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Student Orientation Activities

After students arrive in Paris and settle into their housing, student orientation will take place over the course of the first few days. The main point of orientation, of course, is to help students to make a quick adjustment to their new life in Paris. Some of the issues we’ll cover:

  • Public Transportation (navigating the métro system, using the Pass Navigo, hours of the metro/bus/RER systems)
  • Banking/money
  • Day to day life questions (where to buy bread, the nearest grocery store, post office, bank/atm machine, pharmacy, etc.).
  • Language and cultural issues (adapting to French language, adjusting to different cultural norms found in Paris (and this includes many non-French cultures found in Paris).
  • Personal safety issues (protecting against theft, contact numbers for ambulance, fire department, police, etc), health (STDs) and safety (violence and terrorism concerns) issues.

The initial orientation is designed to give students the knowledge and the skills to help them make an easier transition to life in Paris. Student orientation activities include guided tours in and around the city to help them understand how to use the métro system, begin to establish a clearer sense of the city as a whole and begin getting familiarized with neighborhoods near their housing as well as some of the central neighborhoods. Along the way students will discover grocery stores, post offices, department stores and more.

Students studying during a semester program are required to take a French language class which will help all students make quick improvements in their French–whether they are starting from zero or have taken a number of French language courses before coming to Paris. Semester program students will visit at least two Paris region sites as a group (Versailles, Provins, Giverny, Troyes, Chantilly, Chartres, among others). They will also take part in a weekend excursion outside Paris (Brittany, Normandy, Loire Valley, Bourgundy, Champagne or other region). Students taking part in Winter or Summer sessions will also take at least two group trips in the larger Parisian region.

Examples of Orientation Activities:

  • Welcome Dinner in typical French restaurant
  • Guided tour of the architecture of Paris
  • Visit the collections at the Louvre and/or Orsay museums
  • Visit to the Musée Albert Kahn and its beautiful gardens

Other PICA pages which may interest you: