Airline flight Canada-France-Canada. Can you change your return date? Other useful information?
I actually purchased a one way ticket for my flight to France. In my visa application, I noted that I did not have a return ticket but that I had reserved money to buy a ticket at the end of my exchange. Plane tickets get very expensive if you buy within two or three weeks of departure, so plan ahead. I got stuck buying my first ticket at the last minute, and I lost a lot of money that way. Also, it can be cheaper to buy plane tickets to and from Paris, and the train between Paris and Lyon is only 30 euro if you purchase a couple weeks in advance.
Travel arrangements between landing point and final destination.
I flew to Lyon airport, and my host university (INSA Lyon) had a volunteer guide at the airport helping exchange students get to the campus. We took a bus and then a tram.
Rez? (yes or no)
Which one? What is included in rent?
I stayed in the INSA Lyon residences, sharing a two bedroom apartment with another exchange student. It was completely furnished, with internet and utilities included in the rent. There was a shower and toilet shared between the two of us, as well as a small kitchen with a fridge, sink, and electric stove-top. Bed sheets and blankets were provided, and washed every two weeks.
Did you have to purchase equipment? (yes or no). If you answered yes, what type (bed linen, kitchen ware, appliances, etc.)
I did buy a few things when I arrived, such as a desk lamp and a drying rack. Fortunately, previous exchange students had left a lot of kitchen ware behind, so I didn't need to buy any of that myself. I bought a cell-phone as well, as there was no land-line in the room.
Rent before APL (CAF)
Rent after APL (CAF)
Bank account? (yes or no)
Cell phone? (yes or no)
Which company and how much do you pay?
I got a pay-as-you-go phone from bouygues telecom. The handset was 20 euro (the cheapest) and I usually went through 20 euro a month in cards. The great thing in France is that you don't have to pay for incoming calls, so you can usually get by with no credit on your phone for a little while.
Land line? (yes or no)
Internet access, costs
Included in rent.
Local transportation: do you use a pass? (yes or no). How much do you pay?
What did you bring with you from Canada that is most valuable?
My laptop was essential for figuring everything out when I first got there.
What did you bring with you from Canada that is least valuable?
Any appliances that require a 110 V power supply. I only brought one voltage converter, and it was really inefficient and would overheat if I left it plugged in. I had an alarm clock, a light, and a power bar which couldn't run off the European voltage, so I just never used them. Luckily most laptop power supplies can work with 220 V outlets, you just need a small adaptor so the Canadian plug can fit in the European outlet.
Be patient with all the administrative hoops you have to jump through. As a non-European student you are going to have to go through a lot more bureaucracy than your Erasmus colleagues. Also, if you qualify for European citizenship through your parents, it's definitely worth applying for that.