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The opportunity to study abroad can be life-changing. Students interact with new cultures, have the opportunity to engage with academic subjects onsite, and are challenged to move out of their comfort zone. While these experiences can be (and almost always are!) exciting, fun, and enriching, they also present difficulties that are not as often found on campus in the United States or in students' home environments. In the below, we articulate some important information all students should review before participating in a short-term abroad program.

Accessibility Abroad

Accessibility Abroad

Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation in programs abroad very different from what is found at their home institution. Depending on the program, there may be a great deal of walking or the regular use of public transportation. Neither Tufts nor the operator of its Winter Abroad programs (IAU) can guarantee access to public transportation, buildings, or public sites.

Most Short-Term Abroad programs involve walking significant distances each day, extensive time spent standing, visits to non-wheelchair accessible areas, and public transportation and buses that do not offer assistance. 

Although Tufts and / or the operator of its Winter Abroad programs (IAU) cannot guarantee the accessibility of its program sites and traveling seminar locations, students with disabilities can and do study abroad and we believe in providing reasonable accommodations for students with documented disabilities on an individual and flexible basis. Upon request, Tufts and / or the operator of its Winter Abroad programs (IAU) can provide information about the availability of accommodations and accessible facilities on specific programs and can help determine whether this program can meet your accommodation needs.

For questions regarding accessibility abroad, please contact the following individuals:

  • Talloires: please contact france@tufts.edu
  • Other Summer Abroad: please contact courses@tufts.edu
  • Winter Abroad: please contact our IAU counterpart Dr. Jessica Calhoun

Winter Abroad: Program-Specific Information

Tufts and IAU will work together to review each program based on students' individual needs. While we try to plan programs with mobility considerations in mind, advance planning is key to success. Early notice of mobility considerations during the application process will help. 

If a student uses a wheelchair, we will need to know if it is manual or motorized, what its dimensions are, and what its weight and that of the student are. For site visits and excursions where reasonable accommodations cannot be made, we can typically arrange a comparable experience. Any additional costs associated with these accommodations can be discussed on an individual basis. 

Because these are traveling seminars, technology may not always be available. We can obtain audio guides as needed. Some but not all readings are available in audio version. If they are unavailable, we work with the university to see if they could provide the resources to the student. Students can be provided with extra time on exams as needed and private test-taking spaces can be negotiated. We can also work with onsite coordinators to facilitate note-taking and similar kinds of assistance. Lectures can also be recorded if needed.

Program Name Mobility Learning
American Diplomacy All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Most embassy and business sites are accessible, but some excursion sites may be difficult to navigate due to uneven surfaces and/or rugged terrain. See above for comparable experiences note.  Very few traditional lectures. All readings are available online. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
Europe & the Islamic World All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Most visits can be considered accessible, but some excursion sites may be difficult to navigate due to uneven surfaces and/or rugged terrain. See above for comparable experiences note.  Some books are required, but online versions can be easily accessed as needed. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
Great Cities All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Most visits can be considered accessible, but some excursion sites may be more difficult to navigate due to uneven surfaces, and some involve lengthy periods of standing. See above for comparable experiences note. Public transportation may also prove inaccessible in some locations, but we can arrange for taxis in these instances. All readings are available online. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
International Business All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Most visits can be considered accessible, but some excursion sites may be more difficult to navigate due to uneven surfaces and/or rugged terrain. See above for comparable experiences note. Public transportation may also prove inaccessible in some locations, but we can arrange for taxis in these instances. All readings are available online. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
Mediterranean Basin All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Extended walking, extended field work, and long periods of standing. Not all sites are wheelchair accessible due to uneven surfaces and rugged terrain. See above for comparable experiences note. Very few traditional lectures. All readings are available online. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
Mediterranean Ecology All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Extended walking, extended field work, and long periods of standing. Not all sites are wheelchair accessible due to uneven surfaces and rugged terrain. See above for comparable experiences note. Some books are required, but online versions can be easily accessed as needed. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
North African Studies All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Some excursion sites may be difficult to navigate due to uneven surfaces and/or rugged terrain. See above for comparable experiences note. All readings are available online. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
Psychology of Peace & Conflict All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Most visits can be considered accessible, but some excursions sites may be more difficult to navigate due to uneven surfaces and/or rugged terrain. See above for comparable experiences note. Some books are required, but online versions can be easily accessed as needed. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
Sports & Society in Europe All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Most, if not all, visits should be accessible. Since the majority of the program takes place on our campus in Barcelona, we can guarantee elevator access and support. All readings are available online. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
Theatre Alive All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Most, if not all, visits should be accessible. Public transportation may prove inaccessible in some locations, but we can arrange for taxis in these instances. Most readings should be available online. Because the texts change based on the productions seen each year, we can advise on an individual basis. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.
Wine, Gastronomy & Sustainability All lodging will be in hotels with access to an elevator, and accessible bathrooms can be requested as needed. Most visits should prove accessible and there should not be too much extended time standing. Any use of public transportation can be rerouted to taxis as needed. All readings are available online. Additional time can be permitted for exams, assistance with note-taking can be arranged, and lectures can be recorded. Any special technology should be downloaded in advance and should be available on the student's laptop or electronic device.

Additional Resources

(note: we do not advocate for the solutions offered on these sites, they are offered only for your convenience. We recommend consulting the individuals recommended above before making any decisions)

Culture Shock

Everyone experiences "culture shock" differently. While the term may sound scary, it is only part of the larger process of travelling and being abroad. While studying abroad can be an incredible experience, it often takes time to adjust to a new culture, living arrangements, food, language and immersion in the unfamiliar. Some students may feel overwhelmed, others homesick. Whether it’s two weeks or six months, living and studying in another country means making some big changes to your daily life. You may experience discomfort before you are able to function well in a new setting. The main things to remember is that this is a difficult and very normal process that everyone goes through and that the staff will be as much of a resource to you as possible.

Students who study abroad face a new cultural context that includes different historical and cultural understandings of diversity and inclusion around issues like race/ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability. Customs, beliefs, laws, facilities, and social practices are likely different than in the U.S. 

Numerous universities provide helpful guides for students as they prepare to go abroad. While these resources are not necessarily specific to Tufts' Short-Term Abroad programs and are not endorsed by Tufts University, they will provide additional insight and we highly encourage you to check them out:

Diversity, Identity & Inclusion

We strive for all students to be able to participate in our programs safely and securely. Each student will have different challenges during their time abroad. Your experiences will be unique to you and will be influenced by your intersecting identities and cultural background as they relate to the dominant belief systems and cultural norms of the region(s) you are visiting. We recognize the possibility that these experiences may not be easy!

Due to their unique sociopolitical history and cultural norms, the social landscapes in other countries does not directly mirror that of the US (or even those of neighboring countries to that which you are visiting). In some other countries, language around race, sexuality, gender, religion, and other personal identities can be more candid, pointed and direct than what you might be used to or expect in the US. Before you depart, we encourage you to think about what it is going to be like to be "you" in the country(ies) you are going to travel, the various ways you might identify yourself, and how these identities define you at home. These definitions might change in the country(ies) you are visiting, and you may encounter stereotypes, questions, and curiosity surrounding your identities. You may notice that the people you encounter speak more openly and frankly about difference, such as it relates to race and sexuality, than many Americans do. Think about your expectations versus what the reality might be in other countries, and be prepared if your experiences lead to feelings of frustration, isolation, and fatigue. However, while you may face challenges, remember that being in a new cultural context is a wonderful opportunity for change and growth and it will provide you with a new perspective on the structure of different societies.

Below are a few things you can do to prepare yourself:

  • Read about the history, culture, laws, and demographics of the country(ies) you are visiting. If reading news articles, commentaries, or blogs, please consider the lens through which the information was written.
  • Reach out to students who have studied abroad in the country(ies) you are visiting.
  • Make use of online resources, (even social media which may be less "filtered" than news sources in some countries, or may include current events/stories that aren't "news-worthy") that offer advice, personal narratives, and other information.

Additional Information

The Tufts University Study Abroad page on Cultural and Social Identity Resources includes a wide variety of resources for students on diversity and inclusion while abroad. Please be sure to reference these materials and let us know if you have any questions.

Host Families

Today, most of our programs do not involve accommodations with host families. Only the Cadiz and Talloires Summer Abroad programs currently do and the resources below are specific to those programs.

Students have a unique and special opportunity to be a part of a local host family and to learn about how families live in France. Our host families have been interviewed and carefully selected, and many have hosted for numerous years. They have an understanding of our program and are invested in the goal of cultural exchange. Living with another family, however, even in a familiar culture, requires a lot of patience, openness and willingness on the part of both the student and the host family. This may be the most challenging aspect of your time in Talloires, but it has the potential to be the most rewarding. It is well worth the effort! The host family experience can provide you with insight into how other people live as well as friendships to last a lifetime. We hope that you will observe, process and grow from this perspective. 

As you get used to your host family, you will understand what is important to them and how they function. Participation in family activities and events will help them know you better, too. Of course, you might not always agree with what your family says and does. But through discussion and agreement, both you and your host family can work to understand one another better and learn more about yourselves, each other and the world. That is the magic of cross-cultural exchange.

There may be times when differences in language, culture or personalities can make the host family stay overwhelming. The staff of the European Center is there to help you navigate your relationship with your host family. We are always ready to intervene on your behalf, no matter what the issue is, and help resolve misunderstandings or problems.

The Talloires Student Handbook has a very detailed section on living with your host family that you should read before arriving in Talloires.

Here are a few topics regarding the host family experience:

Language
Your host family will expect you to try to converse with them. If you don’t speak French – fear not! You’d be surprised how much can still be communicated through the language barrier. You can certainly count on going home at the end of the program with an increased French vocabulary. 

Waste
Avoiding waste and conserving energy are very important social/political issues in the current French culture. Your host family will reflect France’s more aggressive attitudes about ecology, organic food, recycling, and sustainability. In general, people in France are very careful and tend to make do with much less than Americans.

Food
Eating in France is serious business and food is an expression of culture, tradition and love. The dinner table will likely be the place where you spend the most time with your host family. You may be confronted with new and different foods. Politely decline or give a try - it is all part of the experience! Etiquette and table manners are important, and often host families will use dinnertime to expose you to traditional local cuisine. It is often carbohydrate-and protein-heavy (and possibly laden with cheese), but every family will be different. The French are used to smaller portions of food due to the richness of some dishes and the number of courses in a typical French meal. Students often are surprised at how late and how long dinners will last, but this is a great opportunity to get to know your family better. 

* Winter Abroad Disclaimers

Please read the following key disclaimers directly related to information contained on this web-page carefully. Please note that this is only a subset of the policies that apply to these programs, the full list of which can be found in the "Policies" and "Participant Agreements" sections below. All disclaimers are subject to change without notice. Last updated July 27, 2019.

  • Program Operator: All Winter Abroad programs are operated by IAU. IAU will follow-up after the application and is responsible for all program operations, planning, pre-program preparations, and all in-program activities, etc. All information provided on this application will be shared with IAU, including any information that may be included as educational records under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Please note that Tufts students will be joined with students from other schools while on the program.
  • Credit: This is a non-Tufts study abroad program and students will need to apply for transfer credit through the Non-Tufts Programs process to use this credit towards their degree. Please be sure to check requirements on pre-approval for credit with your adviser in advance of application. To-date, we are not aware of students having issues transferring credit from IAU into Tufts University, but please note that approval of transfer credits is at the discretion of your academic degree/certificate program at Tufts not by IAU or University College and is not guaranteed.  Please note that, in some cases, the number of credits offered by IAU may differ from the number of credits approved by Tufts.
  • Certification that Meet Program Eligibility Requirements. I have reviewed the essential eligibility requirements of the Program and certify that I can meet such essential eligibility requirements. I understand that I am traveling to a foreign country, the accessibility regulations of which may differ from our own. I also understand that accommodations may not be available for every possible activity or for our housing during the Program. I understand that if I have special disability or health-related needs, I have been strongly encouraged to contact Tufts at my earliest convenience so that we can determine whether my needs can be properly accommodated.
  • Tufts’ and IAU’s Right to make Program Changes. I hereby acknowledge that Tufts and IAU reserve the right to make cancellations, substitutions, or changes in the Program, itineraries, and courses. All program itineraries and courses offered are subject to change. Students will be notified as soon as possible after changes are made and they are communicated to Tufts. Please note that changes to the itinerary or courses offered will be in the same spirit of the original itinerary / courses and, as such, will not qualify as a program cancellation nor will they be eligible for special refunds.  In addition, I understand that Tufts’ fees are based upon costs currently in force and are subject to change. Tufts reserves the right to cancel any Programs due to insufficient enrollment, in which case all Program fees are refundable, including the application fee if the program/course was the only program/course for which the student applied. Tufts University is not responsible for nonrefundable air ticket costs.
  • Non-Matriculated: Registration and admission/enrollment into any of these programs is not admission/enrollment in a Tufts University degree or certificate program, nor is it related to your ability to receive admission/enrollment in a Tufts University degree or certificate program.
  • Accessibility: I have read and understand the accessibility section of the "learning abroad" page; please see the "Certification to Meet Program Eligibility Requirements" section of the Participant Agreement for additional information.
  • Refunds:  I have read and understand the refund policy. Read the full policy here; please see the "Refunds" and "Deposits" sections of the Participant Agreement for additional information. 
  • Policies: Students are responsible for reading and understanding all sections of "learning abroad" and "policies" before applying for the program.
  • Participant Agreements: students will need to read and sign a number of enrollment documents including (but not limited to) the below agreements

Health & Safety

General Safety

We are wholly committed to your safety and well-being as you travel. A critical component of having a successful study-abroad experience is staying safe, healthy, and well, and we encourage you to be aware of the resources available to you. Below you’ll find a list of important resources to get you started.

Pre-Departure 

All students must attend a pre-departure orientation either with Tufts or their non-Tufts Abroad program. Students must also register with the Tufts Travel Registry. Registration will also enroll you at no additional charge in International SOS emergency coverage

Well-Being & Safety While Abroad

Please carefully review the Well-Being & Safety While Abroad page for detailed information and resources on common issues while abroad. These include:

  • Travel Resources
  • General Health & Safety Resources
  • Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence
  • Alcohol Use & Overuse
  • Personal Safety & Pickpocketing

Travel Safety Basic Precautions
All students should review travel safety protocols. Below are some basic precautions for travel safety and convenience. Most of these require common sense and staying alert. While victims of a crime are never to blame for criminal activity, students should:

  • If you are traveling, make sure a staff member and/or your host family knows where you are and how to contact you at all times.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: use the basic precautions that are customary in any major city in the world today. Travel with a friend, if possible. While in a new city, plan your routes and walk confidently. If you are being followed or feel threatened, go into a store or other public area.
  • Be informed about current events: read newspapers and listen to the TV or radio news. There are English-language and international newspapers available at the centers and at kiosks and news stands throughout the cities where are centers are located. If you have questions, check with center staff for advice and travel advisories.
  • Be inconspicuous: don’t try to draw attention to yourself by looking too “American” or by talking loudly. Try to avoid places frequented by tourists.
  • Do not impair your judgment with excessive consumption of alcohol or through the use of drugs.
  • You should avoid walking alone at night. Do not agree to meet a person whom you do not know in a non-public place.
  • Know local laws: laws and systems of justice are not universal. Do not assume that because it is legal in the United States, it is legal abroad.
  • Be aware that pickpockets are commonplace especially in areas like subway stations and crowded markets. Be on guard at all times, keep purses and/or backpacks on your person at all times, preferably on the front of your body. Double or triple check each time you get off a bus or a plane--have you left anything behind?

Online resources

Emergency Protocols

Winter Abroad

Forthcoming

Other Summer Abroad

Forthcoming

Talloires
If for any reason there is an emergency or you must reach someone in Talloires immediately, there will be a European Center staff person available 24 hours a day to assist you. Please feel free to give this emergency number to your parents. If you are unable to get through, please leave a voicemail and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

  • Talloires
    • Main Number: +33 4 50 60 74 04
    • Emergency Number: +33 6 30 81 43 09

In the event of a political, social, or natural emergency, students on any abroad program will be asked to do the following:

  • Remain alert to surroundings;
  • Stay tuned to news reports;
  • Follow instructions issued by the police;
  • Contact the their program staff as soon as possible;
  • Contact parents or guardians as soon as possible.

Program staff will phone and/or text all students, and they will be instructed to contact the Director within two hours to confirm their whereabouts. All students must have a working cell phone during the program and must be reachable by European Center staff.

Health & Wellness

Please consult the Tufts University Study Abroad Health Considerations page for general information about making decisions regarding your health while abroad. Please see below for available, program-specific information.

Talloires

Should you require medical attention during the program, consult with a staff member who will then make a doctor’s appointment for you and accompany you to the doctor’s office. There are general practitioners in the towns around Talloires and a large regional hospital in Annecy. Pharmacies are found in communities along the lake. 

It is important to note that there are no English speaking mental health services in the region around Talloires. We strongly suggest that you plan ahead before departure and speak with your mental health professionals to prepare for your time in Talloires. Having a mental health or medical issue is nothing to be ashamed of. However, you should be sure that you fully understand the implications of studying in Talloires with your condition. If you take regular medication you will need to have sufficient medication for your time in Talloires.

While studying abroad can be an incredible experience, it often takes time to adjust to a new culture, living arrangements, food, language and immersion in the unfamiliar. Some students may feel overwhelmed, others homesick. Some may feel afraid, and others depressed. Students may just feel out of sorts. Attitudes toward counseling, or therapy, are different in France and these issues are not often discussed as openly as they are in the US. 

Travel and culture shock can dangerously exacerbate an anxiety or eating disorder. Eating disorders can be difficult to handle in France because of the importance placed on food and mealtimes. Adjusting to different food and having limited food choices when living with a host family can be extremely stressful. Students need to be willing to embrace the cultural differences around food in order to have a successful study-abroad experience.

All students enrolled in Tufts European Center programs are required to have health insurance. Even with insurance, you will most likely still be required to pay up front for any doctor visits or medical costs in France. Depending on your health insurance plan, you may be able to be reimbursed by your insurance company when you return to the U.S. Please check with your provider to learn more about your health coverage while abroad. Students enrolled in an insurance plan through Tufts are automatically covered through August 31 of each year. 

Tufts University collaborates with International SOS, the leading medical assistance, international healthcare and security assistance company. All Tufts European Center students will be registered with International SOS. Travel security services are provided by a joint venture of International SOS and Control Risks, the world’s leading security risk management firm.

Other Summer Abroad Programs

Forthcoming.

Winter Abroad Programs

Students will have access to a virtual Health & Wellness center through IAU with resources for various health- and wellness-related issues.

All students will be registered for international health insurance as a part of their Program Fees. This cannot be waived.

If a student becomes ill or needs access to mental healthcare while abroad, IAU staff will arrange for them to have access to local healthcare professionals as covered by the insurance offered by the program.