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1 Dear Internatinal student, Welcme t the University f the French West Indies and Guiana ( U.A.G.)! As yu may already knw, UAG, ne f the 102 French universities, is nt lcated n the Eurpean cntinent but 7000 kilmetres away frm France. Hwever, UAG is particularly privileged as far as the riginal gegraphical cntext in which it evlves is cncerned: it has 6 campuses n three different territries, namely Guadelupe, French Guiana and Martinique which are knwn as DFA's (Départements Français d'amérique) r DOM's ( Départements Français d'outre-mer). UAG is at the crssrads f the Suth American cntinent and the Eastern Archipelag f the Lesser Antilles. Yu may have t travel by plane r by bat frm ne campus t the ther. It takes three hurs by plane t travel frm French Guiana t Martinique, and fur hurs by bat frm Martinique t Guadelupe (althugh nly frty-five minutes by plane!). As yu arrive n ne f UAG's five campuses yu will prbably be charmed by the temperature and the vegetatin arund but, withut a gd preparatin ahead, yu might very sn be disappinted because life n the islands r n the Suth American cntinent is very different frm what yu have been used t s far. Mst f the fllwing infrmatin has been written by Dr Ben Fisher fr the students frm his university, the University f Bangr in Wales. Dr Ben Fisher has becme a specialist in students' advising and it wrks! I have adapted his t dcument and added a few mre details fr yu. S, please, read this infrmatin very carefully and yur stay at UAG will be an unfrgettable ne. Maryvnne Charlery, Prgramme Crdinatr

2 Intrductin Testimny frm students ver many years suggests that a lt f what yu need t knw is in here. Inevitably there are things that aren't cvered, and cnditins change. Cmments frm yur wn experiences are welcme at any time. The year abrad is a big step, and it's perfectly nrmal t feel a little apprehensive abut it. It's als entirely nrmal t feel hmesick, r even a little tearful, when yu first arrive, and the first few days r weeks are bund t be the hardest f the year. Hwever, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER, TURN ROUND AND RETURN TO yur university. Yu can make it - thusands f language students have dne it befre yu, and Bangr students have an excellent recrd f making a g f the year abrad. Much f this infrmatin is t d with the dreaded French administratin. S, tw basic principles abut paperwrk: Keep phtcpies f everything. Make mre as yu need them. Never, ever surrender riginal dcuments if yu can pssibly avid it. Certainly yu shuld nly ever surrender the riginals f birth certificate r passprt if required t by the plice (and nbdy else). This is extremely unlikely t happen. When yu have t deal with awkward r bstructive fficials, dn't take it persnally. Befre cming When will I hear abut UAG? Thse f yu cming n an ERASMUS prgramme r frm a partner university are knwn f, since yu a frmulaire de pré-inscriptin is sent t yu, as sn as yur university sends the list f their students t the Bureau des Relatins Internatinales.. Anyne wh's applied t UAG and hasn't had a respnse by July shuld cntact the Bureau des Relatins Internatinales t intrduce yurself. As yu aren't ging under an exchange prgramme, we may well be unaware that yu exist. The same infrmatin applies mst f the time t the university "lecteurs" (language assistants). The fficial ntificatin f yur appintment is a dcument called the arrêté de nminatin. It is imprtant t keep it carefully and make cpies t. Yu will get all the necessary infrmatin frm the "Service du persnnel" at the university. Yu will als need t make cntact independently with the lcal CROUS (explained later) t have sme infrmatin abut yur accmmdatin (www.crus-antillesguyane.fr/)

3 What needs t be dne ver the summer? Apart frm building up yur finances, there are a number f items f paperwrk yu will need t srt ut. Reasns are explained in mre detail later n. BIRTH CERTIFICATE Yu will ALL need a certified translatin f this, plus the riginal. It MUST be the «lng» versin f the certificate, which shws the names f yur parents. If yu nly have the «shrt» versin yu will have t apply t the Registrar f Births, Marriages and Deaths where yur birth was registered, t get the «lng» versin, as the French authrities simply d nt recgnise the «shrt» versin as prf f yur existence. If yu present yurself in France withut a certified translatin yu will almst certainly be sent t get ne dne by an apprved lcal translatr. This is expensive. PROOF OF INSURANCE Applies t everybdy. Schl certificates Yu will need certified translatins as well as the riginals f the dcuments shwing the mdules yu have taken at yur university, and yur level f attainment in a frm ur university shuld understand. FINANCES Yu shuld read the sectin «Prf yu have enugh mney t live n» under the ntes belw abut the carte de séjur. STUDENT STATUS Everyne will als get a bilingual dcument cnfirming that yu have student status fr the year abrad FORM E128 / E11 Eurpean students need t travel with a E 128 r E 111 Frm - see belw under Health & Insurance.

4 Passprt Pièces d'identité : Passprt & Carte de séjur "The carte de séjur is a bit like the Hly Grail; it's smething that must be btained, but cannt be btained." (qute frm a Bangr student) The card (nt required fr Eurpean students) is btained frm the lcal Préfecture (in the twn which is the chef-lieu f the département, it may als be pssible (this varies) t get the card thrugh a Sus- Préfecture. Yu must infrm the Bureau des Relatins Internatinales n yur campus f yur arrival. The fficials at the Préfecture r the Sus-Préfecture will be cntacted and will give yu an appintment as sn as they can. A list f all the dcuments yu need will be given t yu by the Bureau des Relatins Internatinales. Dn't expect t get the carte de séjur immediately. After yu have prvided all the dcuments required, yu will be issued with a dcument called (usually) a récépissé, i.e. a receipt and acknwledgement f yur applicatin, which yu shuld carry with yur passprt. When yur card is ready yu will receive written ntificatin (s advise them if yu change address), and yu will have t call back t cllect it in persn. This prcess takes anything frm a cuple f weeks t (likelier) sme mnths. DOCUMENTATION: The fllwing list f items needed shuld cver mst: Birth Certificate The authrities will wish t see the riginal certificate (lng versin, including the names f yur parents) and the translatin. Phtcpies alne will nt d, althugh it is a gd idea t have spare phtcpies with yu in additin. Just ccasinally sme fficius type may insist n yur having the translatin verified in France (at a charge), but this is unusual. Prf f why yu are entitled t a residence permit fr "lecteurs", yur fficial ntificatin f appintment. Fr students, yur French university student card Passprt Take phtcpies f the sectin shwing yur details, and the first few pages as well, plus any pages which have been stamped when crssing brders. It must be a Full passprt. Prf yu have enugh mney t live n

5 Fr assistants, the letter f nminatin will d here as well. Fr students a variety f slutins are pssible: if yu have a grant/lan, and that is yur nly surce f incme, have a phtcpy f the dcuments ntifying yu f the sums. If yur parents are financing yu, yu will pssibly need a letter frm the French bank, saying that remittances are arriving. Alternatively, if yur parent writes gd French, he r she can simply write the letter in French. If yu have a small grant, tpped up by parents, have the evidence f bth surces. If yu are independent, with an incme f yur wn, a letter frm yur bank may be sufficient. UAG has a set figure fr what we cnsider t be enugh mney t live n. Life being quite expensive in ur regins, yur will need apprximately 650 EUROS per mnth t live decently (accmmdatin, fd, persnal expenses). Prf f yur French address, smetimes knwn as a certificat de dmicile r attestatin de lgement. This shuld be furnished by yur landlrd, r hstel authrities. Prf that yu are insured. Phtgraphs: It's wise t have a fair quantity f passprt-size phtgraphs with yu when yu arrive, as they can be useful fr all srts f cards. Mney Mney The start f yur time abrad is likely t be the mst expensive perid f yur university career. Take a fair amunt f mney with yu, thugh, as invitatins are likeliest t appear during yur early weeks, and yu dn't want t give the impressin yu are unfriendly, by refusing due t lack f mney. Yu may need sme funds t fr dds and ends fr yur rm. Yu shuld certainly estimate several hundred eurs. Many credit and debit cards are valid in France (Visa internatinal, Mastercard American Express etc.- scarcely at all in the srts f places yu're likeliest t be spending) - but sme shp staff may take sme persuading. This is because f the prevalence f smart cards (cartes à puce) in France; these are validated by entering a PIN number (cde secret) at the pint f sale. If yu d nt pen a French bank accunt, be prepared t explain, very regularly, alng the lines f "c'est une carte Visa, à piste magnétique, qui est tut à fait valable". It is cmmn fr shps t accept nly cash fr sales up t 10 eurs, cheques frm 10 eurs upwards, and cards frm 15 eurs upwards. S the ld student ddge f using a credit card t buy a bag f crisps wn't wrk.

6 BANKS "Lecteurs" must pen a bank accunt very prmptly n arrival, as salaries are paid in directly. Students, particularly thse staying fr the whle year, are strngly advised t pen an accunt, if nly fr an easier life. Hwever sme have managed a single semester using cards, travellers' cheques and Eur cheques drawn n their accunt; t d this with cnfidence that everything will keep wrking, yu need t be sure that yu are in clse tuch with the state f yur accunt, and that its balance is adequate fr rutine and emergency purchases. There is n set advice n which French banks are better than thers, as they can vary frm branch t branch. Hwever, ask yur lcal bank (if yu're n speaking terms with them!) if they have any specific links which might enable them t help yu have an accunt set up befre yu arrive (bviusly wait until yu knw exactly where yu're ging. If yu decide n travellers' cheques rather than a bank accunt yu will have prblems, unless yu return hme fr the hlidays t cllect the next lt! CHANGING MONEY Travellers' cheques can lse yu a lt f mney if yu exchange them at a bank which charges high cmmissin. Sme charge a fixed lump sum in additin t a percentage - avid them like the plague! Sme charge a percentage. Sme charge nthing. Shp arund. This means time, s have enugh eurs when yu arrive t keep yu ging. Make sure yu have a few lw value ntes t pay fr cffees, left luggage etc. PUT IT ON THE PLASTIC Credit cards are an inventin f the devil and at the same time yur guardian angel! Yu dn't want t run up debts n high interest, but a credit card is ideal if yu want an air fare hme in a hurry. If yu can get the srt with n annual charge (charity affinity cards ften wrk this way) they can slve the srt f prblem fr which therwise yu might have t cntact hme fr mney. CLOSING ACCOUNTS When yu return hme, yu will in all prbability be clsing yur French bank accunt. Discuss befre leaving the best way t transfer any balance back t yur cuntry (e.g. yur last mnth's salary). It may be easier t withdraw it n the spt. D make sure that instructins t clse yur French accunt have been carried ut, as smetimes banks neglect t d this, and then charge fr keeping the accunt pen! {mspagebreak title=health and Insurance}Health and Insurance FORM E128/E 111 & INSURANCE Mst f yu will nt need medical assistance - but previus students, including thse wh needed n treatment, agree that the peace f mind affrded by insurance is wrth it. Yu may well be familiar with frm E111, which cvers essential hspital treatment in EU and sme ther cuntries, and entitles yu t medical treatment n the same fting as the French wh pay a part f the cst. Having an pen-ended ne f these is a gd idea

7 anyway, but fr the year abrad (r semester) yu need frm E128, which is fr lnger perids abrad. On n accunt set ff withut this. It isn't an insurance plicy; it just establishes yur basic entitlements. Withut it yu are liable t the full cst f treatment; the sum arising frm (say) chance invlvement in a rad accident culd be enugh t bankrupt nt nly yurself, but yur family t. Yur E128 des nt cver ther frms f liability, including the cst f returning yu t yur cuntry fr treatment here. Hence yu need separate insurance (r a French student Mutuelle) - preferably smething cmprehensive which cvers just abut all eventualities and lss f luggage, mney, etc, and yu are als very likely t be asked t shw yu have insurance cver as a tenant when finding accmmdatin. When yu have yur plicy, phtcpy it. Give the phtcpy t the parent r friend wh lks after yur affairs at hme. Yu dn't want yur nly cpy lst r unreadably damaged! If yu have the srt f passprt with a space at the back fr the names f persns t be cntacted in case f accident, leave a cpy f the plicy with bth f the persns whm yu name. SÉCURITÉ SOCIALE ÉTUDIANTE It is cmpulsry fr all freign students residing in France fr mre than three mnths, but it is nt fr Eurpean students wh have their E128 r E111 r can prve that their insurance has been paid fr in their cuntry. N.B: "lecteurs" will have t pay fr French scial security, which is withdrawn frm their salary. MOTOR INSURANCE If yu are taking a car, discuss the insurance aspect with the representative f a cmpetent mtring rganizatin, unless a member f yur family is an expert. Yu may als find that a recvery package that cvers yu with a French r internatinal mtring rganizatin as well as ne in the UK is wrth it fr peace f mind. The AA and RAC (etc) sell such packages; getting yurself included under yur parents' cver is ften a gd deal. DOCTORS AND PHARMACIES When yu visit a dctr yu have t pay. Much f the cst can be reclaimed. The same with prescribed medicines, frm which yu shuld always keep the printed label n the packet. This means it is wise t have enugh mney at hand always t be able t pay the dctr. If the prblem is nt t serius, ask the nearest pharmacien. They have extensive training and can ften save yu a dctr's visit, althugh yu'll then pay in full fr any ver-thecunter remedy they prescribe. Any pharmacien will prvide a drink f water if yu want t take painkillers n the spt when yu buy them. Here we have pills and capsules. The French als have cachets - pwders in rice-paper r similar. Only accept these if yu knw yu will have water available, r they will stick n the way dwn! The French als have a passin fr administering suppsitries as remedies. This can be cmplicated if yu are travelling, withut gd washing facilities. Check befre accepting! If yu are regularly taking medicatin here, yur dctr will prescribe a mderate supply befre yu leave, but nt fr mnths n end. Get a cpy f the prescriptin frm him/her t shw the French dctr. If yu have a favurite ver-the-cunter remedy here, take the

8 packet with yu and shw the ingredients t the French pharmacien, wh will identify a similar prduct. Fd If yu are a vegetarian, yu are likely t find less understanding in France than in yur cuntry, and catering fr yurself may be the nly slutin. Hwever ingredients are listed n supermarket fds, s yu shuld be able t enjy varied fd, even if cking facilities are skimpy. Markets generally ffer fresh fd f very gd quality and value, and are an experience in themselves (unless yu dn't like the sight r smell f meat). In general, yu are likely t find that eating well in restaurants may be cheaper than yu think - lk ut fr fixed-price menus - as well as being an imprtant part f scial life. Dn't be afraid t experiment, r even t discver lcal restaurants... EMERGENCIES If yu need medical aid, the emergency numbers are n every public phne: fr the SAMU (ambulance service) 15; plice 17; fire service 18. It is better t make an emergency call if a cmpanin seems seriusly ill r injured, as private ambulances d nt have a medical attendant - they are mre like taxis in which ne can lie dwn. If the lcal pharmacie is clsed, it will display a list f pharmacies de garde. If yu can't lcate a dentist in a hurry, the lcal cmmissariat de plice will be able t g at the end ive yu an address. PERIODS OF ILLNESS Shuld yu return hme n medical grunds yur University as UAG will need t be infrmed. Get frm the dctr the precise dates fr the perid when yu are unfit fr study r wrk; "lecteurs" may have truble with their pay if this is nt dne. Safety Students at university shuld ensure that they knw the fire exits frm all lecture rms and any safety requirements f the UAG. It is in yur interest t avid making yurself nticeable as freigners, by using guide bks in French rather than English, studying maps befre yu g ut rather than in the street, and using French when talking t ther British visitrs in public places, r, if yu must use English, speaking quietly Check with the lcal Syndicat d'initiative/office de Turisme n areas best avided at night, and get yur bearings in yur new twn befre sampling any night life. Other French students f yur wn sex shuld be in a psitin t advise. It is quite cmmn fr night clubs t be at ut-f-twn - indeed rural - lcatins, s be sure yu have safe and reliable transprt; dn't be afraid t use taxis, they're ecnmical fr a small grup sharing the cst. Shuld plitical/scial demnstratins ccur in yur area, please remember that yu are freigners, and thus have n inherent right t participate, even if yu sympathize. It has been knwn fr freigners t be deprted fr taking an active part in such demnstratins; it has als been knwn fr students wh have fund themselves caught up in unrest t find it a mre traumatic experience than they expected; what starts ff as a peaceful, gd-natured manif can turn nasty in a matter f secnds, and restraint is an alien cncept t the French rit plice (CRS). Abve all, be nrmally sensible, just as ne culd expect yu t be in yur cuntry. Every nw and again ne meets

9 students abrad wh seem t have frgtten the everyday cmmnsense care f self and prperty which is expected at hme. Travelling alne at night is nt recmmended. Wmen are likely t encunter mre unwanted appraches frm men than they are used t. Yu might encunter aggressive begging. It will vary in character frm the traditinal beggar in the church prch t the apparently disabled individual wh will distribute badges (pin's) in a café and invite yu t buy them. A straightfrward stny-faced nn will almst always stp yu being bthered; d nt engage in cnversatin. In Martinique and Guadelupe, yu run a risk f being rbbed in sme islated places r n sme beaches. Students have smetimes fund that they can defuse a situatin by speaking French r even Créle if they've picked it up. But d nt put yurself at risk, d nt «have a g»; belngings can be replaced, yu cannt. Travel LUGGAGE Yu will have plenty f luggage. Never leave it unattended, as apart frm the authrities being tempted t treat it as a dangerus package and blw it up (!), theft is fairly cmmn. Put a name label n yur luggage and anther ne inside it s that in any claim that it is yurs yu have a starting pint t prve yur wnership. Theft is less likely if the luggage lks distinctive, and always make sure it is lcked; if nt fitted with lcks, use padlcks. Keep mney and passprt, credit cards, travel dcuments and the like inside yur uter layer f clthing, and dn't put valuables in the back zip pcket f a rucksack. Sme have fund it useful t stitch an extra pcket inside jackets r anraks s that pickpckets wuld nt have an bvius target. Mney belts can be uncmfrtable, but are wrthwhile. BUSES Twn bus systems vary, but mst have an abnnement r seasn ticket, smetimes with student rates. Tickets are ften cheaper if bught in a carnet (set f ten), smetimes frm an ffice, smetimes frm a lcal newsagent. Sme are bliterated by the driver, but mst yu have t push int a machine inside the bus. Sme are valid fr ne jurney, sme fr any jurneys except a return, within an hur. Be sure t enquire at the lcal gare rutière, at the same time enquiring whether they have a bus map and a timetable. Buses DO NOT RUN in the evenings nr n hlidays and weekends. Think abut transprt availability befre renting accmmdatin. CARS

10 If yu plan t rent a car yu shuld check with the AA, RAC (etc), r get the brchure 'Mtring in France' frm a French Turist Office. Whatever yu d, yu must be familiar with the French Highway Cde. Remember that speed limits vary accrding t cnditins and are lwer than the advertised speeds in pr weather. Always lck the car when yu leave it, as a freign registratin makes thieves expect turist luggage, cameras, etc. and yu may wish t cnsider having an alarm fitted. Yu will have t have the lights and mirrrs adjusted. Sme students buy a French car during their stay. D think, thugh, abut hw yu will sell it when yu leave. Again yu must be sure yu understand the French cde. One f the biggest prblems fr GB drivers is pririté à drite, which gives cars cming frm yur right pririty ver yu unless a sign indicates t the cntrary. Watch ut at rundabuts t, where GB instincts smetimes take ver. TRAVELLING OUT BY AIR The nly ways t reach Guadelupe, French Guiana r Martinique, is by plane r bat. Mst planes arrive late in the afternn r in the evening. S, dn't expect anyne frm the university t meet yu at the airprt. It is very easy t hire a taxi frm the airprt and indicate yur address t the driver. It will cst yu abut thirty eurs frm the airprts in Guadelupe r Martinique t their main campuses.taxis is safe n the islands and taxi drivers generally are very helpful. HITCHING One rule: DON'T! It's nt just that yu dn't knw the drivers, but yu dn't knw hw they drive either, r hw much they may have been drinking (dn't get int any car with a driver wh has been drinking, even if yu knw him/her. If yu still insist n hitching, dn't get stuck in the back f a tw-dr car, dn't let the driver drive ff with yur luggage, leaving yu standing in the rad, make sure yur insurance is up t date, and dn't d it alne. Men, please remember that it is nt just girls wh have t be careful abut hitching. Alternatives are shared expense trips. On the islands yu may find that hitching is mre cmmn practice because f pr public transprt, and at times may be the nly alternative; be cautius abut yur safety nevertheless, and cnsider whether rganizing yur jurney using a cmmunal taxi may be better. Accmmdatin Dn't expect t find a rm at the CROUS fr the duratin f yur stay, the number f rms being very limited and the pririty being given t thse bursiers students cming frm the neighbring islands. It wuld save misunderstandings if yu culd explain this t yur parents/byfriend/girlfriend, s that they knw that it is legally impssible fr us t find rms fr yu. Hwever, internatinal students can be accmmdated at the CROUS fr a few days in September, befre the arrival f the lcal students. They charge abut fifteen eurs per night. The Bureau des Relatins Internatinales are ding their best t find student rms near the campuses r family accmmdatin fr yu. A list f the rms available will be sent t yu s that yu can chse the right place.

11 Advice is difficult here as yu all have different habits and pririties - distance frm twn matters mre t sme than thers, as d independence, cking facilities, etc. Mst rms are fullyequipped If yu take a fully-equipped flat, inquire if there is an inventry (état des lieux) - if there is, check the cntents f the flat against it befre yu mve in r yu may be held respnsible fr missing bjects. This checking can be educatinal - yu can learn a lt f culinary vcabulary! If yu have a cntract (bail), always be hnest abut hw lng yu are staying, even if it is less than a year. In fact, always be hnest abut everything - ignrance f the law is n excuse in France - "Persnne n'est censé ignrer la li" - and at all times yu shuld avid getting n the wrng side f it. Lngterm renting f a flat may invlve ther respnsibilities, and yu need t be clear if these are yurs r yur landlrd's. Yu may have t cntribute t the cprpriétaires' fund t pay the lady wh cleaned the stairs. Lighting n stairways is ften n the minuterie system - i.e. it ges ut after a fixed interval. Unless yu like dashing upstairs t beat the lights, a small trch can be a useful alternative t heart failure! What is inside includes sme things requiring inspectin. The lck. Des it wrk? Obviusly a rm withut an adequate lck invites pssibly unwanted callers. Always leave the key immediately accessible especially at night, in case f fire, s yu dn't have t hunt fr it. Electrical fittings. Yur appliances wn't wrk withut an internatinal adapter, since France uses different 2- and 3-pin plugs. But check by sight whether wires are prperly insulated. If nt, yu have the right t have them dealt with. Never tackle electrical repair jbs yurself in smene else's rm r flat, hwever handy yu are at hme. Sme French wiring is eccentric, and yu can't be sure the current is safely ff. Naturally yu can change the fuses f yur wn appliances when they are discnnected frm the mains, but check the rating f the fuse t match the riginal. (Fuse = un fusible, but t cmplain that a fuse has blwn = les plmbs nt sauté). Always have a trch (and spare batteries) handy in yur rm/flat, fr ptential electricity strikes as well as failures. Never run t many appliances ff ne adapter. The capacity is marked n the adapter and the lad n the appliance. Make a pint f checking. Gas appliances. If yu feel at all grggy in a rm with a gas r il appliance, switch ff and pen all pssible windws and then g fr a walk in the fresh air while things clear. Sty stains n r just abve appliances may indicate carbn mnxide risk. If the flames are range r yellw instead f blue (unless yu have just spilled water n the gas ring), switch ff at nce and get the windw pen fast. Never mve furniture s that it blcks vents. While gas and electricity shuld be left alne, a small set f screwdrivers and a pair f pliers (r sme frm f pcket multi-tl) fr less lethal jbs can be valuable, and they can make yu very ppular with thers wh've mitted t btain them. If the wash basin r sink utlet blcks, ask the prpriétaire fr a débuchir. Anything mre serius shuld be referred t him/her at nce as the prpriétaire is respnsible fr damage dne by leaks etc. t the flat belw and delay n yur part might make yu liable.

12 TAXE D'HABITATION If yu live independently in the DFA's fr lng enugh (e.g. in an HLM) yu will als encunter a tax (taxe d'habitatin) fr living there. If they catch up with yu - pay it. Yu are liable. If they dn't - yu are lucky. But dn't ignre the demand if it arrives. If yu dn't pay, the bill will reappear demanding an increased sum (majratin). Yu may als eventually get a card asking yu t visit the lcal Cmmissariat de Plice at a specific time. Dn't panic - but dn't leave it until after the date mentined. It is nly a rutine check n freigners. They may check whether yu are still at the same address and hw yu get yur incme. ASSISTANCE WITH RENT If yu pay mre than a quarter f yur incme in rent yu may be eligible fr reimbursement f part f the cst frm the lcal authrities. This can nly be dne, hwever, if yu have kept all receipts (quittances) and if yu have either yur carte de séjur r prf that yu have applied fr ne. Yu als need prf frm yur prpriétaire f the sum per mnth yu are paying, s be sure that yur landlrd isn't tax ddging ver yur rent. Get the prf at the beginning f yur stay, befre everything is signed and settled. Just explain that yu will be applying fr Assistance Persnnelle Lgement (APL). T apply yu will als need yur carte de séjur, s yu can't hpe t actually get a rebate paid until yu have this; the récépissé may be enugh, but dn't bet n it, as it states that yu have applied, nt that yu have definitely gt the carte de séjur successfully. There are tw frms f benefit, APL (allcatin Persnalisée au Lgement) and ALS (Allcatin de Lgement à Caractère Scial). Apply fr the latter, as it is less cmplicated, at the lcal Caisse d'allcatins Familiales (CAF). As well as yur carte de séjur and yur receipts (quittances) yu shuld take yur student card if yu are a student. Yu may nt get a rebate n the first mnth, and yu can nly be paid after the end f the mnth t which the rebate relates, s budget fr full payments and enjy the rebate if and when it cmes. Als, payments are likely t take sme time - perhaps tw mnths - t arrive. It is als quite cmmn fr payment t be withheld until yu finally get yur carte de séjur, s whether r nt yu ever get any APL can depend n the efficiency f yur Préfecture. PAY YOUR RENT! Avid leaving any debts behind yu when yu leave. The ntin f «ding a runner» is in n way a guarantee that yu wn't be subject t legal actin. Als, leaving a bad impressin behind yu can have serius negative effects fr internal students in later years. Leaving yur accmmdatin in a clean and tidy state can als be mre f a help t yur successrs than yu might imagine, as well as being an act f general curtesy.

13 HOLIDAYS Tp Since the pint f the year abrad (r semester ) is immersin in the language(s) yu are studying, it is bviusly undesirable t return t yur cuntry frequently. Naturally yu can expect t return hme fr Christmas. Yu may als if yu wish t cme hme fr either the carnival (February) hliday r the Easter hliday. In any case, yu must infrm the Bureau des Relatins Internatinales abut the length f time yu will be away. At the end f their stay, students at UAG shuld btain a certificat d'assiduité/de présence and a relevé de ntes frm the staff wh taught their curses, and send it t their university when they leave. We hpe yu will take every pprtunity t enjy the regin. The Michelin Green Guide t the area will give yu lts f ideas, as will a visit t the turist ffice. It is preferable t buy a French editin f yur Michelin guide as yu will be less cnspicuus using it, quite apart frm the benefit t yur French. The best maps fr yur purpse, since they shw mre places t visit are nt Michelin nes but the IGN (Institut Gégraphique Natinal) maps, available in many French bkshps. The Série Verte will prbably suit yur purpse. Remember that museums and the like tend t be shut n Mndays r Tuesdays, depending n wh runs them. Free time and meeting the lcal peple UAG desn't have a students' unin as yu knw it, althugh it has excellent sprts facilities. S if yu are keen n sprt yu shuld find it catered fr. Mst twns have clubs f sme srt which are mre active at weekends when peple have leisure. If yu have any religius affiliatin, ask yur minister/priest/rabbi at hme where t write t in rder t find ut abut similar churches in yur area. Hwever be cautius if apprached by apparently religius grups yu are unfamiliar with. It is nt unknwn fr dubius sects and ther pseud-religius grups t prey upn freigners they perceive as vulnerable. If yu dn't feel cmfrtable, make yur excuses and leave. Dn't hesitate t sample new activities if it means sharing them with smene. Yu're never t ld t try ut a new hbby, but it may als enable yu t meet thers wh happen t share yur existing interests as well. Sme students have made cntacts thrugh the lcal Chambre de Cmmerce r via reginal clubs cncentrating n lcal music, flklre, histry, traditins. Get thers t explre with yu if yu can, but if nt, explre anyway. If yu eat student restaurant meals this is a chance t get talking t peple. Yu need t make the apprach - n ne will realize yu want t talk unless yu d! Naturally yu wn't be with peple all the time - being alne desn't necessarily mean being lnely - but if yu are, make the effrt t get ut, even if nly fr a brief walk. It is a very gd tactic t arrange that yu always have smething t lk frward t It is nt unusual t earn a little argent de pche by ffering private English lessns n a ne-t-ne basis. Hwever, everyne (wmen especially) shuld be highly cautius abut advertising, and the general advice is nt t d it, let pssible pupils apprach yu instead.

14 It's ften quite cmmn frm lcal families t invite smene int their hme. If yu are invited fr a meal in smene's hme, a small gift r cntributin t the feast will be very much appreciated as an act f curtesy and friendship. Keeping in tuch with yur University ADDRESSES The pack f dcumentatin yu will receive frm yur university during the summer will include an address frm, t be returned t yur university as sn as yu can. If yu have a change f address r ther cntact details while abrad, it is imprtant that yu let the Bureau des Relatins Internatinales knw prmptly abut it and als infrm yur university. Cmputing facilities are much sparser at UAG than they are at yur university, but this is imprving slwly. UAG is nline, and there are als pssibilities fr access in cybercafés and in the campus libraries. If yu d nt have a persnal accunt n the campus, there are numerus WWW services which ffer free accunts (as lng as yu dn't mind a screen dtted with adverts), and a number f students abrad have fund this a cnvenient ptin - Htmail (http://www.htmail.cm) is ne example, and there are plenty f thers arund t. Anyne taking ut a cmputer with a mdem will find that the DFA's (French) phne plugs and sckets are different frm yurs; yu can expect t need t buy an adapter r mre likely a different lead nce in France. Lecteurs CORRESPONDENCE AND ARRIVAL Yu will have written t ask when and where t present yurself n arrival. Usually, yur initial crrespndence will be with the Directeur de département and it must be in very plite, frmal and crrect French style; see sectin 12 f Le français en faculté, r the guide t frmal crrespndence in yur dictinary. Yur first letter shuld include an enquiry abut accmmdatin, s yu shuld have been given a clear idea f what t expect befre yu arrive. Dn't wrry if crrespndence frm the UAG is slw cming back, as the university clses dwn fr August. Try t arrive lking neat, in case yu are ffered hspitality. In any case, first impressins matter. TIMETABLE

15 Hw sn yu get this varies, depending n hw many teachers are invlved, and hw many students yu are wrking with. Be aware that yu may have t wrk n Saturday mrnings. Yu are suppsed t wrk up t 14 hurs per week in any cmbinatin. It is nt unusual fr the timetable t at the end f the semester, and yur grups may als change at the same time. WORK In thery, yu shuld have ne teacher t act as yur main liaisn (respnsable). The wrk yu are expected t d with students shuld be mainly ral in character and yu will spend mst f yur time in the language lab. If yu are unable t take yur classes wing t illness, cntact the secrétaire de département as early as pssible n the day, and certainly well befre yur first timetabled class. Nthing makes a wrse impressin than unexplained absences. YOUR COLLEAGUES It helps t be aware that the teachers yu deal with will nt all be f the same prfessinal status, thugh yu can expect t find that all will be dedicated and hard wrking. Teachers wh have the higher qualificatin are paid mre, and d less classrm wrk; there is smetimes a certain deference twards these mre senir staff. Hwever with all yur clleagues, yu shuld be aware f the French cnventins regarding greetings, particularly in the wrkplace. Yu will quickly pick up what is nrmal abut things like handshakes, kisses n the cheek and their number. With yur clleagues, start ff with vus when yu first meet them; with many, they and yu will quickly switch t tu, thers wn't. YOUR STUDENTS The relatinship with students needs a little care : the "us/them" divide can be tricky t establish; the ideal is a friendly relatinship where it remains clear that yu are a teacher and shuld be respected as such, s it can be best t err n the side f frmality. If yu find that yu see any f yur students scially, it is vital that yu avid any situatin that culd cmprmise student/teacher relatins (yurs r thse f yur clleagues); intimacy is t be avided at all csts. STRIKES Yu may find that during yur time, ne r mre trade unins will take sme frm f actin, typically a ne-day arrêt de travail. Shuld this happen, ur advice is that the lecteurs shuld nt take part, and even if n classes are happening, make it clear t the schl that yu are available fr wrk (e.g. make sure a senir member f staff r a secretary sees yu cme in at the usual time).

16 University / Scrates REGISTRATION Exchange students will find that sme crdinatrs ease the prcess fr them; thers will have t g thrugh the full prcess, which may be divided between inscriptin administrative and inscriptin pédaggique. The Bureau des Relatins Internatinales will d their best in rder t facilitate yur registratin prcedures. They will have yur dssier d' inscriptin ready fr yur befre yur arrival and a student (tuteur) will help yu in filling in the different frms. Yu will need the riginals and translatins f the university's recrds, and evidence f yur insurance (see ntes abve under C. Health & Insurance, including warnings abut securité sciale étudiante). Students utside the Erasmus r exchange prgrammes will need t pay Fees, at least in the first instance, and recently this has been in the regin f 150 eurs. UAG desn't take cash. They expect yu t pay by mandat-cmpte, btainable frm the Pst Office, r by credit card. COURSES Internatinal students have a fairly brad chice f curses t be chsen in cnsultatin with the crdinatr r ther members f Relatins Internatinales staff. Yu have t take 30 credits per semestre and the number f curses varies accrding t the credits alltted t each curse. All internatinal students have t take the curse entitled "perfectinnement linguistique", ffered by ISEF (language centre n each campus) and are allwed t take curses in different departments. All students must arrive with their learning agreement. PROOF OF ATTENDANCE At the very beginning f yur curse, ask hw yu can btain a certificate prving yu have fllwed the curses, befre yu leave. It is called " une attestatin d'assiduité ". Yu shuld send it t yur university t shw that yu have satisfied the semester r year abrad requirement. If yu have t take exams, let the staff at the Bureau des Relatins Internatinales knw abut it when yu arrive, s that yur result can be sent t yur university n time. WORK AND EXAMS Exams n yur curses will almst certainly invlve "cntrôle cntinu" at intervals during the year, and a bigger exam at the end, by which time many f yu have gne. Please, let yur teachers knw abut yur situatin s that special exams can be rganized fr yu, if required. Yu may well have signed up t an ECTS learning cntract (ECTS = Eurpean Credit Transfer System). They shuld cunt twards yur university degree. UNIVERSITY CULTURE Yu may well experience a certain amunt f culture shck when yu start studying at UAG. Individual cntact with staff is much mre limited than in yur university, and may be all but nn-

17 existent. Similarly, teaching methds and expectatins are ften cnsiderably mre frmal than what yu are used t. Dn't hesitate t lk fr a tuteur's assistance ERASMUS Erasmus students shuld check fr days/times when the lcal crdinatr is available t see yu; it is cmmn fr academics t have set permanences rather than being prepared t see students at any time. Our relatins with ur partner universities depend very much n yu as ambassadrs, s develping a gd wrking relatinship with the crdinatrs helps nt nly yu, but the students wh will fllw yu. LEAVE A SWEET SMELL Bear in mind that future internatinal students will be fllwing yu nt nly int the university, but als in many cases int the same accmmdatin. Make a gd impressin n the peple yu deal with yu there, and d all yu can t "leave a sweet smell behind yu" at the end f yur stay; even little things like making friends with cncierges and cleaners can have real benefits fr thse wh will fllw in yur ftsteps. - Ben Fisher, May 2001 Legal bit: N liability is accepted n behalf f UWB, any f its staff r students, r any partner r hst institutins r their staff, fr any cnsequences whatsever arising frm the advice in this infrmatin is included in gd faith. - Maryvnne Charlery, March 2009

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