Paris


Report 1

Reporter: Z Li

Contact at destination: Pr. Olivier Bouchaud, Chef de service

Year of visit: 2015

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hôpital Avicenne, Bobigny

Department: SMIT – Service Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales

Work / Study undertaken: I completed a five week attachment as one of the ‘externes’ (clinical medical students) on the ward. Everyday started with a handover meeting at 8.45AM, and mornings usually involved clerking in new patients and a ward round. The rest of the externes were scheduled to be there until 1pm, though I often stayed behind in the afternoon to clerk and examine more patients. There was teaching every Thursday morning on various subjects in infectious and tropical medicine, from dealing with animal bites to travel vaccinations. The other externes were very friendly, and all the staff on the ward were incredibly welcoming.

Description of destination: The hospital is located just north of Paris, but accessible via Metro ligne 7 to La Courneuve, followed by a 15 minute walk, or a 5 minute tram ride (the metro Navigo pass is valid on the tram). The hospital is a public hospital located in an area with one of the highest proportions of migrants in France, mostly originating from Africa and the Middle East.

Were the local people friendly? Yes! I made friends with the externes and we spent some time together in the afternoons and weekends.

Did you feel safe and if not why not? I felt safe everywhere I went.

What did you do in your spare time? Visited tourist attractions, had many picnics in parks and by the Seine, went running in my local park (Parc des Buttes Chaumont).

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? Many of the museums are free if you are under 26 and an EU citizen – so make the most of it!

What was the climate like? My elective was in July and August, so hot and sunny on most days.

What was your accommodation like? I stayed in a studio in the 19th arrondissement, right next to Parc des Buttes Chaumont. The location was great, as I was not too far away from the centre of Paris or the hospital.

Was it provided? No

If not, who arranged it? Myself, via Airbnb.

How much did it cost? £900 for 6 weeks.

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes.

Did you find it useful medically? Somewhat, as I had lots of opportunities to examine patients, review investigation results etc. Although my actual involvement in patient care was limited by my poor French, working as an externe meant that I was always included on the updates and progression of each patient, and I got to learn a lot about each patient and their illnesses via history taking and reading their notes.

Has it improved your french? Yes, significantly. Most of the doctors spoke little English, or weren’t particularly keen on doing so, so I spoke French almost exclusively in the hospital. Pairing up with some of the externes who were keen to learn English meant that I had a great language exchange with them!

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture? Being able to speak to patients from a wide variety of backgrounds was incredibly interesting. I also really enjoyed getting to know the other medical students and doctors, and we had many chats on the differences between France and the UK.

If you went back would you do anything differently? Before I arrived I was worried about my level of French (GCSE French and a short course in my free time at university, alongside some self-studying). Although I wasn’t able to prepare for the elective as much as I wanted to, I still felt like I got a lot out of my elective placement despite my lack of fluency. The most useful resources for me were the Handbook of Medical French, provided with attendance at the Society’s weekend medical French course, and the textbook « Le français des médecins ».

How did you get there? Train from Geneva.

What was the approximate total cost? Approximately £900 for accommodation, £100 for trains to and from France, 140 euros for metro navigo pass, and spending money.

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? I bought a French-English dictionary app for my phone which was very useful for offline access in the hospital.

Report 2

Reporter: Gavish Munbauhal (Sheffield, UK)

Contact at destination: Service d’Urologie, Groupe hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris

Year of visit: 2013

Country: France, Paris

Institution: Groupe hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris

Departments: Urology

Work / Study undertaken: Mostly minimally invasive surgery and experience in academic onco-urology. There was also the opportunity to attend academic meetings and present in front of the Paris’ onco-urological surgeons.

Description of the service and department: Very large, world-renowned tertiary centre for onco-urology. We received referrals from all over the country but also from the overseas departments.

Description of the destination: Located in the 13th arrondissement with a Métro station located right next to a hospital entrance on line 5 at Saint Marcel.

Were the local people friendly? Variable. My elective being in June-July, I met mostly tourists in the city. Overall, people were friendly, but always rushed and were a bit abrupt at times- not unexpected for a bustling city. The medical staff at the hospital was genuinely the nicest group of medical professionals I have met so far. Students are fully part of the team and made to feel at ease in clinical setting. This was in stark contrast to the experience of medical students in UK hospitals where ward personnel adhere to strict hierarchy and medical students often feel surplus to requirements.

Did you feel safe and if not why not? Yes and No.

Yes, Paris is a very safe city, if you take sensible precautions to avoid pick-pockets/scams as in any large city. No, only around where I lived- Barbès, in the north of the city. It is well known as a ‘quartier populaire’. I did not have any troubles, but in terms of security, there were always people up to no good in the streets. It is worth noting that Montmartre is only a few streets away and always packed with tourists!

What did you do in your spare time? Lots of walking around the city, taking in all the sights in and around the different districts of Paris. Wandered around the many gardens and grounds, reading Notre-Dame de Paris. I also spent a weekend visiting Lyon.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do?

A visit to Château de Versailles is a must ! I had a particular liking for the Jardin des Plantes and the Louvre, both of which are easily accessible.

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? June-July. Very hot and humid. With occasional storms. But most of the time, the weather was sunny or overcast. Summer clothes are essential!

What was your accommodation like? Private studio

Was it provided? No

If not who arranged it? Self

How much did it cost? £900 including bills

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes! It was an awesome experience on a medical , social and cultural level

Did you find the visit useful medically? – in what way? Yes. Exposure to cutting-edge surgery and research.

Has it improved your French? Yes. I was already fluent in French, but the elective enabled me to learn/practice medical French. I had also attended the 2013 AFMS Medical French Weekend (recommended!)

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture? Yes. It highlighted the contrasts between the British and the French in terms of perception of health and disease.

If you went back would you do anything differently? Yes. Book accommodation earlier, trying for the Cité Universitaire- which was fully booked months in advance.

How did you get there? Train to London then Eurostar across

What was the approximate total cost? £2000

Is there any other information that you think may be useful?

Food is very expensive (and delicious) if bought ready-made or in restaurants/cafés/bistrots. The best way to save is to be self-catered and food-shop in one of the many supermarkets. Plan ahead for travels within Paris/France, to get cheap tickets, else prices can be quite exorbitant. Walk around Paris- it is much easier to get used to the surroundings and you always come across amazing small shops, unlike those that focus on touristy items.

Report 3

Reporter: Hirst F

Contact at destination Pr. Olivier Bouchaud

Year of visit: 2013 (July)

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hopital Avicenne

Department: Maladies Infectieuses et tropicales

Work / Study undertaken: 4 week attachment in the infectious and tropical diseases department in a hospital which cares for a great number of asylum seekers and immigrants from all over the world, particularly Africa and Pakistan. As such I saw a great deal of TB and HIV. I arrived every weekday morning before the ward round where I and the other medical students would clerk the patients, look at their biochemistry/blood/virology etc results and then discussed each patient with other doctors on the morning ward round. I also attended seminars on Wednesday mornings where other students and doctors would present a case from the week for discussion. That was followed by a presentation on a particular infectious disease such as meningitis, HIV and so on. On Wednesday afternoons we had radiology teaching sessions. I also had the opportunity to do arterial blood gas samples, mantoux tests and immunisations. I had every afternoon off from around 2/3pm depending on when the ward rounds finished.

Description of destination: Paris is renowned for being an incredibly diverse, lively and romantic city. I had been before and always loved it. There is an amazing fashion influence over the city, incredible art festivals, street music, food fares. The obvious draws are the classic tourist places which are not to be missed. In the summer there are a number of different festivals to attend, open air cinema, ‘Paris plages’ where all along the Seine is turned into an artificial beach scene and people can laze on sun loungers, play table football etc. With the beautiful weather, everyone sits along the seine or canals with picnics and wine and you can just soak up the amazing atmosphere and make new friends.

Were the local people friendly? Yes. More so than people seem to say about Paris. I thought everyone was very welcoming.

Did you feel safe and if not why not? I never had any problems in Paris. There are a lot of homeless people around the metros at night, but they never bothered me.

What did you do in your spare time ? Saw the classic tourist sites, went shopping, had picnics on canal st martin or the seine, went to various cool bars and restaurants, Buttes Chaumont is a lovely park as is Bois de Vincennes.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? As I have said above really. It is easy to wander around Paris by yourself and just see everything. But its really lovely to make effort to meet people for picnics. I would recommend going on couchsurfing.com as many people post about meeting up in big groups to do things and it’s a great way to meet people.

What was the climate like? Hot and sunny nearly every day (July)

What was your accommodation like? I stayed in a studio apartment owned by a family friend who was away on holiday. It was in Le Marais, a lovely quite upmarket neighbourhood with loads of beautiful bakeries and bars. It was incredible, I feel very lucky.

Was it provided? No

If not who arranged it? Myself through a family friend.

How much did it cost? Free for me.

Did you enjoy your visit? Very much so

Did you find it useful medically? Slightly in that I learned a lot of medical French terminology, however my lack of fluency meant that full participation was very challenging and I did a lot of standing around trying to grasp what was going on.

Has it improved your french? By a great deal yes, although I would put that down more to socialising, than being in the hospital, where I lacked confidence to speak.

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture? Yes

If you went back would you do anything differently? I would like to know more French before going. I had only learned it in school and for 2 years of a previous degree, however I hadn’t spoken it for 6 years when it came to going!

How did you get there? I took the TGV up from my Marseille.

What was the approximate total cost? 50 euro or so for the train plus spending money

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? No

 

Report 4

Reporter: Hannah Walton

Contact at destination: Pr Chaussade

Year of visit: 2013

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hôpital Cochin, 27 Rue Faubourg Saint Jacques

Department: Gastroenterology

Work / Study undertaken: I worked as an externe – clerking in patients, following up blood and imaging results, and presenting patients on the twice weekly ward rounds. Externes usually only work mornings but I also spent afternoons in clinics and endoscopy sessions.

Description of the service and department: The gastroenterology department consisted of a 33-bedded ward and an endoscopy unit, where diagnostic and therapeutic endoscopic procedures were carried out. There were regular outpatient clinics.

Description of destination: The hospital is next to Port Royal, the crossroads between the 5th, 6th and 14th arrondissements. It is very close to the Jardins du Luxembourg and the Observatory. It is an area with many hospitals.

Were the local people friendly? Yes, very friendly

Did you feel safe and if not why not? Yes

What did you do in your spare time? Lots – Paris has a host of wonderful museums, most of which are free to European citizens under 26 years old (including the Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Musee Carnvalet, Musee Rodin). I also visited the Montparnasse Tower, Eiffel Tower, Arc du Triomphe, Le Marais, Le Madeline, and I spent a lot of time in the Jardins du Luxembourg.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do?

  • The Montparnasse Tower is much quieter than the Eiffel Tower, and I thought it had a better view.
  • Spend some time in one of the many local parks reading a book and watching Parisian life.
  • Plan a visit to the Louvre – there is so much to see it is easy to become overwhelmed and miss things
  • Walk around Paris, it is the best way to see the city and its architecture.
  • Avoid the Champs-Élysées

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? The end of August and start of September were hot and sunny. The middle of September was wetter, although still warm.

What was your accommodation like? I rented a flat.

Was it provided? No.

If not who arranged it? Self

How much did it cost? 

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes

Did you find it useful medically? Yes. I am very interested in gastroenterology and the placement enabled me to gain a greater understanding of common gastro complaints. There was a very broad mix of patients on the ward, including those with biliary or pancreatic complaints who would be treated under general surgery in the UK. Patients with GI cancers received inpatient chemotherapy on the gastroenterology ward, rather than in an oncology ward.

Has it improved your French? Absolutely. My knowledge of medical French and the abbreviations commonly used has greatly improved, and I have also gained more confidence in chatting to native French speakers on an informal basis.

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture? Living in Paris for a month gave me the opportunity to see how the French live. I also visited a large number of museums, art galleries and took the opportunity to visit some of Paris’ well-renowned buildings during the Journée du Patrimoine weekend.

If you went back would you do anything differently? No

How did you get there? Easyjet flight to Charles de Gaulle

What was the approximate total cost?

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? Finding accommodation is difficult. I applied to both the Cite U and CROUS 4-5 months in advance but they were full.

Report 5

Reporter Caroline Kargbo

Contact at destination Professeur Albert Faye – Chef de service en Pédiatrie Générale

Year of visit 2011

Country France

Region Ile-de-France

Institution CHU – Hôpital Robert Debré. 48, boulevard Sérurier. 75935 Paris cedex 19

Department Paediatrics – Service de Pédiatrie générale

Work / Study undertaken Four week long elective to experience medicine in a specialised paediatric hospital.

Description of the service and department

Robert Debré hospital is an exclusively paediatric hospital but also a reference centre for sickle cell anaemia.

Professeur Faye also has a special interest for HIV infection in children which meant that many patients that were admitted were HIV positive.

Description of the destination

Paris is the capital of France. It counts 12 million inhabitants 40% of which is thought to come from the different waves of immigration. Ethnic minorities are mainly from North and Subsaharan Africa.

The French healthcare system is universal and financed by the Sécurité sociale (the national health insurance). Every inhabitant has to pay towards it. For every medical visit, French pay a set fee. 75 or 85% of this fee is then reimbursed by the Sécurité sociale according to the person’s salary.

Were the local people friendly? 

Everyone was very friendly and helpful. They were surprised that I was studying in England and doctors were keen to practice presenting patients in English.

Did you feel safe and if not why not? 

I felt safe both at hospital and outside. I was being careful in public transports as there are a lot of pickpockets but no other extra precautions were required.

What did you do in your spare time ?

Although I was often at hospital until 7pm, I was able to have a good time with my friends at weekends. The weather was really nice and I enjoyed a few picnics in the Jardin du Luxembourg, nice walks in Montmartre and by the Seine.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? 

I particularly like Montmartre area which is the artists quarter. In the small alleyways surrounding the Sacré coeur, you will find affordable restaurants offering typical french specialities.

The best way to explore Paris is to hire a bike using the Vélib system where you can take a bike and return it anywhere you like in the city for only 1.70€ a day.

On friday evening, the Quartier Latin near Saint-Michel is very lively and offers a god range of entertainement.

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like?

I was in Paris during the whole of August and it was very sunny and mostly dry.

What was your accommodation like? 

I decided to stay at my parental home in the Parisian suburb. I would recommend getting an accomodation outside the inner city as it is much more affordable and the centre can be reached easily by public transport (using the RER).

Was it provided?

No

If not who arranged it?

Myself

How much did it cost?

Accomodation in the centre of Paris ranges from 500 to 780€ per month without bills. In the suburb it ranges from 300 to 610€ depending on the of accomodation.

Did you enjoy your visit? 

Yes, I was glad to experience medicine in my home country.

Did you find it useful medically? If so, in what way?

Surprisingly, I found that medical students were better taught on microbiology. This forced me to read about the subject and increased my knowledge.

I found that being in charge of my patients from admission to discharge gave me a lot of self-confidence.

Has it improved your French? 

It has indeed improved my medical French. Having started my medical degree in England, I had very few notions of French medical terms even though it is my first language. It was as if I was learning a new language!

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture? 

Having been away from home for such a long time, I was able to compare the British and French culture.

If you went back would you do anything differently? 

I would spend more time there as I felt that my experience would have been maximised with a longer stay.

How did you get there? 

From Southampton airport to Paris-Orly on AirFrance. 136£ return flight.

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? 

Doctors and medical students wear long white coats in France. The hospitals usually lend in exchange of a 35£ deposit. The dresscode is otherwise very relaxed.

I would also advise to bring your own stethoscope, ophthalmoscope, pentorch and tendon hammer. Most of the wards do not provide these in APHP hospitals. It will save you time to chase the junior doctor to borrow his equipment.

If you have any adminsitrative formalities to do, make sure you deal with it before arrival, especially if you plan to travel in the summer. French admin services are well known to function in slow motion over the summer!

Report 6

Reporter: Sara Waise

Contact at destination: Jérôme Le Bidois

Year of visit: July-September 2008

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hôpital Necker-Enfants Malades, 149, rue de Sèvres
75743 PARIS Cedex 15

Department: Paediatric cardiology

Work / Study undertaken : Assisting the externes, observing the internes etc. on ward rounds and in clinic. Attended theatres and the cath lab, gave two short case presentations to the team.

Description of the service and department: The largest paediatric cardiology unit in France, receving referrals from metropolitan France and overseas départements. Medical and surgical staff involved in the diagnosis and management of congenital cardiac anomalies.

Description of destination: In a largely residential area close to Montparnasse, with a striking view of the Eiffel Tower from the main entrance! The closest Métro station is Pasteur.

Were the local people friendly? Most of them.

Did you feel safe and if not why not? Yes.

What did you do in your spare time? Lots! Sightseeing, swimming, visiting patisseries. Used the Vélib bicycles, had a day trip to Disneyland, visited Versailles, went to Paris Plage, and spent time reading the translation of Harry Potter in the Jardin du Luxembourg!

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? Take advantage of the Vélib scheme, it’s a good way to get around and sightsee at the same time. The Louvre is free for students after 6pm on a Friday evening. About once a month, the Mairie have ‘3 jours, 3 euros’; during a three-day period, you can see most of the new cinema releases for 3 euros each.

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? July, August and the first half of September. The weather was changeable. It was never very cold, but at its best was lovely!

What was your accommodation like? A privately-owned studio flat off the Boulevard de Grenelle. Complete with separate kitchen and bathroom, but very expensive.

Was it provided? No.

If not who arranged it? Self, through http://www.lodgis.com

How much did it cost? Approximately £2000 including agency fees.

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes.

Did you find it useful medically? I enjoyed furthering my knowledge of malformations and assoctaed syndromes. Paediatric cardiology is a more complex field than I anticipated – I felt that things were just beginning to come together by the time I left!

Has it improved your French? Immensely. It’s much easier to pick up the language by being there, even if it’s just by watching TV!

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture? I now have a much better understanding of the French healthcare system, and a clear idea of what it would be like to live and work in France.

If you went back would you do anything differently? Arrange my accommodation further in advance – apply to the Cité Universitaire (http://www.ciup.fr) – their accommodation was fully booked when I applied.

How did you get there? Eurostar from St. Pancras (£49 for a Youth ticket booked sufficiently far in advance)

What was the approximate total cost? £3250-3500

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? I was quite surprised by the extent of the language barrier – something I hadn’t anticpated. Although I did French for several years, plus the Diplôme de français médical, I felt that my involvement as a member of the team was limited by my linguistic ability. It would probably be nice to be confident in your fluency before you go, to get the most out of the opportunity.

Report 7

Reporter: Karimun Nessa Ghori

Contact at destination: Professor Moret

Year of visit: April-June 2005

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Fondation Adolphe de Rothschild, 25-29 rue Manin, 75940 Paris CEDEX 19

Department: Interventional Neuroradiology, (research, data collection)

Work / Study undertaken : Data collection, observation of neurointerventional procedures, attended conference on latest neurointerventional technology in this field.

Description of the service and department: There were internes from many different countries who explained the technical procedures in detail and offered their help when needed. The staff were friendly and always ready to assist when relevant. The necessary arrangements were made to facilitate me whilst performing my data collection.

Description of destination The hospital building is situated opposite the beautiful Buttes-Chaumont park with its streams and waterfalls. There are many restaurants and cafes 5 minutes from the Fondation. Accessible from Metro Stations; Buttes-Chaumont, Bolivar or Colonel Fabien.

Were the local people friendly? The Parisiens were very friendly and helpful.

Did you feel safe and if not why not? Yes.

What did you do in your spare time ? Visited Bibliotheque Francois-Mitterand with its overwhelming architechture. Walked around the Marais and St Paul and ate at restaurants at St Germain des Pres. Visited Montematre. Went to Chateau de Versaille. Spoke to locals in French.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? Go rollerblading on Sundays as they have group rollerblading sessions where several hundred people rollerblade around Paris. Eat Schwarma at St Paul on Rue de Rossier.

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? April / May / June. Comfortable.

What was your accommodation like? Initially, I stayed in a hotel but then discovered a place called Pension de Famille where I could rent a luxurious room for a reasonable price.

Was it provided? No

If not who arranged it? Self

How much did it cost? £100 per week

Did you enjoy your visit? I had an invaluable experience. It has truly changed my life.

Did you find it useful medically? I have developed knowledge in the field to a confident level and this has made it easier to write my elective project.

Has it improved your French? My French has improved extensively. I cannot stress the importance of living in France has made to improving my French.

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture? Remarkably.

If you went back would you do anything differently? I would plan my accommodation in Pension de Famille.

How did you get there? Air France from Birmingham International.

What was the approximate total cost? £2000. I did everything that I wanted to do and it was brilliant.

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? Spend the initial few days walking around Paris in order to become familiar with surroundings. It will help boost confidence and apply French language skills.

 Report 8

Reporter: David Magezi

Contact at destination: Pr Jacques MILLIEZ

Year of visit: May 2004

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hôpital Saint-Antoine, 184, rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, 75012 PARIS France

Department -Service : GYNECOLOGIE-OBSTETRIQUE

Work / Study undertaken: Obstetrics and Gynaecology. Delivered babies, under close supervision of midwives, and assisted in caesarean sections. Took part in Gynaecology clinics, by taking histories and presenting to the doctor. Also assisted in gynaecology theatre.

Description of the service and department: Part of large teaching hospital with 60 obstetrique and 20 gynaecology beds

Description of destination: Located in the 12th arrondissment. Nearby restaurants. Bastille is not far, where there are several more restaurants, bars, clubs..etc. The metro makes it easy to visit other areas.

Were the local people friendly? The staff were all very friendly. The fact that I was not formally introduced to anyone was little daunting at first. However, one is quickly welcome as part of the team. My landlord invited me to dinner with a friend at his place.

Did you feel safe and if not why not? Yes

What did you do in your spare time ? Went out with other friends (studying in Paris at the time), to various venues, especially in Bastille. Walked around Paris a lot. Visited some tourist spots, such as Tour Eiffel, Montmarte, Champs-Elysees, Louvre..etc. Went to the gym, there were a couple of well-equipped ones on rue du Faubourg.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? The view from the top of the Eiffel tower is amazing as Paris is all one colour and relatively low-rise. The Louvre, but don’t expect to do it all in one day.

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? May. It was the end of spring, so generally warm

What was your accommodation like? Furnished, bilevel single apartment. It was located in the 11th, near Bastille in a very lively area with plenty of restaurants and bars.

Was it provided? No

If not who arranged it?

Self, via the internet (http://www.nyhabitat.com)

How much did it cost? 1,220 EUROs and US$ 516 agency fee

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes

Did you find it useful medically? Yes in what way? It was part of my attachment in Obstetriques and gynaecology, thus it was my first ever clinical experience in Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

Has it improved your French? Yes. Not only the medical terms that I had to learn, but also my confidence in speaking French in general.

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture? Yes. Especially the meals that the healthcare staff had together.

If you went back would you do anything differently?

How did you get there? Eurostar and then returned by British Midland airways.

What was the approximate total cost? £2000 . Could have been done more cheaply. For example buying transport tickets in advance

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? To get the most out of it it is helpful to have some knowledge of French. All communication with doctors and with the patients was in French. It is also useful to brush up on some medical terms before scrubbing up. In terms of finding contact details for hospitals in Paris, I found www.aphp.fr extremely useful.

Report 9

Reporter: Mukai Chimutengwende-Gordon

Contact at Destination: Dr Philippe Hericord

Year of Visit: 2002

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hôpital Saint-Antoine, 184 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, 75012, Paris, France

Department: Service d’Urgences

Work/Study Undertaken: I worked for two months as an ‘externe’ in the Accident and Emergency Department. I spent the time clerking patients and discussing them with an interne or a consultant. I also learnt various skills such as suturing of wounds and applying plaster casts and was sometimes allowed to do prescriptions.

Description of the service: A busy and overcrowded Accident and Emergency Department. I saw a variety of patients some of whom were very aggressive.

Description of the destination: The hospital was in a very central area. It was walking distance from Bastille.

Were the local people friendly? They varied. Some were very friendly, especially those who were keen to practice their English. Some people at work were not particularly approachable initially, but after a few weeks these people became friendlier.

What did you do in your spare time? I spent my time socialising with friends I had made over the summer; (I spent the summer in Paris before my elective started). I went to the cinema, bars, clubs, dinner parties etc. I also walked around Paris a lot and visited various parks and gardens and went sightseeing.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others do?Just visit as many places in Paris as possible, e.g. la Louvre, le Marais, le Jardin du Luxembourg.

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? During August it was usually hot. In September, the weather varied and it started to get cold. In October it was quite cold and rained a lot near the end of the month.

What was your accommodation like?I stayed with a family friend.

Was it provided? No

If not who arranged it? I arranged it myself

How much did it cost? It was free.

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes

Did you find it useful medically? In what way? Yes, I saw a wide range of patients and really practised my history and examination skills a lot.

Has it improved your French? Yes dramatically.

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture? I learnt a lot about French culture as I was living with a French family and working with French people. I also met a lot of people from other French speaking countries e.g. Algeria, Senegal, Togo, Gabon, Mali, Ivory Coast and the Caribbean. I had the opportunity to learn a bit about about their cultures as well.

If you went back would you do anything differently?

I would not spend so much time in the Accident and Emergency Department as a student. It was really interesting but it was awkward, as I was dependent on the doctors before I could make certain decisions regarding patients. Usually the doctors were busy and it took a lot of energy to persuade someone to discuss my patients with me. Sometimes you had to wait a while until a doctor was free. During this time the nurses (who were also stressed) would harass me to find out what I was going to do with the patient, as the place was so overcrowded they needed to free up occupied rooms as soon as possible. Also, I’d be worrying about the patient if I thought it was something serious. If I had chosen another speciality I would have had a much easier elective. But, it was fantastic for my French! There’s no choice – you have to communicate with the patients effectively.

How did you get there? British Airways.

What was the total approximate cost? About £900.

Is there any other info that you think may be useful?

If you decide to do Accident and Emergency be prepared for hard work! Although your French will improve while you’re there, it’s important that it’s already relatively fluent before you start work. I had not spoken French for five years and couldn’t remember much, but I spent a month in France before my elective started. I don’t think I would have survived in the hospital without that. Despite that, it was still a challenge. It’s probably a good idea to try and find out about the department that you’ll be working in and what you’ll be expected to do before you get there.

Report 10

Reporter: Louise Melvin

Contact at destination: Pr. Albert Najman, Chef de Service D’Hématologie

Year of visit: 1996

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hôpital Saint-Antoine, 184 rue du Faubourg Saint Antoine, Paris 75012

Department: Haematology

Work / Study undertaken: Observational study of cytomegalovirus infection in bone marrow transplant patients.

Description of the service and department

Description of the Destination: Huge student campus. Very pleasant surroundings and within central zone of transport network.

Were the local people friendly? Yes, I found the Parisians very friendly and hospitable.

Did you feel safe and if not why not ? Yes – most of the time.

What did you do in your spare time? visited museums, galleries, parks, shops etc. Met friends for coffee / meal.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? Musée D’Orsay, Saint Germain – en – Laye

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? March – April. Cold in March, unusually hot in April

What was your accommodation like?College Franco-Britannique, 19 Boulevard Jourdain, Paris 75013. Very basic with poor cooking facilities – very over-priced.

Was it provided? No

If not who arranged it? Self

How much did it cost? 110 ff. per night

Did you enjoy your visit? Thoroughly enjoyed it. Adored Paris.

Did you find the visit useful medically? – in what way? Found project extremely interesting

Has it improved your French?

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture?

If you went back would you do anything differently?I would have found accommodation in and apartment (lots listed in ‘France USA contacts’ a free American magazine found in shops, universities etc. Address 3 rue Larochelle 75014 Paris). I would have taken American Express traveller’s cheques. Most banks do not accept Visa traveller’s cheques. I was very glad that I’d attended the medical French course run by Liverpool University

How did you get there? British Airways – student fare.

What was the approximate total cost? £1500

Is there any other information that you think may be useful?

Report 11

Reporter: Asha Giora

Contact at destination: Dr Benoit Dalle Practitioner Hospitalier

Year of visit: 1995

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Pavilion Ferrus, Centre Hospitalier St Anne, Centre Henrie Roussselle, 1 Rue Cabanis, 75674, Paris CEDEX 14, France

Department: Psychiatry

Work / Study undertaken: Sitting in on small group, large group and family interviews with psychiatric patients (mainly psychotic)

Description of the service and department

Description of the destination: Quiet old street in middle of quite busy arrondissment

Were the local people friendly? Yes, very

Did you feel safe and if not why not? Yes

What did you do in your spare time? Saw lots of films, Cezanne exhibition, Nabucco at Opera Bastille, went out with friends

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? Opera Bastille

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? End of summer – some sunshine some rain

What was your accommodation like? Stayed with physiologist who works at Ferrus

Was it provided? Yes

If not who arranged it? Self

How much did it cost? Free

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes

Did you find the visit useful medically? – in what way?

Has it improved your French?

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture?

If you went back would you do anything differently? Book a cheaper opera ticket in advance!

How did you get there? Eurostar

What was the approximate total cost?

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? French medicine in general seems to be entering a difficult stage with jobs being lost in many sectors.

Report 12

Reporter: Zoë McElhinney

Contact at destination :Pr Didier Sicard, Chef de Service, Médicine Interne

Year of visit: 1999

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hôpital Cochin, 27 Rue du Fauburg Sainte Jaques, 75679 Paris CEDEX 14

Department: Internal medicine

Work / Study undertaken: Ward rounds twice a week shadowing an “externe” and following the progress of her patients. Practical procedures – ECG, blood gasses, sub cutaneous injections etc.

Description of the service and department: General medical ward

Description of the destination: The grounds of the Cité Universitaire are extensive and pleasant. It is in a fairly residential area opposite a park and RER station and about fifteen minutes walk to the nearest shops

Were the local people friendly? Some of them!

Did you feel safe and if not why not? Yes

What did you do in your spare time ? Galleries, museums, cafés, bars, restaurants, cinema and theatres.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do?

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? 11th September to 23 rd October. Mainly sunny and dry, quite cold towards the end of my stay

What was your accommodation like? Residence Robert Garric, Cité Universitaire, 21 Boulevard Jourdan, 75014 Paris. It was very good, excellent restaurant and lots of friendly students around.

Was it provided? No

If not who arranged it? I had to arrange it and this was quite difficult

How much did it cost? 3000ff a month

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes

Did you find it useful medically? If so, in what way? Yes

Has it improved your French?

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture?

If you went back would you do anything differently? I would not work in the same department as I felt they were not very keen to have selective students around.

How did you get there? Eurostar

What was the approximate total cost? About £1000

Is there any other information that you think may be useful?

Report 13

Reporter: Julia Thompson – Edinburgh

Contact at destination

Year of visit: 22.11.96 – 22.12.96.

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hopital se la Pitie – Salpetriere

Department: Infectious diseases parasitology tropical medicine and public health

Work / Study undertaken: One month as an ‘externe’ – (final year student) on the infectious diseases wards. Ward work in the mornings, meetings or clinics in the afternoons. Five day week 9am to 6.30pm.

Description of the service and department: Doctors and staff very friendly

Description of the destination: It doesn’t matter where you stay in Paris the metro is very efficient

Were the local people friendly? Like any big city really

Did you feel safe and if not why not? Yes even on the Metro at night in central Paris

What did you do in your spare time ? Comedie Francaise, Musee D’Orsay, Montmartre, eat crepes. Paris is expensive but there is no shortage of things to see

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? See the guidebook!

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? November to December – same as Britain, pretty chilly

What was your accommodation like? I stayed with a friend of a friend

Was it provided? No, there is no accommodation in the hospital

If not who arranged it? Self

How much did it cost? Youth Hostel 120ff per night. PG 170ff per night

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes

Did you find it useful medically? If so, in what way? Yes

Has it improved your French?

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture?

If you went back would you do anything differently? Take an ophthalmoscope – it’s not a basic ward instrument and fundoscopy is not part of the clinical examination – all that CMV retinitis and nothing to see it with

How did you get there? Plane. Stanstead – Charles de Gaulle £50

What was the approximate total cost? About £350 but apart from the first four nights in a youth hostel, I had no rent to pay

Is there any other information that you think may be useful?

Report 14

Reporter: Simon Conroy

Contact at destination: Pr. Menard

Year of visit: August 1994

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hôpital Brousais, 96 Rue Didot, 75674 Paris, 010 33 14 39 59 59 3

Department: Day hospital dealing with arterial hypertension almost exclusively.

Work / Study undertaken: Clerking, examination and discussion

Description of the service and department

Were the local people friendly? Yes – very much so.

Did you feel safe and if not why not? Yes

What did you do in your spare time ? Trips in and around Paris. Weekends away. Family evenings, friends.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? Paris

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? September. Indifferent – hot spells and storms.

What was your accommodation like? Private accommodation – with my girlfriend’s family!

Was it provided? no

If not who arranged it? Self

How much did it cost? 3500ff per month

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes

Did you find it useful medically? – in what way? Yes

Has it improved your French? Hard work

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture?

If you went back would you do anything differently? choose a more varied, less specialised service. Better French ability.

How did you get there? Air France. Car better if a lot of luggage.

What was the approximate total cost? £3000

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? Language is very important, should be prepared for a challenge. Be well organised, something can always go wrong! Get a good description of the service. Try to arrange accommodation locally, travel is tiring

Report 15

Reporter: Asher Giora

Contact at destination: Prof. Payen /Dr Clavier

Year of visit: August – September 1994

Country: France

Region: Paris

Institution: Hôpital Lariboisiére, 2 Rue Ambroise Paré, 75010 Paris CEDEX 14, France

Department: Réanimation, Post – operative and traumatologie

Work / Study undertaken: Intensive care – simpler procedures – ECG recording results etc

Description of the service and department

Description of destination: Fairly peaceful area of the 11th arrondissment. Some Chinese shops and restaurants. Not much locally in the way of cinemas but easily reachable via metro

Were the local people friendly? I didn’t see much of the other people in the building but the French medical students and doctors were all very nice and very kind to me- taking me out to dinner etc.

Did you feel safe and if not why not? yes

What did you do in your spare time ? Went out with French students and doctors. Went to the cinema (lots) and to the opera and theatre once each. Went to a couple of museums and the Pére Lachaise cemetery to se the monument to the Paris commune. Walked around Paris a lot as well.

Is there anything that you would particularly recommend others to do? Opera Bastille, Place se Bastille. Cheapest tickets which enable you to see everything ff130. Student tickets available just before performance.

What time of the year were you there? What was the climate like? August – hot beautiful September – rain.

What was your accommodation like? Medical student’s one room flat.

Was it provided? Exchange elective with French student including accommodation.

If not who arranged it? Self

How much did it cost?

Did you enjoy your visit? Yes and yes – it was wonderful

Did you find it useful medically? – in what way?

Has it improved your French?

How has it increased your knowledge of French culture?

If you went back would you do anything differently? Take more money if I could find some!! (Paris is genuinely expensive.)

How did you get there? British Airways – student flight £72 return, maximum age 32 (need ISIC card as well -£5)

What was the approximate total cost? £1500 – but I went out a lot and bought several books. Can be done more cheaply if necessary

Is there any other information that you think may be useful? The main obstacle is language. Possible to work in intensive care if you don’t speak brilliant French as most of the doctors speak excellent English, but better if you do speak good French. Passive smoking is a MAJOR health hazard in French hospitals. Most French health professionals smoke like chimneys.