to refine several similar arrangements for various groups of European countries, the most well-known being the Schengen Treaty and its offshoots. However, Europe compensates for ease of border crossing with more internal controls, such as identity checks and shared immigration databases.
International Student ID Cards
An international student identification card is cheaper abroad than in the U.S., and some students wait to purchase one. However, cards purchased abroad do not carry the supplemental travel insurance policy that is provided with cards purchased in the U.S.

Packing Tips

Identify each item of luggage on the inside and outside with your name, home address, and destination. A rolling suitcase is a wise investment. Luggage restrictions vary by airline, though all carriers have weight restrictions. Pack clothing that is washable and quick drying if possible. Objects such as scissors, pocket knives, nail clippers, knitting needles, etc., must be packed in checked luggage only. They will be confiscated if found in your carry-on luggage.
The UCEAP Student Budget does not include funds for the purchase of clothing abroad.
  • Layered clothing (T-shirt, shirt, fleece vest, button and pullover sweaters)
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Warm socks
  • Flip-flops, walking shoes, casual footwear
  • One dressy outfit
  • Umbrella
  • Heavy jacket or coat
  • Rainwear
  • Bathrobe and slippers
  • Beach towel
  • Lightweight blanket
  • Seat pad (good for train and bus travel)
  • Travel-size sleeping bag
  • Empty backpack (to bring home items purchased abroad)
  • Travel alarm clock and flashlight
  • Small gifts for new friends (with UC logo or California designs)
  • Family photos
Consider bringing your favorite brand name products that might not be available abroad (familiar brands of shampoo, antiperspirants,over-the-counter remedies, contact lens supplies, etc.). Although a particular brand may be difficult or impossible to find, it is almost always possible to find a local equivalent.
Do Not Bring
  • Pharmaceuticals that are illegal in the U.K. or France (prescription medications are the exception; see the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad)
  • Fragile items unless they are bubble wrapped
Pack your passport, travel tickets, prescription medications, money, and other important travel documents in your carry-on luggage. Keep photocopies in a separate location. Scan the first pages of your passport and e-mail yourself the document; keep the file in your e-mail inbox and not on your computer so that you can more readily retrieve a copy if it is lost or stolen.
Never put valuables 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.

Insurance for Personal Possessions

The UCEAP Insurance Plan includes a personal property benefit; however, it is your responsibility to determine if it will suit your needs. Look into the benefits prior to departure and decide whether or not you will need to purchase additional coverage, especially if you are bringing anything of value like a laptop or camera.
In addition, your parents may already have insurance coverage for personal possessions, though it may not cover items that are in transit or abroad. Find out if your parental policy, combined with the UCEAP policy, is sufficient to cover the items you will be taking with you.
If you decide to purchase additional coverage, it is best to obtain insurance before departure because most theft occurs in the airport or while moving into housing.


The electrical current used abroad is 50Hz AC rather than the 60Hz current used in the U.S., and voltage is 220–240 rather than the standard U.S. 110–120 volts for small appliances. Most electrical sockets in the U.K. have three-pin plugs. In general, North American appliances need both a voltage converter and a plug adapter (available at electronics stores or travel specialty shops) for use abroad. However, travel irons, curling irons, hair dryers, electric razors, etc. can be purchased in the U.S. with either a built-in converter or multi-voltage function. These appliances will need only a plug adapter to be used abroad. U.S. clocks need to be battery-driven to operate abroad. Past UCEAP students recommend purchasing small appliances abroad, although they will be more expensive than in the U.S.
If you plan to take a laptop, be sure that the AC input of its power supply will accept 240 volts and 50Hz (AC Input: 100V–240V; 50Hz–60Hz); if it does not, purchase a transformer before departure. You can purchase the correct adapter plug (for three-pronged sockets) in the U.S. or abroad. Since the cost of electricity abroad is high and improper use of appliances may damage both the electrical outlets and the appliances, ask before using the outlets. Some university accommodations will test your appliances to make sure the appliances comply.
Information on electrical appliances and accessories can be found on the Magellan’s and Distant Lands websites.


Numerous sites exist where you can store luggage, either during breaks or while traveling after the end of the program. Two storage companies in the U.K. are Big Yellow Self Storage and Excess Baggage Company. Storage sites are usually at airports, underground stations, and train stations. Rates and hours will vary, so confirm all details in advance. Most companies can also arrange to ship luggage.
Travel lightly and avoid shipping surplus supplies abroad. You will have to carry all of your luggage through customs. Baggage allowances  continue to change, so be sure to check 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. Many apartment buildings do not have elevators. In addition, most cities in Europe are not set up with wheelchair ramps. Consequently, rolling luggage may need to be carried up flights of stairs or lifted frequently. Keep your luggage with you at all times while traveling. 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.


Most likely, it will be cold or rainy when you arrive for a spring program. Pack the appropriate clothing based on the months that you will be abroad.
Typically, California winter coats are too thin for the U.K. and France. Either take a durable coat or buy one after arrival. However, be aware that clothing is usually more expensive abroad.
Local students abroad tend to dress up more than Americans. Generally, they do not wear sweatshirts, sweatpants, athletic shoes, or jeans with holes or tears. 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.
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 athletic 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. Most 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. Such clothing is acceptable and common, however, at the beach and recreational areas.
Jeans and permanent-press shirts are practical. Many men wear sweaters over their shirts in cooler weather. You will need more formal attire for dressier occasions, such as the theater.

Travel Abroad

Flights from the U.S. direct to the U.K. or France arrive the day after they depart the U.S. Keep this in mind when booking your flight to arrive on the correct date for the program.
No group flight has been arranged by UCEAP. You are responsible for making your own travel arrangements directly to the program site. Even if you are on full financial aid, you are responsible for reserving and purchasing your airline ticket. Your Financial Aid Office will not do it for you.
Purchase a changeable airline ticket; standby tickets are not appropriate. You are required to arrive at the correct program site on UCEAP’s Official Start Date—see the program calendar on the UCEAP website for the date. If you fail to appear on the date and at the place indicated, you will be subject to dismissal from the program (see the Student Agreement in MyEAP). Detailed instructions on transportation from different airports to the designated arrival point at the program site are available in the UCEAP Predeparture Checklist. The start date of the program can change due to unforeseen circumstances. You are responsible for making modifications to your travel itinerary to accommodate such changes. In addition, flights are routinely changed or canceled; confirm your flight schedule about two weeks before the departure date. UCEAP is not responsible for any unrecoverable transportation charges you may incur. To be kept informed of any program changes, update your address, telephone number, and e-mail address in MyEAP.
Financial Aid Students
Your financial aid package is based partly on the UCEAP Student Budget for the program. The estimated round-trip airfare is based on the cost of a changeable student fare. If your independent travel costs are greater than the airfare estimate in the UCEAP Student 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.
Airline & Customs Restrictions
Do not ask other students to carry any items of any kind abroad for you (laptop, camera, extra bags, etc.) and do not volunteer to do so for others. Airlines will ask you if you are carrying items for someone else, and if you are, they will not allow you to take them. If you are allowed to board the plane with the items, customs abroad may charge you a high duty upon arrival. They will assume you plan to resell the items, especially if you already have similar items of your own. This is particularly a concern with electronic goods.

Arrival and Orientation in London and Paris

This program begins on the UCEAP official start date found in the UCEAP Program Calendar on the UCEAP website. Students are required to attend a mandatory on-site orientation. Failure to arrive by the official start date and time of day or failure to attend the orientation sessions and events could result in dismissal from the program per the UCEAP Student Agreement.
UCEAP and ACCENT will provide a thorough orientation when you arrive in your first city, and again when you move to your second city.
  • Welcome Reception in first city
  • Meet and bond with other students
  • Learn what to do in matters of health, safety, emergency
  • Topics include banking, communications, transportation, budgeting, food, housing contract
  • Advice given on integration into the host country culture, etiquette
  • Guidance on how to register your courses with both ACCENT and UC, to make sure you receive UC credit for courses taken abroad
  • Information packet with maps and city guidebook
  • Walking tour of local neighborhood
  • Ongoing cultural and social activities
  • Departure packet by email
  • Farewell Reception in second city

Return Travel

Read the linked UCEAP visa instructions to find out if you need to show a round-trip ticket or other proof of departure from the country, to Immigration upon arrival, depending on which country you are entering first. For flexibility, you can purchase a changeable or “open return” round-trip ticket. If you are not required to show a round-trip ticket, be sure to book a return flight with plenty of lead time once abroad. Flights to the U.S. fill up quickly and economy-fare seats book early.
Local Transportation
Travel options & travel sign-out
See “Estimated Personal Expenses” in the UCEAP Student Budget, where the “Incidentals/Books/Transportation” line factors reasonable, average local transportation costs into the budget.

London Transportation System

You will use the London transportation system extensively. Detailed maps, routes, and schedules for bus and London Underground transportation are available online. Bus rides are free for those in wheelchairs.

Paris Transportation System

Transportation options include walking, biking, the metro, and the bus. You can purchase a Navigo or an Imagine “R” pass, which allow you to ride both the metro and the bus. The cost of the Navigo pass is approximately €62,90 per month. Single metro tickets cost about €1,80. You may also purchase a weekly pass for about €19,15. Prices are 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. A train ticket from Paris to Lyon costs approximately €75 to €125, and you can receive a 25 percent student discount. There are also high-speed trains (TGV) between Bordeaux and Paris. To find routes, fares, and departure and arrival times, visit the website for France’s train transportation system, SNCF.​
Financial Information
MyEAP student account, UCEAP student budget & handling money abroad

Handling Money Abroad

Be cautious about carrying and displaying money.
Before Departure
Before leaving the U.S., exchange $200 into British or French currency. The funds will be useful upon arrival for snacks, transportation, tips, and unexpected purchases. Some U.S. banks will purchase the foreign currency for you; the process may take a week or more. Dollars can also be exchanged for foreign currency at airports.
Recommendations from UCEAP Students
Take a bank card that enables access to funds in a U.S. bank account at an ATM. The bank card must have a four-digit PIN. Although most U.S. banks will charge currency exchange fees when money is withdrawn from an ATM, ATM withdrawal is the best way to access your money. Using a credit card to make purchases is another good way to access your money, and it helps you avoid carrying too much cash.
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 official currency of the U.K. is the pound (£) and it is the euro (€) in France (and the European Union). As with all currencies, the value of the pound and 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. To find the current conversion rates, visit websites with currency calculators such as Google Finance or OANDA.
In writing numbers, commas and periods are reversed in France. For example, 1,00 is what we would consider 1.00, and 1.000 is what we would consider 1,000. It is also possible to exchange dollars for pounds or 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 pounds or euros from your American bank account as soon as you enter the arrival hall.
Obtaining Cash Abroad
The Study Centers recommend the following forms of handling money: debit card, credit card, international money orders for AmEx members, 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. With a Visa card, usually you can get an immediate cash advance by presenting your card and passport at a major bank. Four-digit PINs are essential in order to use credit cards at ATMs. MasterCard is also widely accepted, as is American
Express (AmEx), though to a lesser extent. You can use an AmEx card to purchase travelers checks abroad. 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 you abroad, or for your parents or a responsible person to receive and pay your bills from the U.S. Past students have found it useful to bring an additional credit card strictly for emergencies.
Travelers Checks
Travelers checks are rarely accepted and not recommended for use abroad.
If you do bring travelers checks, you will need to exchange them into pounds or euros. American Express travelers checks are the most widely accepted. Be sure to make two copies of the check numbers and give one copy to a family member or friend. Keep the other copy for yourself, separate from the actual checks. If you lose your checks, you will need to provide these numbers and the receipts in order to obtain replacements.
ATM Transactions
A good way to obtain cash is through 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 abroad. 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.
Students in short-term programs are not advised to open bank accounts due to time constraints.

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. 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.

Housing Cancelation Fees

Students who withdraw from the program for any reason from:
  • January 16, 2013 – February 25, 2013 will be charged 10 percent of the housing fee
  • February 26, 2012 – March 4, 2013 will be charged 35 percent of the housing fee
  • March 5, 2013 – March 18, 2013 will be charged 60 percent of the housing fee
  • March 19, 2013 onwards will be charged 100 percent of the housing fee except any recoverable costs

Program Cancelation Fees

Students who withdraw from the program for any reason from:
  • February 16, 2013 – March 18, 2013 will be charged a €100 cancelation fee for orientation/cultural activities/materials
  • March 19, 2013 onwards will be charged the full amount of the program fee except any recoverable costs
Communications Abroad
Mail, local and international calls & computer access
Packages generally take six to eight weeks to send by surface mail. Due to the short length of this program, you should not have
packages sent. The Study Center and ACCENT will not collect luggage that has been shipped in advance, and staff will not pick up any luggage that must be claimed at a customs office or dock.
Have your mail sent to the ACCENT address in either London or Paris during the dates you will be in one city or the other. The addresses appear in the Study Center Abroad section under Contact Information.

British Postal System

The British mail service is usually fast. Letters mailed in the evening before the last mail collection at any of the British universities are generally delivered in London the next day or two and vice versa. Airmail usually takes from six to ten days to or from California. However, delivery times can vary widely; if you are expecting a package that you need by a certain date, encourage the sender to use an express mail service.

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 the next day, unless it is sent economy rate. Mail sent abroad will take longer, and delivery times depend on the destination—on average it takes between one to five days. Anticipate five days for letters to reach the U.S. Stamps are available in post offices, which are open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and on Saturday mornings until noon. 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 shipping boxes with self-fastening systems are available in all sizes at moderate costs.
Another safe and reliable way to send large items, parcels, or luggage within France is by using SERNAM. This forwarding service operates out of all major train stations. For a reasonable charge, SERNAM will forward an item by rail and immediately deliver it to its final destination. Parcels can be delivered to the SERNAM office at the train station or be picked up by their courier service.

Study Center Contact

Keep in contact with the UCEAP Study Center, in addition to being in daily contact with the ACCENT office.
You may contact the Study Center at any time and leave a voicemail message. You may also contact Study Center staff outside office hours in an emergency by using the personal telephone numbers that will be distributed during the on-site orientation.

Phone Use in the U.K.

Most students purchase cell phones after arrival. Some students bring “unlocked” cell phones with them. There are two types of public phones in the United Kingdom. Pay phones take coins of 20 pence and over. Card phones are the alternative. Calling cards are the most convenient method for making calls from public telephones. £2, £4, £10, or £20 cards are available from the post office, travel  centers, some news agents, machines on underground platforms, and anywhere there are Phone Card signs. Many BT pay phones take major credit cards and charge cards. Unfortunately, phone card telephones may not be available in your residence hall or even on a university campus.
To make a collect call in the U.K., dial 100. Calling collect is expensive. Do not phone the Study Center this way unless there is an emergency.
Directory Assistance
Information in the U.K. is reached by dialing a provider of Directory Service Information. There are several providers—all have six-digit numbers beginning with 118 and all charge for the service even from public telephones. First try other means to find a telephone number (the Internet, a phone book, etc.) because the charge can be expensive. More information will be distributed during the on-site orientation.
International Phone Calls
International calls are best made using phone cards, though you will need at least a £10 card for calling the U.S. The direct dialing code to the U.S. is 001 + area code + number. You can call the U.S. collect through the operator by dialing 155 (the International Operator). Calls made between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. are the most expensive, those made in the afternoon are slightly less expensive, and rates go down considerably after 8 p.m. An excellent time to phone California is 7 a.m. because the rates are still low and it is 11 p.m. (the previous day) in California.
Computer-to-computer calls are widely used. The programs to make such calls can be downloaded; be sure to have your family and friends download the software.
Calling from Student Housing
There is a landline telephone in each room. You can receive calls but will need a phone card to call out (except for the 999 emergency number). Phone cards are available at all newsagent stands.

Phone Use in France

Public phones work with prepaid cards (known as a telecarte) that can be purchased in post offices, tabacs, bookstores, newsstands, some cafés, and numerous other locations. However, with the increase in cell phones, public phones are becoming scarce. 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 youalready have a cell phone, check with the manufacturer to see if it will operate in France (it will need to be a tri-band phone to operate in Europe). More information will be available after your arrival at the Study Center.
Due to the recent and significant increase in theft (violent and other) of smart phones, students have found it better to avoid using an iPhone or other costly device in public places, 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. Skype is a free option for computer-to-computer calls made through the Internet. You are advised to buy a headset in the U.S., where electronics generally cost less. 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 3 cents per minute to a French landline, American landline, and American cell phone, and 24 cents per minute to a French cell phone.
In the Daumesnil residence, you will have a phone in your room. On this line, you can receive incoming calls from anywhere for free and make unlimited free calls to any landline in the Paris region (phone numbers starting with 01 or 09) and to any landline in the United States. (The previous sentence is not a misprint, but a unique benefit offered by the Daumesnil residence.) You will need a phone card to call any cell phone (the card access phone number should start with 01).

Computer and Internet Access

Computer access is available 24/7 in the ACCENT computer labs. However, you may experience long waits during peak hours or at midterms/finals periods. Some computers may be too old to have ports for downloading images from digital cameras and saving them to CDs. Take a laptop if possible; there is wireless Internet access in the student housing.
The network in the student housing cannot support 3–4 electronic items per student, especially when most items are all on at the same time. Try to bring only one item in addition to your laptop. Do not do any illegal downloads; this may cause all students to lose Internet access.
Laptops, cell phones—particularly smartphones—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—it can be quickly swiped. For your laptop, it is advisable to have up-to-date virus protection. 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.
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.
In order to have Internet access on a laptop in Europe, you will need:
  • Access to a phone jack. If you have access to a phone jack and can make outgoing calls, you will need a dial-up number for an ISP (see below).
  • European phone cord. The phone plugs are shaped differently in each country in Europe. You will need to buy phone plugs. These are inexpensive and available in the U.S. and Europe.
  • European ISP (Internet Service Provider). Talk to your American ISP to see if you can use your service while abroad. If not, you will need an ISP in Europe. Some services require a monthly subscription; others are more flexible. Note: An ISP from the U.S. may exist in Europe but will require a different billing and payment setup (for example, AOL).
  • Wireless cards and 3G. If your laptop or smartphone has a wireless card or 3G installed, you will be able to access WiFi in Europe where it is available.


Do not ship computers, cameras, or valuable items abroad unless the shipping agent and the Customs agent abroad 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.
If things must 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.
Housing & Meals
Program housing options, supplies needed & meals
​You are required to live in housing pre-arranged by ACCENT.
You will receive the URL for ACCENT forms in the Predeparture Checklist, including a housing contract and housing/roommate preference form. You will need to print and complete these forms and return them directly to the San Francisco office of ACCENT by the deadline stated on the forms. Detailed instructions will be included with the forms. Students will be assigned as roommates only if both students request to room together.
You cannot remain in the housing after the program ends. Students must move out of the housing no later than 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 8, 2013. No exceptions will be made.

Where Will I Live in London?

You will be housed in Kamen House, approximately 15-20 minutes walk from the ACCENT office.
You will live with other U.S. students only. No British students live in the apartments. All apartments are non-smoking. When completing the ACCENT Housing Form, you must indicate whether or not you are a smoker, even though all apartments are non-smoking, so ACCENT can make appropriate housing assignments.
Apartments are fully furnished twin and triple rooms, including televisions and telephones (for incoming calls; all outgoing calls can be made only by using a calling card); bedding (linens, pillows, blankets), towels, dishes, and cooking utensils are provided. Kitchens are supplied with a cooker, fridge/freezer, microwave, and cookware. A basic weekly cleaning is also provided. All flats are self-catered. Laundry facilities are available, at no cost, either in the apartment or in a separate laundry room. All utilities except outgoing telephone calls are included in the housing fees.
ACCENT handles any housing questions or problems that you may have during the program in London. You may make housing maintenance requests to ACCENT, which will work with Acorn Property Management as needed. As is the case with most aging institutional buildings in an urban setting (such as youth hostels or student dorms), the housing has experienced occasional pest infestations in the past. Should any such problems arise while you are occupying these rooms, be sure to bring the issue to the  immediate attention of the ACCENT staff and Acorn Property Management for resolution.
Housing fees for this program do not include a security or damage deposit. You will be billed by UCEAP for the cost of any housing damage repair or cleaning and for any lost key charges, invoiced to UCEAP by ACCENT at the end of the semester. The cost of housing damage repair or cleaning will be divided among the occupants of a flat, so roommates should agree among themselves to treat each other and their surroundings with respect.
The London post office will not deliver mail to short-term student housing due to the constant turnover of recipients. In addition,ACCENT cannot give you your exact housing assignment (room number, roommates, etc.) prior to arrival in London. Give the ACCENT office address in London (provided in the Communication section in this guide) to family and friends prior to departure to use as a mailing address during the semester. The ACCENT office is located in the same building where participants attend classes, so mail pickup is convenient.

Where Will I Live in Paris?

You will live in the Daumesnil residence, approximately a 5-minute walk from the classrooms. As in the U.S., European residence halls and student hotels tend to be simple. The student residences in Paris consist of single and double studio rooms and are furnished with the necessities: a bed, a desk, a closet or armoire, sheets, pillows, and blankets. Each studio has its own bathroom (toilets and shower), and you will need to bring or buy your own towels and toiletries, including toilet paper. In the Daumesnil residence, each room also includes a kitchenette with a hot plate, a sink, a small refrigerator, basic dishes and utensils, and a microwave. Living in a residence hall requires sharing space and being respectful of the needs of others.
European residences tend to be much quieter, as students generally socialize off campus. Dorms require that quiet hours be observed between 10 p.m. and 8 a.m. Overnight guests and excessive noise are prohibited—the French are quite serious about this. Parties are not allowed within the residences, and violation of these rules may lead to expulsion. There are numerous cafés and restaurants near the student residences where you can gather socially.
Meals in student restaurants (the "CROUS") are substantial and cost only about €3 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.

Is There Accessible Accommodation in London and Paris?

There are a few accessible rooms in both the London and Paris housing for students with disabilities—students should make requests for accessible housing as soon as possible. Accessibility standards differ among countries so students should not expect U.S. standards. However, most buildings have at least one step up to the main door and showers have a small step into them. Bathrooms do not have grab bars. Some apartment doors have two locks, with one fairly high, and require two hands to open them. Some buildings have laundry facilities in the basement, but no elevator. Depending upon the disability, most rooms are not very accessible. If accessible housing is needed that cannot be provided at Kamen House in London or at Daumesnil in Paris, then most likely there will be a significant supplemental housing cost and the alternative housing would probably be a studio about 25 minutes away from the London Center or up to 45 minutes away from the Paris Center. Mass transportation is reasonably accessible, however, daily transportation is as important to consider as housing. Also, if needed, personal assistants can be hired through private organizations; however, students need to make their own arrangements and pay directly for any assistance.
Extracurricular Activities
Social activities, excursions & working in your host country

Get Involved

This program is designed for UCEAP students only—there are no other students enrolled in these courses. For this reason, you are encouraged to seek out ways to interact with the surrounding community in your free time. Participating in extracurricular cultural and social activities while studying on UCEAP is an excellent way to meet people and integrate more fully into the community. Join sports, musical, theater, or arts groups; attend lectures and receptions held in academic and community circles; and get the most out of your time abroad.
It can be challenging to find and participate in extracurricular activities, but it can be done. After arrival, you will receive information about available options, but you also need to make an effort to locate additional options and participate in as many activities as possible. Past UCEAP students who have joined clubs, played sports, and attended religious services have tremendously increased their enjoyment of the program.
In the U.K., you can purchase an associate membership in the University of London Student Union, or ULU, located a few blocks from the ACCENT office. Information about this option will be distributed at the ACCENT on-site orientation. Students from universities throughout London belong to the student union, so participating in ULU sports teams and student clubs is a great way to meet British students. The facilities include inexpensive dining options, a café, a copy center, and a popular venue for live music performances.
Academic & Cultural Visits
A number of academic and cultural activities are provided as part of the UCEAP program; however, you must sign up for each event after arrival so ACCENT can schedule the buses needed and plan how many groups there will be.

Working in the Host Country

Participants in this program cannot work, intern, or do volunteer work due to visa restrictions.
Physical health, medications, counseling & student insurance
You will receive health care information during the on-site orientation. In addition to the following sections, read the Health chapter of the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad, and the U.S. CDC Travelers’ Health information website for specific health information for all your travel destinations.


If you take any medicine regularly, bring enough to last through the program if prescribed by the doctor. If you cannot bring enough of your medications, check with the UCEAP assistance provider (see below) before departure. Even if you can bring enough medication with you it is important to know how to obtain more, in case your medication is lost or stolen.
It is against the law to send prescription and over-the-counter medications through the mail. Medicines will most likely be stopped at Customs upon arrival. Take an extra copy of the prescription for any medication, eyeglasses, or contact lenses. Your prescription should also list the generic name of the medication you are currently taking.
The UCEAP assistance provider, Europ Assistance, can provide information about whether a specific prescription medication is legal and available in the U.K. or France, and whether there are any restrictions on carrying the medication into the country. Call them before your trip (1-866-451-7606) with the name of the medicine. Your UCEAP policy number is ADDN 04834823.

Health – London

Physical Health

If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center and ACCENT immediately. The Study Center and ACCENT can recommend a clinic to visit, provide advice about completing the necessary medical insurance claim forms, and help if extended absence is expected from class.
Since you will be studying in London for less than six months, you are not entitled to free treatment by the National Health Service.
You may choose where to obtain medical treatment. Both the UCEAP Study Center and the ACCENT office can provide information about private practitioners, clinics, hospitals, or other care providers. Wherever you go to receive care, you will pay up front. For example, a visit (regardless of the nature of the illness) to a care provider’s office may cost approximately $115; a consultation with a nurse, approximately $39; a consultation with a doctor, approximately $55; to have a prescription written, not including the cost of the medicine, approximately $22. So, if you visit a medical care center, are examined by a nurse who calls in the doctor for further consultation, and the doctor writes a prescription, the approximate cost will be $231, not including the cost of any tests done or the cost of the medicine. Be prepared to be charged a fee for every type of service, including the completion of forms.
The ACCENT office in London most likely will refer you to a general practitioner (GP) who has worked with UCEAP students for several years. GPs in the U.K. are the doctors who would refer you to a specialist. Although you might be able to make your own appointment directly with a specialist, this is not the usual procedure. If you plan to request referral to a specialist, you need to give the GP a letter from your health care provider indicating your condition, prescribed medications, and your treatment plan. You will need it for  appropriate referral and further medication prescription. You can also call international collect the UCEAP travel assistance provider, Europ Assistance, in the United States. Ask them for medical referrals and help facilitating payment directly to medical providers, in particular if you face a medical emergency. Contact information: Call collect 1+(202) 828-5896 or e-mail Identify yourself as a UCEAP student.

Adderall (amphetamines and other controlled drugs)

Some commonly prescribed medications in the U.S. are unlicensed in the U.K. and you will not be able to get them (e.g., Adderall is a drug that is not licensed in the U.K. and physicians cannot write a prescription for Adderall). Talk to your U.S. doctor and plan ahead before departure.

Psychological Health

You can be referred to the consultant psychiatrists at Priory Hospital North London for individual or group consultation sessions with psychiatrists specializing in various areas of mental health. The Priory Hospital is part of the Priory Group, the leading provider of private psychiatric care in Europe. Your UCEAP Insurance Plan covers outpatient visits; there is no co-pay or deductible and you can make an appointment with any doctor.
Call Europ Assistance, the UCEAP assistance provider, to get referrals and request direct payment to the provider, if the provider is able and willing to work with the Europ Assistance agents in the U.K. To contact Europ Assistance, e-mail or call the University of California dedicated line collect at 1+ 202-828-5896.

Health – Paris

Medical Facilities

Medical care in France is of comparable quality to that found in the U.S. If you feel sick or have a medical emergency, seek medical attention and contact the Study Center immediately. Study Center staff can recommend a clinic to visit, provide the necessary UCEAP medical insurance claim forms to complete, and make arrangements with your professors if an extended absence from class is expected.

Psychological Health

If you are in need of counseling, the International Counseling Service is a group of 11 English-speaking clinical psychologists and psychiatrists in Paris. Additional information is available at the UCEAP Study Center.

Birth Control

Condoms are the only type of birth control available over the counter in France. Oral contraceptives and other pharmaceutical forms of birth control are available only with a prescription. The UCEAP Insurance Plan covers birth control up to U.S. $500.


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 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

Culture Shock

There may be times when you wonder why you decided to study abroad, especially when you miss your family and friends, or you are struggling with financial problems, feeling alone, or unable to communicate easily with others. There could be any number of things that might make you feel unhappy or worried and perhaps being abroad makes it much harder to cope with such stresses. Most students expect to quickly adapt to the new culture—and they need to adjust rapidly if they are to effectively meet the academic demands placed upon them. Culture shock is a normal developmental phase of adjustment to a new cultural environment. It is not a psychological disorder.
Reactions to culture shock can mimic more severe psychological problems such as clinical depression and anxiety. Typical reactions to culture shock include feeling helpless, out of control, vulnerable, fearful, anxious, and confused. Sadness may set in with periods of crying or sleeplessness.
Most students who experience culture shock function reasonably well under the stress and are able to keep up with the responsibilities of school and everyday life. However, a high level of stress can cause unusually strong emotional reactions and can interfere with effective functioning either at that time or later. Such reactions are normal responses to abnormal situations and are to be expected under the circumstances. They are usually transitory—lasting a couple of weeks—and do not imply mental illness or an inability to cope. Nevertheless, there are occasions when the experience of culture shock can stir up deeper emotional issues. If you find that you need help, talk to the experienced local UCEAP and ACCENT staff who can help you identify a professional who can help you. They can also help you, along with the UC travel assistance provider, Europ Assistance, to set up direct payment for any counseling sessions that you may need.


The cost for the required UCEAP Insurance Plan is paid by UC. To be reimbursed for expenses that are covered by the insurance plan, submit a claim form to the insurance carrier along with itemized bills within 30 days. See the Insurance tab on your Participants program page for claim forms and details.
Theft, intolerance, fire safety & emergency contacts

Safety – London


Cities in the U.K. are, by all relevant measures, relatively safer than comparable metropolitan areas in the U.S. However, there are significant incidents of crime affecting all members of the public. Personal safety starts with awareness.
Personal possession of guns is outlawed except for the strictly regulated use of shotguns for hunting and other weapons for competition sports. Policing units are unarmed, with the exception of some specialized firearms support teams, counterterrorism protective specialists, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). According to the U.K. Metropolitan Police statistics, serious crime (i.e., assault, robbery, burglary, gun-enabled crimes, and rape) in many London boroughs has increased. As with any major metropolitan city, be cautious and aware of your surroundings. In general, most central-city parks present few risks in daylight hours; larger open areas, the commons and heaths in and adjacent to major cities, should be treated with caution. Do not walk alone after dark.
Pickpocketing, mugging, and snatch-and-run thefts remain common criminal incidents, especially in airports, restaurants, public transportation hubs, and crowded streets. Take precautions. Keep all valuables, especially wallets, passports, credit cards, and the like, in buttoned or zippered inside pockets, money belts, or fastened bags while walking about major cities. Never leave bags, backpacks, and cases unattended anywhere, not even in locked cars.
Exercise common sense about your personal safety and belongings and do not be lulled into a false sense of security by the perception that the U.K. is safer than the U.S. Do not carry large amounts of cash and, unless you are traveling, leave your passport in a safe place in your room. Pay particular attention to your personal belongings in busy pubs. Thieves use snatch-and-grab techniques to steal laptops, purses, and other valuables. In restaurants, bars, theaters, and other public places, keep bags within reach; do not place possessions on the floor or hang them on a chair.
Drinking and Personal Safety.
The more you drink, the more likely you are to put yourself at unnecessary risk. For travellers, the most serious hazard is usually not illness, but accidents and injuries. If you choose to drink, do so responsibly. Criminals are known to target vulnerable individuals whose judgment is impaired by intoxication. Always watch your beverage. Instances of drink spiking have been reported. Do not leave drinks unattended in bars and nightclubs. Drugs can easily be mixed into drinks when unattended. These drugs can disorient you, dramatically impair your judgment, or cause you to lose consciousness. Once you lose sight of your drink, do not continue drinking.
Criminal Penalties
While you are traveling in other countries, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. If you break local laws, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.
Many pocket knives and other blades, and mace or pepper spray canisters, although legal in the United States, are illegal in the United Kingdom and will result in arrest and confiscation if detected.

Student Housing

While London is generally safe and the program’s student housing is located in a desirable neighborhood, the area is urban and you must use common sense and take precautions. Burglary is on the increase in student residences. Never leave doors propped open. Keep your room door locked and store valuable items in locked drawers or closets, if available.
Follow basic personal protective measures to maximize your safety and that of your roommates. For example, if a building has a door facing an open area and another door in an alley, use your common sense on which door is better to use, even though the other may be reached by a shortcut.
Thieves can reach through bars across an open ground-level window—do not place valuable items on a table under the window. If a ground-level window does not have bars, do not open the window wide enough for a person to enter and never leave the window open.

Road & Transportation Safety

The U.S. Department of State provides information about road safety in its country information bulletins. Refer to the U.S. Department of State website.
Public transportation in the U.K. is excellent and extensive. Information on disruptions to London transportation services can be found at the Transport for London website.

Pedestrian Safety in the U.K.

Oncoming traffic approaches from the opposite direction. There are helpful reminders painted on the sidewalk curbs to look right; pedestrians should look both directions before crossing streets, follow the pedestrian indicator lights, and always cross with caution. As a pedestrian, having a green traffic light facing you does not mean you should proceed into the street.
Do not get too close to the traffic. If there’s no pavement, keep back from the edge of the road but make sure you can still see approaching traffic.
Pedestrians do not have the right of way, and cars are only required to stop for pedestrians on black and white “zebra” crosswalks with flashing yellow globe lights on the sidewalk.


Public rallies and demonstrations, common in bigger cities, are usually peaceful and rarely end in violent confrontations. In case of larger gatherings, there is a possibility of sporadic confrontations and violent escalation. Strikes occasionally occur in the transportation sector and could have an impact on commuters. Do not participate in demonstrations, and remain vigilant when in the vicinity of any demonstrations; if violence erupts seek shelter.

Emergency Services Response

The police services, fire brigades, medical response, and other emergency services in the U.K. are excellent. Police services in the U.K. rank among the world’s best, but they face daunting challenges and strongly encourage the participation of the public in ensuring their own safety.

Safety – Paris

There are some strategies you can practice anywhere in the world to minimize your risks. Personal safety starts with awareness. To be alert to potential dangers and risks to your well-being, you need to be aware of what is going on in your immediate environment. The choices you make with your behavior, attire, travel, personal property, relationships, etc., can directly influence your exposure to risk. Follow your instincts. If a situation is uncomfortable, remove yourself from the situation. Carry official ID and a charged cell phone with you at all times.

Crime & Personal Safety

France is a relatively safe country, with most crimes being non-violent. The majority of crimes directed against foreign visitors, including Americans, involve pickpocketing and theft.
Crime in Paris is similar to that in most large cities, but violent crime is fairly uncommon in the heart of the city. Pickpockets are by far the biggest problem. In Paris, they can be any gender, race, or age and are commonly children under the age of 16, as they cannot be prosecuted. 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, servicing many major tourist sites, are often targeted.
A common scheme is for one thief to distract the victim with questions or disturbances, while an accomplice picks pockets, a backpack, or a purse. Thieves often time their pickpocket attempts to coincide with the closing of the automatic doors on the Metro, leaving the victim secured on the departing train. Many thefts also occur at the major department stores (e.g., Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, and Le Bon Marché) when victims leave wallets, passports, and credit cards on cashier counters during transactions. The crowded elevators at the Eiffel Tower, escalators at museums, and the area surrounding Sacre Coeur Basilica in Montmartre are all favored by pickpockets and snatch-and-run thieves.
The area around the famous Moulin Rouge, known as Pigalle, is best avoided 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.
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.
Travelers should also beware of thefts that occur on both overnight and day trains, especially on trains originating in Spain, Italy, and Belgium. Thieves operate on the rail link from Charles de Gaulle Airport to downtown Paris by singling out jet-lagged, luggage-burdened tourists and students. 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.
Drinking and Personal Safety
The more you drink, the more likely you are to put yourself at unnecessary risk. For travellers, the most serious hazard is usually not illness, but accidents and injuries. If you choose to drink, do so responsibly. Criminals are known to target vulnerable individuals whose judgment is impaired by intoxication. Always watch your beverage. Instances of drink spiking have been reported. Do not leave drinks unattended in bars and nightclubs. Drugs can easily be mixed into drinks when unattended. These drugs can disorient you, dramatically impair your judgment, or cause you to lose consciousness. Once you lose sight of your drink, do not continue drinking.
Criminal Penalties
While you are traveling in other countries, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. If you break local laws, your U.S. passport won’t help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It’s very important to know what’s legal and what’s not where you are going.

Personal Safety Tips

  • Be inconspicuous. Try to 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.
  • Carry your purse or bag with the strap diagonally across your chest. 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 smartphone in a public space, be sure to remain aware. Many laptops, cell phones, and smartphones are swiped by agile thieves watching you and waiting for you to turn away for a moment. If using a laptop in a restaurant or café, do not sit near the doors where a thief could run in, grab the computer, and run out easily. Sit in a back area and remain aware of the people around you. Do not place your cell phone or smartphone 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.
  • Use common sense and use the same personal safety precautions that you would use in a large city in California.
  • Lock your door and 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.

Common Scams Affecting Travelers in Paris

A common scam in Paris involves persons working in conjunction to distract a foreigner by asking directions or the time. While the person is distracted, one of the scam artists steals from the victim.
Another common scam involves a thief throwing a ring or a key on the ground and stealing your wallet while you are distracted.
In another scam, one thief sprays a person with a substance. The victim is then robbed by people offering to help. Safeguard belongings before reacting to any situation or before attempting to clean up.
In many bars and restaurants, males are targeted by women who work in conjunction with the establishment. They will ask the traveler to buy them a drink. Later, the traveler 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.

Demonstrations & Strikes in Paris

For your safety, avoid all protests and demonstrations, including student and labor rallies.
Large demonstrations in Paris are generally managed by a strong police presence, but such events have the potential to become dangerous and should be avoided. In addition, the congestion caused by large demonstrations can cause serious inconveniences for a visitor on a tight schedule. Likewise, some sporting events, such as soccer matches, have occasionally degenerated into violence that continued into the streets.


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.

Substance Abuse

You will find different practices and attitudes towards drinking in France. Alcohol can be purchased by anyone over 16 years old. Familiarize yourself with the UCEAP Substance Abuse Policy.

Fire Safety

For more information, read the Fire Safety section in the UCEAP Guide to Study Abroad.


The U.K. Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Act requires businesses and educational institutions to carry out a fire safety risk assessment and implement and maintain a fire management plan. Know all exits and have a fire escape plan.


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 by year 2015. Around 800 people die each year from domestic fires in France and it is estimated that only 1–3% of homes in France are currently equipped with a smoke alarm.
Have a working battery-operated smoke detector and know all emergency exits. Form a mental map of your escape route. Identify the possible fire hazards in your room and eliminate them.

Emergency Contacts

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 Operations Specialist at the UCEAP Systemwide Office
  • After office hours: Call the 24-hour emergency phone number at (805) 893-4762
If you are abroad
Carry local emergency contact information at all times
If you need immediate emergency assistance in France or elsewhere in the European Union, call 112. In France, you can also call:
  • Police.............................................17
  • SAMU (24-hour Ambulance).............15
  • Fire Department .............................18
If you have a health, travel, or safety emergency and do not have access to local or UCEAP representative emergency information, contact the UCEAP travel assistance provider, Europ Assistance, available 24/7:
U.S. Embassy in London
24 Grosvenor Square
London, W1A 2LQ
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 207 499 9000
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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