Your Health & Safety

“The faculty, staff and organization was intimate and responsive. During my time they all helped me a lot, even to find a doctor!”
– Stella Scanlon, Bard College

Health & Safety

Adapting to a new environment is an exciting experience, but the stress that it causes might in some cases aggravate or re-activate health issues. To spend a healthy and successful semester, CUPA students must comply with the measures listed below.

Before arriving

  • Medical Disclosure Form : the Medical Disclosure Form is a mandatory document you will have to complete before your arrival. If you have any health or wellness concerns or issues, including possible recurrence of a prior condition, please contact the program director, Mary Ann Letellier. Consider CUPA as a confidential source of support that can help you set up treatment or therapy and find resources in Paris. Host families may be informed of certain conditions regarding a student’s health, on a need-to-know basis (for example, a food allergy). Keep the program informed of any new developments in your health, either prior to or upon arrival.
  • Meet With Your Doctor or Therapist: Living abroad is an exciting and intense experience. Adapting to a new culture, a new country, and a different academic system can be a source of stress and may aggravate or trigger health issues. If needed, plan to discuss your physical and mental health with your doctor or therapist to explore how the challenges of living abroad might affect your health, but also, how to address these challenges. Even if you are not currently seeing a therapist, it can be useful to meet with your home university’s counseling service for a one-off consultation prior to your time abroad.
  • Pre-existing Conditions : If you have a pre-existing health condition, ask your physician to provide a document detailing your situation in case you need to see a doctor in France.
  • Medications and Prescriptions : You will not be able to receive prescription medications in the mail. French customs will confiscate them. Ask your physician to prescribe a supply that will last the length of your stay and bring the entire amount with you. If it is impossible to prescribe/purchase the whole supply before your departure. Check the French regulations applying to your medication and its availability in France. Make sure that your prescription is legible and includes the generic name of the drug (brand names can differ in France). If you wear glasses or contact lenses, also bring your prescription. When in transit, carry your prescriptions with you. Keep the medications in their original containers to avoid problems with French customs and the risk of having your medication confiscated.
  • Insurance Coverage in Europe : CUPA Students are required to have health and travel insurance coverage that is valid in Europe for the duration of their stay. You should also bring this proof with you to Paris. In many cases, your family insurance or university insurance already provide coverage overseas. Check with your parents/guardians and study abroad office to verify if this applies to you. If your current insurance does not cover overseas health needs, you can purchase a short-term insurance plan from a variety of companies. For more information, contact Tary Coppola.
  • Emergency Contact Information Form : One of CUPA’s required pre-departure forms is the Emergency Contact Information Form. You will be asked to list your emergency contacts, as well as your insurance information, and finally, your home university emergency protocol.

During your stay in Paris

CUPA takes safety and security very seriously. The program ensures that all reasonable precautions are taken, that experienced, professional staff are available 24/7, and that its students are made aware of the measures they can take to maximize their safety.


  • The CUPA staff is trained to make the best decisions for your safety whenever necessary.
  • All CUPA students must register their stay with their home country’s consular services (U.S. citizens: Non-U.S. citizens must contact their embassy and complete their procedure.
  • The CUPA offices are located in a residential building in a very safe area.
  • Upon arrival, students attend a meeting on all aspects of safety and receive emergency for CUPA staff members (available 24/7), local emergency services, communication protocols with program staff in the event of an emergency
  • During the program, students register their travel plans and notify CUPA every time they leave Paris.
  • In the event of a situation that constitutes a threat to students, a program-wide “timely warning” is issued (via group messages and emails), and student check-ins are carried out.
  • HOME UNIVERSITIES: CUPA maintains close communication with students’ home universities and keeps them informed of any security issues affecting the CUPA community.CUPA also maintains close contact with the following organizations:
    • OSAC: CUPA consults with the Overseas Security Advisory Council (US Department of State), which centralizes data on reported crime and security issues. OSAC provides briefings, operates a listserv to share emergency responses, monitors emergency situations, and provides reliable on-going security information.
    • APUAF: CUPA is an active member of APUAF (Association des Programmes Universitaires Américains en France). Members share information on security as well as best practices and resources.
  • After the initial euphoria that comes from exploring a new city and meeting new people, some students may experience homesickness and other negative feelings. Therefore, students can request to meet with CUPA’s American-trained Counseling Psychologist (up to five sessions covered by CUPA).
  • Students are provided with mental health ressources and any medical support they may need.
  • In case of emergency, CUPA staff provide follow up support with 24/7 availability.
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