Jan 27th, 2020, 02:22 PM

Navigating AUP's Health Hub

By Chloe Gavalas
Image Credit: Flickr/Nursing Schools Near Me
Bridging the gap between French and American healthcare is simpler than it seems.

Most of the students who are arriving at AUP are young adults, venturing out on their own and figuring out how to settle into a new culture. For students coming from the United States especially, moving to any European country can be a challenging adjustment. Therefore, the last thing we should be worrying about is our health and how to handle it. In arriving at the university, the school will prescribe mandatory vaccines, some students will be looking for a means to acquire medications and some may just need an annual check-up. Whatever the case, here is a breakdown of all you need to know about taking care of your health here at AUP.

First off, it is not a secret that healthcare in France is quite different than in the United States, although students coming from other European countries may have an easier transition into France’s system. Either way, do not be alarmed when you encounter some unusual practices. In France, if you are due for a vaccine, you must pick it up from the pharmacy, take it home to your fridge, and then bring it to your doctor when it is time for injection.

I was extremely unsettled when the health counselor was explaining this to me. If that were a law in the States, given the high drug abuse levels, possible tampering with the vaccines could become a problem. All in all, it raises red flags to us Americans, but it is a common procedure for the French. Something that new students should understand is that French medical care will not be the same as American, or in fact any other country’s. However, that does not mean that students are not going to get the care they need while attending AUP.

Pamela Montfort and Charlotte Vernier are available for on-campus counseling in AUP's Combes building. Image Credit: The American University of Paris

If you are a full-time student at AUP, you are required to have health insurance. MSH International is the plan included in tuition and applies to a wide variety of medical services here in France. With this plan, AUP gives students access to medical services such as STD centers, general practitioners, specialists, bloodwork labs, ultrasound/CT-Scan/MRI medical centers, gynecologists, urologists, mental health facilities and an abundance of others. 

It was surprising to find out that the school also offers acupuncture and homeopathic specialists. If you need help adjusting to being on your own and knowing how to eat right, there is even access to nutritionists and psychologists who can help. 

This information is easy to find if you simply log onto AUP’s website and locate the “Health and Wellness” page. There is a list of pretty much every service you could need, along with each doctor supported by your health plan, their fee (which is reimbursed by the school) and where they are located for the easiest possible access. I know that in coming here, my skin got hit the worst with the pollution and dry water that France so secretly welcomes us with but, with access to a dermatologist on the school’s website, I was able to fix my worries. The webpage also provides students with information regarding the counseling office if you need further help locating the best practitioner for you or if you have a sexual misconduct matter that needs assistance.  

Image Credit: The American University of Paris

Students who are studying abroad are generally supported by a plan that only covers medical emergencies. So, if you seek additional medical providers and are worried about costs, you can also reference AUP’s page “Low Fee Medical Centers.” The health page is a great resource; just make sure that you double-check which medical expert you select. Each list of providers allows access to trained professionals but ratings may vary. 

Even though we are becoming adults and are being forced to figure out how to handle ourselves on our own, we can not let the fear of making a doctor's appointment get in the way of taking care of ourselves. With all the services provided, AUP students should be basking in the support of France’s finest.