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What to Expect:
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 - Culture Shock
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Resources for Students: What to Expect

Men and Women

You may experience a shift in the ways gender identities, roles, and norms are perceived while you are in Talloires. Itís possible that you may be treated differently or be expected to treat others differently based on these factors, and your behavior in some situations may be viewed differently abroad than at home. Consider your actions and inform yourself as best as possible about behavioral expectations, dating, and relationships in France. You may find that what is viewed as acceptable behavior in France is offensive to you or makes you uncomfortable. Itís important to check societal expectations with your own personal values.

While in France, men might be expected to adopt a more "traditional," machismo attitude toward life and women. For instance, some men in France consider people-watching and "catcalling" to women an acceptable pastime. This may be offensive to a student and may be a difficult role to assume. On the other hand, men may find more discomfort with the open affection between men in France, such as greeting other with kisses on the cheek. Keep an open mind and do your best to respect the cultural differences, but also trust your instincts. You should never feel forced to act in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. You may be asked by other participants, especially females, to accompany them when going out to crowded places or cultural events. Be considerate of your fellow students and help each other to feel safe and comfortable.

Treatment and expectations of women vary greatly from culture to culture and you may encounter restrictions in dress, behavior, and activities. While it is impossible to generalize about the experience of women traveling in all places in the world, you may experience some gender-specific challenges when you travel. Language and cultural differences might mean that what you consider appropriate behavior for a woman at home will be interpreted much differently by the men—and women—in France, and even more so in the context of how women are often portrayed in U.S. mass media and popular culture Students should be aware when going to clubs or bars in France, expectations might differ. For example, accepting a drink can indicate an interest beyond a casual conversation.

While these links are not necessarily specific to Talloires or France, they will provide additional insight and additional resources. We highly encourage you to check them out, as well as other resources that are available on the internet.

Here is a list of resources to get you started:




Adapted from Northwestern University and Brown University.