Saturday, November 8, 2008

Are you physically prepared to take this class?

This class requires moving about the city of Paris. For a healthy adult of any age, this trip will be quite manageable. However, France is not handicapped accessible because Europe does not have the same laws regarding accessibility as the United States. Consequently, anyone with substantial mobility limitations will have to refrain from certain activities. A lot of walking is required to get around Paris. Most places in Paris have no elevator or escalator--even buildings that are many stories tall and subway stations that are several stories below ground. It will also be necessary to stand for extended periods of time and climb many stairs. We will attempt to find a place to sit whenever we can, but the city of Paris will not alter itself to accommodate us. If you are concerned about your physical condition, and are not certain about your ability to stand, walk, and climb stairs for three continuous hours without sitting, please consult your family physician as to whether this class is suitable for you.
Here are questions to consider with your doctor:
1. Can you walk 5 miles a day (for ten days) without injury?
2. Can you stand for several hours without requiring a rest?
3. Can you carry all your luggage up three flights of stairs by yourself? (Pack accordingly!)
4. Can you walk a half mile in 15 minutes without discomfort? Can you keep that pace for at least 45 minutes?

For students who are not physically disabled, I recommend preparing for Paris by building your walking stamina to five miles a day. Do this gradually in the weeks before we go.

Everyone must consider the following possibilities:
I will make sure disabled students have an alternate activity for the day if they are unable to get to a particular destination, but there will be no way for students with substantial mobility problems to descend into the catacombs or climb to the top of Notre Dame. This is just a fact of traveling in Europe. Please remember that it is more important to protect yourself from injury than to participate in an activity. With several students in our group, the professor's principal responsibility is to ensure the planned activities of the entire class. I will do everything humanly possible to give each student the full experience of Paris but it will always be my first priority to prevent injuries.
2. If you wish to take a taxi at any point in order to reach a destination, it will be at your own expense. Please be sure to bring extra money for this if you know you amy experience difficulty walking for extended periods of time. If you cannot keep a regular walking pace, you will be limited to participating in stationary activities (which I will provide). Just realize that if you have serious mobility limitations, there will simply be places you cannot go and things you cannot see.
3. No one will be available to lift or otherwise physically assist you at any time. Wheelchairs and porters are not provided by our hotel, the city of Paris, or NSU. If you require any type of assistance, you must bring a capable travel companion who can help you participate in the tour as described above.
4. If you are unable to stand for 3 hours without sitting down, you will need to bring a portable seat of some kind with you because our time in museums will not always be spent in rooms with available seating.

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