30 August 2021
First, like everything else you do abroad, plan ahead! Getting sick is no fun, no matter where you are, but if you plan ahead, you’ll have less stress if you unfortunately do fall ill whilst in France. The main thing will be to register for your French social security and health card upon your arrival in France! This is mandatory anyway, but the faster you do this, the less worry you will have! (Don’t worry, ESDES is happy to assist with any questions you have about registering for this health card, which is an easy process all online.)
Now, if you start to feel ill it is best to contact your professors and/or boss to let them know in advance if you must miss time from school/work. In France, the culture surrounding illness can be a bit different than other countries. People are generally very caring and will understand that you are ill. However, without a doctor’s note saying you are too ill to work, they may expect that you can continue to attend courses (online) or to continue working despite feeling poorly. Especially if you hold a job in France, you may not get paid sick days unless you have a doctor’s note (this should be discussed when signing your work or internship contract in France). Therefore, it is best to analyze your own ability to continue working, and if your illness may interfere with your work or coursework, you should schedule a hospital visit as soon as possible… but not to worry, this is simple in France!
You can either ask a local friend or the international desk if they recommend a local doctor you can call (in France you should have a personal GP, so you will arrange this when you call the doctor’s office for the first time), OR you can download an easy-to-use app that lets you connect with doctors in your area either in person or through video call! The app is called “Doctolib,” and is available on the app store. Once downloaded, you can search for a “Medecin Generaliste,” which is a General Physician. If you are traveling in France, you can also use the option to search for doctors “Autour de moi,” which will search for doctors around your current location! Once that is loaded, just find a doctor with availability or video calling if you prefer, and schedule your appointment!
Most doctor appointments in France are not expensive! This is a benefit of living in France, since you are able to avail of the French healthcare system! A general appointment will normally be around 25-30 Euro, or even less if you have additional insurance.
You can always feel free to reach out to the international desk if you have any questions, but overall, the French healthcare system is top-notch and easy to maneuver! (Serious illnesses or injuries may require more extensive care, and your doctor should advise if further care is needed.)