Pau, France - studenty, sunny, Erasmus, adventurous
I studied in Pau on my first half of the year abroad and found it really easy to make friends with French and fellow Erasmus students at the university, as it's quite a small uni. Everyone ends up knowing each other, which is great, as you don't feel that overwhelmed by the social side of things! Erasmus students also organised loads of activities, and most of them were free; you can't really beat white-water rafting in our first week!! The location's also brilliant as you can get to Spain really easily, as Pau's quite a bit down South. I lived in dorms (Gaston Phoebus), which was good as I made friends easily, but I also got an amazing view of the Pyrenees from my bedroom window. Not so cool were the rules about the place - no noise past 11PM and we weren't allowed to drink in the kitchen...
Useful local words: 'c'est pour quand la teuf?'
What not to pack: Your student hall habits from England - it's a bit more strict out here, though you'll still have fun living with other students.
What to pack: Skiing gear if you fancy a trip to Gourette in the Winter!
Couldn't have done without: Trips to places like Lourdes, Cirque de Gavarnie and San Sebastian.
Word of advice: Some people (but not all) could access the uni internet from their rooms, but it wasn't that good. I had to get my own internet set up - try and find out if your room has good reception. also, there isn't loads to do on a Sunday especially. Pau is quite small, with a couple of clubs and a few bars, but it's a great studenty town too, so you'll bump into loads of your coursemates.
by Danielle Morgan