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Resources for Students
What to Expect:
 - General Info & Policies
 - Culture Shock
 - Diversity & Inclusion
 - Host Family

Health and Safety:
 - General Safety
 - Emergencies & Protocols
 - Travel Safety
 - Medical Care & Insurance
 - Mental Health
 - Sexual Assault

Resources for Students: Health and Safety

Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault

In some cultures, including France, male chauvinism might be more prevalent or more overtly expressed than is typical in the U.S. Women might experience or observe catcalls and other sexually-charged attention on a more regular basis, which can feel threatening. While it may seem counter to your principles, it is recommended that you ignore the attention or feign a lack of understanding, as engaging with aggressors can serve to encourage them and may escalate the situation. Ask your local friends or host family on how best to deal with such attention.

Review this article on sexual harassment in an international context.

Unfortunately, sexual assault can also happen overseas, and the intercultural context presents certain challenges in this respect. Lack of familiarity with the language, culture, and the area can make students more vulnerable and less in a position to keep themselves safe. Additionally, differences in cultural norms regarding personal boundaries and romantic relationships can sometimes lead to miscommunication regarding intention, expectation, and consent. Students who experience sexual violence while abroad should seek safety first.

Some tips on staying safe:

  • Have fun, enjoy meeting new people, but donít throw caution to the wind.
  • Follow your gut. Many victims have a ďfeelingĒ something isnít right just before an assault takes place.
  • You donít have to be polite. It is okay to say no.
  • Stay with the group or person you are traveling with.
  • Be aware of cultural norms in the country you are traveling to. Looking at someone in the eyes when you speak to them in the USA is normal. In another country it may mean you are interested in that person. Watch how locals behave to get cultural cues.
  • Blend in with the crowd.
  • Be aware of your surroundings.