Chapter XIV - Highligts of January

January was, in general, a calm month. 
After New Year's, there's the tradition of buying and eating Galette des Rois and see who gets the fève!
We had a soirée with this purpose in Yomaira's room, and Hamidou got the fève, being the Lightning McQueen from Cars
And this semester I decided to also participate in the feminin choir, and in the first practice session, we had a little snack with this gâteau, where I got the crown, and the fève (miracle!), a Prince. :D 

I think the highlight of this month was, in a negative way, the process of knowing my evaluation results. 
Even though all my tests were in December, I had my last exam in the 1st week of January.
It was almost the end of the month and... any notes whatsoever!
After going to the specific offices several days pratically in a row, it was in a certain day of February that I would know (I think it was the 10th or 11th).
So, basically, even if you don't get approval in all the disciplines, you continue everything normally and you only have the opportunity to improve in June; for the 2 semesters(!).
This system continues still to impress me. And not in a good way.
And even though you have 2 different subjects in the same area (example: History, but of a different period), you don't get the grade of each one - they do the average of the 2. 
Of course, this couldn't apply to me! After moments of panic and the fact that nobody in my department could explain it, it was in the International Relations that it was clarified: since I'm an Erasmus student, the evaluation is done properly - in each discipline, a single evaluation. *cyclone of relief*

And that's that; after those dreadful moments of burocracies and paperwork and systems that don't apply to normal people, it was indeed a tranquil month.


Chapter XV - Ice skating and Fest-Noz

February, on the other hand, was a month more diversed.
We went ice skating for the 2nd time (there was a free night during the 1st semester also), which means another life-or-death experience to me - besides being terrible at this, I really don't trust those killer razor-blades that oh-so swiftly slide through the Ring of Frozen Hell. 
Still, it's always funny and refreshing, and it's also a good moment to hate on people that skate super-well, like Yomaira and Luke, the sliding-monkeys. *muahahah, so sad for us, poor common people*. 
The usual folks, along with a Turkish girl, Melisa, that we met in January! (Those shoes...)

We also attended the Fest-Noz (a breton word for night festival) that is basically a festival that holds typical dances from Britanny with live music, cider, etc. 
There was a lot of people, and the major part of the dances were in a circle, where we either hold hands or our pinkies (let's say it was hard to play the piano the next day...) or in couples or smaller groups. I'm not particularly fond of dancing, but oh well, we must try whatever we can!
The only good picture that I have - you get the idea.

The next chapter is going to be about Teddy's visit and him staying here in Rennes with me! :)



To be continued...
Ch. XII - Fare thee well 

As I mentioned in the previous Chapter, this one is about Helena's departure (OH NO!) - yes, it is! *sadness in the air*
She was going to leave in December 19th, a Tuesday.
We did a little soirée for her to say "goodbye" to Hamidou, Luke and Benjamin during that week, and 2 days before the D Day we went to her room to get stuff that she didn't need to take, like pots, utensils, you name it. 
And the morning of that day came, and we woke up around 7h-8h to be at Helena's place at 8h30 to help her carry the travel bags.
We went to have breakfast at Brioche Dorée, and then we hopped on the bus to the airport. 
After waiting for the check-in. bags processing, etc, we just sayed there and talked untill Helena had to go through the security process.
We can say that, after "best wishes", hugs and kisses, and we saw her walking away, me and Yomaira had a very weird mix of feelings, sadness with emptiness and *I'm not quite sure what just happened*. We stood there for a while, just trying to absorb that moment. 
And that's that, it was just the two of us now. We left the airport and went to get some sandwiches while talking and remembering some highlights of Helena's presence in this experience. At least, she's happier where she is now. :)


Ch. XIII - Christmas

And my time to go back to Portugal was during the Christmas holidays! I went on the 21st December, a Saturday. 
Obviously, it was great to be with the family and friends, o enjoy a little bit of Lisbon, and of the North (Coimbra), where I spent Christmas's Eve.
This was my 2nd time coming back, and it was always sunny when I arrived. 2 or 3 after me staying there, the awful grey sky from Rennes starts to appear there also! I believe that I'm cursed... But still, it was winter, there's an excuse.
The New Year's was also great. I went to have dinner with Teddy in a great indian restaurant in Chiado and then saw the  Herman's show having place at Terreiro do Paço and the fireworks at midnight. It was a very agreable evening!
Here are some pictures to show these 2 weeks before coming to Rennes.
The view from my super jet.
A part of my street seen from my balcony.
Cristo Rei, Ponte 25 de Abril and Cais das Colunas :)
Christmas decorations!

And back to Rennes in January the 5th!



To be continued...
Chapter X - My Anniversary

I really don't pay much attention to my birthday, but I do enjoy planning or helping to plan an event to celebrate my friend's anniversary.
Alas, in the morning of this day, I had the alarm set at 8h30. It was 8h something, and I heard someone knocking on the door: I immediatly thought it was the Devil Lady of the Cleaning Hell (we don't have the best relationship ever) or the Nice but Quiet Plummer (I was having some issues with my sink in those days). 
But no! It was Yomaira and Helena with a cake of crêpes full with candles and a beautiful bouquet of flowers singing Happy Birthday the moment I opened the door. It was the 1st time someone ever suprised me in this occasion! :)
The light... IT BURNS US! Me in my most splendorous figure.
Well, imagine the crepes cake...
Later that week, us three with Luke and Benjamin went to an Asian Restaurant/Buffet as a nice anniversary dinner. Dear, I really missed sushi!



Chapter XI - December: Tests are coming...

We're now in December and the word "examen" or "contrôle" starts to come up in classes.
Almost all of my evaluation moments were good, although a small but crucial aspect made me take away 250 points from Franclepuff: anonymity! *dramatic tension*
I knew some people from other departments, and all the tests were identified and the teachers, normally, would consider their cases differently, as they should! Not our native language, other program, other system, other evaluation criteria... 
It's in my department that this happens, considering that I'm not aware of similar cases in the University, though one lady of the International Relations said that it was anonymous in many departments (yeah, right). One girl of my class even said that this system is ridiculous, and quoted the teachers by saying: "We prefer to keep the tests anonymous to avoid certain feelings and preferences relating to some students". 
Very agreeable indeed.

Being in December also means that Helena is going back to Estonia (*sadness*)- a subject that's going to be approached in the next chapter.



To be continued... 
Chapter IX - Normandy 

CIREFE is a center/program in the University that offers a French course to help foreign students to improve their knowledge in the language.
Being an exchange student, they offer the 1st semester for free, and they quite recommend it(!)
Putting aside 4h per week of boredom and despair, it's a great opportunity to go on field trips to specific locations for a very modest price and inside the learning environment.
As referred in the title, in the 3rd week of November, me and Yomaira went to Normandy for a weekend!
Therefore, here's a kind of a detailed plan of what we visited in this county. 

In the day before Saturday 16th, we got everything ready in my travel bag, more than enough for the two of us, and our backpacks with food for the day, cameras charged, paper and pen, you get the idea.
I've put the alarm for 7h, so that we would have time to have breakfast and all that.
For the 1st time in my life, the alarm either didn't sound, or I didn't defined it properly; all I know it was 8h and Yomaira was knocking on my door because she woke up by chance!
We had to be at the University before 9h (the departure was at that time), so we just got dressed and left, passing by Carrefour to take something to eat.
And of course, there was a problem registering the items that Yomaira bought, so we had to wait to get the money back, frustrations, stress, then it was 8h55, we were in the metro and there we arrived, with the bus already ready and the lady waiting for us.
No matter, we were on the bus with our pains au chocolat in a great sunny morning!

Day 1:
The first stop was Fougères, a little town with its main attraction, the Château de Fougères
I'm not going to enter in details, or I would never stop writing about it's position in the town, it's architectonic points, beauty, etc, because it's really awesome, beautiful and it's basically MEDIEVAL FTW! 
Here are some pictures of what you can see around the area:
Arriving to the town and the Château with all these Muggles blocking my paisagistic art... (Just kidding, of course...)
Fused with the rocky nature!
One of the main squares.
The bridge to the front gate.
The main entrance!
 We continued walking around the town, until we arrived to the 2nd and last attraction that the guide-teacher found important, the Église Saint-Sulpice de Fougères.
Here's two pictures, the outside and the inside:

Purely gothic, it's the dominant architectonic style in this county.
The main hall. 
We went back to the bus, now going to Villedieu-les-Poêles, also a small but very nice town (and also kind of creepy, considering there was nobody outside in a sunny day... Vampire alert???) where our destination was the Fonderie Cornille-Havard.
We stopped by in main square, near the Mairie, to have lunch and then we went to have a hot coco, taking into account the rendezvous was only at 14h, and it was 12h30. 
The Mairie, where the Vampire Mayor works or lives or who knows...
The main square where we sat down and had lunch.
And the observing hot coco (ridiculously tiny, but what can we do...)
And off we went to the Fonderie, where we saw a lot of bells of all shapes and sizes and their making process. This is the one that produced the bells of Notre-Dame of Paris!
I didn't take a lot of pictures in this one, so I'll just put here the main building:

La Fonderie de Cloches.
And back on the bus. 
Next stop: Bayeux, very pretty and gothic location, with its super attraction that resulted in the name of the ville: Tapisserie de Bayeux.
It was really awesome and enlightning being able to see almost 70m of a hand-embroided Tapestrie, and that essentially is a medieval comic book!
Photographs aren't permitted, but who cares, I need to visually remember this:

Not the best quality photo, but imagine another hall in the opposite-direction with the same or more lenght than in here.

Day 2:
This day was spent in Caen, where we visited (exterior only) the Abbaye-aux-Dames and Église Saint-Pierre, and explored the Mémorial de Caen

Here are some pictures of the first 2 monuments:
A part of the Abbey.
One of the entrances.
The Saint-Pierre Church.
We had lunch in the Caen's Memorial for Peace cafeteria, and then we had the audio-guide tour in the II World War exhibit.
I'm still amazed how some people didn't know some basic facts or terms in this important, yet terrible event in our History, I mean, come on, Blitzkrieg
Still, great museum, very well-exposed, the building itself is beautiful and it really transmits the concept of Peace.

The picture says it all.
The entrance to the Memorial!
And after all this cultural immersion in Normandie, we're off to good ol'Rennes!
Don't forget to check her blog!


To be continued...
Chapter VII - October and Raclettes

The month of October passed on nicely, enjoying the classes and visiting the town.
In one very pleasant night, we all had at Luke's house a Raclette dinner!
It started out with Hamidou's longing desire to have Bacalhau à Brás, a typical portuguese codfish dish, and there we went to a huge Carrefour, where he has a part-time job.
Unfortunately, the codfish is way too expensive here (comparing to Portugal, of course), and it wasn't worth it.
After wandering to and fro around there, Luke came up with the brilliant idea of having Raclette at his place; we all went to buy ham, the specific cheese and PO-TA-TOES (100€ to whoever guesses the reference!), got settled at his place and had a nice cheesy dinner while listening to music chosen by each one of us by artists of our own countries (France, Estonia, Puerto Rico, Portugal... and some classics too).
Not the most glamorous picture, but you get the idea. :)

Chapter VIII - Autumn's Vacations

The last week of October in France is an All Saints vacations week - and I had the chance to visit Portugal!
It's weird that after almost 2 months you start to feel that something's missing... Guess what? Oh yes, the sun, the family, friends, the city, the food... I guess that saudade is something very present in Lusitanian people :P
Arriving to Lisbon! :D
It was a short week, but enough to be with the family, Teddy and friends, going for some walks in my area and Lisbon, visiting my University... And eating!
How I missed my Piano, Jubilee!


To be continued...
Chapter V - Promenades

September was a very interesting month. Aside the facts of arriving, getting settled and getting to know the University, classes, etc - obviously - it was great to visit the town with my new acquaintances.
It is hard to maintain an accurate chronological order, so I'll just put some but nice pictures to show how beautiful and picturesque Rennes is.
Some of them are were taken on the anniversary of Yomaira ;)
Parc du Thabor, where we had a picnic :)
My very gourmet lunch - Ravioli with oregano cream and Caesar sauce salad, with my awesome 100ml Coke!
St. Anne, the historical centre - Yomaira's birthday. :)
La Mairie de Rennes.
And the Opera!

Chapter VI - Nightlife

There's constant Erasmus events troughout every week here in Rennes, and in the first weeks, they were basically to know the main places to go out at night and to meet new people from all over the world.
I'll do a quick list of the soirées that are always regular:

Mondays - Soirée Multi-Langues Langomatic
This is still an event that we normally attend. It's in a very nice Irish pub called O'Connells, where it normally starts at 21h and closes at 1h.
It was either on the 1st or 2nd time that we went there that we met 3 french-speaking guys, Nicolas aka Luke, a breton fellow (I started calling Luke because he r-e-a-l-l-y looks like Luke Skywalker, and that just sticked), Hamidou, from Senegal but he feels breton, as he usually say, and Benjamin, from Paris, with vietnamese origin. 
We exchanged contacts and they are our "french friends" that still go out with us!
The facebook image of the event
Tuesdays - El Cubanacan 
I think the name says it all; yes, indeed, it's a latin bar!
Each night, normally, has a theme, either music from a specific country, like Brasil or Mexico, or a dance style, like Salsa or Kizomba, or a music genre, like Reggaeton or, let's say, Latin Techno.
Hamidou loooves to dance, and to try a lot of styles, so this is just heaven for him. He's always dancing and trying to convince me to dance something, though I prefer to remain sitting down, observe and share a coke with him.
Yomaira, of course, knows many songs that are transmitted there, though she hates reggaeton (haha!). 
Found an image of the bar during the day, I didn't knew it was so tropical.
But voilà, you get the picture
.
Thursdays - The Crazy Day
There's no need to have a defined place to go. 
You go to St. Anne, for example, to the Rue St. Michel aka Rue de la Soif (Street of the Thirst), and you see legions of people, mostly students, totally drunk and doing some very stupid stuff (climbing poles, etc). It's sad.
But it's just to clarify that Thursday is the day to go out here in Rennes.

There are other 2 places, Le Espace and Le Pyms - two night clubs always with Erasmus parties on Fridays and Saturdays, with the measly entrance fee of 10 to 14€. I'll even camp outside to have the privilege of being the first guest *sarcarsm*!!!

And that's basically it. See you soon!
Chapter III - Highlights of the First Week

The week after the Mont St. Michel's trip was a calm one, just going in specific days to the University to whatever meetings and reunions they organized, including the main one in my department with the, let's say, reception teacher to the incoming foreigner students.
It was an interesting meeting indeed; there was only 2 students that came to the Music department in exchange - me and an american girl. 
After explaining each other's backgrounds and objectives - and let's say that I'll never quite understand the educational systems in America or somewhere else where you have a Major in Economy, and, as she said, "I like Music, therefore, I started a minor in that respective area, though I know nothing of it, unfortunately". I saw her in the first History class of Baroque music and I never saw her again. She must be very interested indeed *sigh*.

I really love the department here. It's the building O, called "Le Tambour", and it's only for cultural activites and the music area. Every single classroom has a piano or two, music boards, sound systems, etc; there are 4 or 5 studio rooms, each one with 2 or 3 pianos for students to practice, an auditorium for concerts and practical classes, and an Amphi for "big classes", like History. 
It's a lot different from my department in Portugal, but only in the infrastructure, space and number of students (in my year, it was a class of 30, here it's almost 60 in 2nd year, and the 1st years are like 80).
The program is very interesting, but much less varied than in Portugal. It's more practical, yes, but doesn't approach, by far, all the components that Musicology has to offer.
Still, it's very cool and I'm liking it very much. :)
The front entrance(s)

Chapter IV - The classes begin...

Since there's a big class of students in each year, the timetable of the lessons offer different schedules for each "smaller" class, like Analysis or Clavier (Piano), for instance, meaning the class is divided in smaller groups to make it easier to the professor to teach and accompany the students (and also for us). 
I always prefer classes in the morning, so that I can have the rest of the day to my affairs, homeworks, practice, leisure, etc., so I started my Monday morning with Clavier, and guess which music we had to play? Indeed, the 1st mouvement of the Moonlight Sonata - very queer, surely. Of course, there were 3 different versions, the original included, so that everybody was able to play. 
Needless is to say that it's one of my favourite classes, inasmuch as the subject is to play the piano. :D

I'm not going to talk about each class, so I'll just summarize by saying that it was a great first week of classes, very accessible teachers and good introductions to the subject of every lesson. 
The students, well, let's just say they're not welcoming at all. Having a foreign student it's the same as nothing. Which I find quite weird and sad, considering that this University is a worlwide destination of exchange students from all over the world. Oh well. 

To be continued...
Movies series, books, games, TV shows... The final chapter is like an emptiness in you, a little part  of you that dies, goes to the void. It's a natural law, and we can't help it.
Of course, Harry Potter or Lord of The Rings wouldn't keep on going forever (for as much as I would like...). 
Isn't there a saying: "All good things must come to an end"? Well, there you have it. 

Since I mentioned Harry Potter, there's a lot of people around the world that miss it enormously, especially the youngsters that grew up with it, like me and my generation.
Thank you, David Yates, for dividing the final movie in 2 parts; it helped us to mentalize that the end was nigh... 

In the games topic, there are fantastical series that get's you so into the world, the story and the character(s) that is just terrifying.
I can say that I was really sad and angry and just shocked with the ending of Mass Effect. It is, for me and for a great deal of people out there, one of the best trilogies ever made until today and everybody wanted more.
Waiting each time for years after the semi-end of each volume of the game, so much work, assimilation and emotions for it just to end. Even with the perfect ending, that gets your hopes up. *trying not to put spoilers here* 
Already bought the 1st tome of the book series, "Mass Effect: Ascension" to try to fill that little voidy hole in me.
Thankfully, there's still going on The Elder Scrolls, Dragon Age, I still have hope in Fallout, GTA, Assassin's Creed, Dead SpaceBatman Arkham... Patience is the key. 


Changing to books, there's a particular series that I adore, there's a movie of the 1st book that is not that bad (what can you do?... *sigh*), but they should either do a remake and continue with the series, that really follows the books, or do a TV series, because the story is immense and complex.
Anyone? 
Well, it's the The Inheritance Cycle, written by Christopher Paolini, being the 1st volume Eragon
It is a fantastical and original story, with maps and languages, great characters, and each book gets bigger and bigger; the author planned to be a trilogy, but it was so immense that he had to write a 4th volume and turn it to a series, that he called a cycle.
Putting aside the fact that it ended (THE DESPAIR!), it is a shame and deserting the fact that they did not continue the cinema franchise.
Let's ignore the 1st one, shall we? Or do it again. AND CONTINUE!
So awesome!
Going on to TV series, there's one that I always mention when talking about this topic, that has a huge legion of fans, only has 1 season with 14 episodes and that was cancelled for various reasons checked online:
Low adverstising, low ratings, not enough viewers, the episodes were aired out of order, too expensive... All this by FOX, of course, that WE ALL HATE. Let's not forget Buffy the Vampire Slayer, that was much more popular and that continued instead of the best sci-fi show ever. The pride in America...
In Portugal, it was aired correctly, but I only saw it from the episode 7 or 8, I think. I really had no idea, neither my family. It was my cousin that talked about it, so we ordered the show and watched it and it's the best thing ever.
Yes, imaginary person, you are correct, 10 million euros for you! It's Firefly!
I won't even give any more details, if you want to watch it or you're just curious, check online, try to watch the pilot episode. Of course, if you are a wee bit interested in sci-fi. 
A masterpiece indeed.
No more sadness today. Ta ta!
This year, Spring starts on the 20th of March. So odd! 

It's almost never super sunny here at Rennes, it's dreadful.  But, during this fortnight, it's being very pleasant indeed!
Now that Spring has started, tomorrow the rain will return; how fortunate... 
Nonetheless, a little bit of music to celebrate this equinox :)

March: Song of the Lark in G minor from The Seasons, op. 37-bis - P. Tschaikowsky

And I think I'm good for the day... Cheerio!
Chapter I - A Viagem e the Settling

May the Force be sempre com a minha mãe, pois ela veio comigo no autocarro infernal até Rennes - 26 horas!
Saímos às 7h da manhã, atravessámos Portugal, a buscar indivíduos em localidades remotas, entrámos em Espanha às 15h, parámos duas vezes, e chegámos, por fim, a Nantes pelas 7h da manhã.
Eram 9h e pouco, chegámos à Gare de Rennes; e eu com uma vontade tremenda de ir à casa-de-banho e esquecer as minhas angústias de insónias.

Com toda a bagagem (3 malas gigantes, mantas e um violino), lá se apanhou um táxi a caminho da residência.
Tudo muito bem organizado, etc, foi pena era o quarto cheirar, digamos, a seres vivos...

Após ordenar cada espaço no quarto e ter aligeirado a tralha, fomos para o hotel Kyriad, descansou-se e nos restantes dias, até a minha mãe voltar para as terras lusitanas no dia 7, passaram-se a limpar o quarto, arranjá-lo e também ver um pouco a cidade.


Chapter II - Le Mont St. Michel

It was on September the 7th, a fresh and sunny day, that was the 1st "Erasmus trip" for all the newcomers in the University.
Going on the bus next to a German girl talking endlessy with her mates, I was enduring the journey listening to music.
Oh, the joy of seeing in the horizon the fantastic monument approaching!
Through the window of the bus...
Upon arriving, going on the navette to the location, etc, etc, I saw a petite tanned girl (not to say brown :p) staring at the Abbey and I decided to make conversation - "C'est beau, hum?"
We started talking, and a tall girl with red hair joined us and that's how I met my 2 friends in this Erasmus experience, Yomaira (Puerto Rico) and Helena (Estonia).
They were both very excited to be there. Yomaira studies Translation as major and Journalism as Minor, and Helena studies French.
Funny this is that Helena lived right in front of the University and Yomaira lives in the same residence as I do, but under my room (technically, the left room under mine, but still).  
We continued exploring the Mont St. Michel as we were getting to know each other.
It was around 17h-18h that we came back to Villejean (University area) and arranged to go out in the next day.
I went to take my mom to the bus station in the Gare and so she went off around 20h.
It was my first night alone in Rennes.


To be continued...
Erasmus, generally, is to have the opportunity to study abroad, therefore learning new contents and other types of teaching methods, getting access to a new language and culture, and to enjoy the experience of traveling.
Of course, each person has its own motivations. I see a lot of students here that don't care about the learning/studying part, and they spend their time in parties and whatever. Of course, fun is also a major part of this experience, but I feel quite sad seeing them, well, not wasting, but just with other major reasons.
Most topics are quite obvious, but all of them are important. :)

1. Get very well-informed about all the available countries, universities and programs in your university of origin.
Decide what do you want to do in your License/Master/Doc, your objectives, how long do you want to stay, etc.
Choose very well the country that you're going. Make sure that you'll put an effort to learn the language and culture, and get informed about what you can and what interests you. Location, weather, food, costumes, cultural attractions, etc.
In my case, I was pondering between France, Austria and Italy. Though I really wanted to go to Austria, the program wasn't that interesting, unfortunately. Once I saw the one in Rennes, no need to say more. :)

2. Talk with your professor/coordinator about everything you want to know or clarify, and respect all the advices that he/she gives you.

3. Respect all the deadlines of paperwork, things to deliver, etc. The sooner, the better. All these things take time to process.

4. Do copies of every single document that has, basically, your name on it, and do it before you go.
Photos, ID cards, Driver's license, Bank accounts, Birth certificates (believe me, I had a lot of stress to ask one when I needed it), Contracts, whatever. 
Do 100 copies of each. Minimum.

5. If you don't know the language already, do what you can to travel there, at least, with the basics. 
How to ask information, how to indentify yourself and your needs, etc, etc.
There's probably language programs, courses, etc., in your University, or you can check at schools and academies. You can also buy books or do it online. 
Everything is up to you and your determination. 

6. Normally, the exchange University offers student lodging options. You can either apply to that or search by yourself places where you can stay. 
Needless is to say that is better if it's close to the University. Even if the rent is higher, you save on transportation and time.

7. Save all the information that you have about the University where you're going and all the contacts that you had with it.
Normally, they contact you by e-mail or correspondence.
It's better if you create a file where you can keep all that data and, then, create a list of what you need to do when you're there. Example: dates of reunions, presentations, welcomings, etc.
Try to be present in all of that, it's all part of the experience and it's always useful. 

8. Check with a lot of time in advance the various offers to go to your destination.
If you want a low-cost ticket, even if it's cheap, don't forget that you have to pay extra fees to take hold luggage. 
I, for one, went by bus, where I could take whatever I want without paying, though the journey is very long. (And it's just Portugal to France, 26h...).

9. When you start packing, take what you need and what is very likely that you will need. 
If you go to a cold country, it's not needed to take a lot of summer/spring clothes, for example.
You can either make a list, start selecting what you're not going to take or, if you think you'll need something that you don't have, you can start checking online, for example, to see it it's cheaper where you live or in the country where you're going.
Either way, do everything with time

10. Plan your journey. Your arrival, where do you go after, what route/transports you must take, and useful locations that you might need. (Example: supermarkets, pharmacies, restaurants, information posts, post office, etc). 

11. When you're already there and settled, and after the stuff mentioned in the topic nº 7, enjoy!
Thanks to the few useful tools in social networks, there's Erasmus groups on Facebook to help welcoming all the new students, where events are created, shared information that you need, and also to help you practice the language and meet new people - because that's also a big part of this great experience.

12. Put your efforts in this exchange. It's another language and another system, probably, so really organize your time and your studies to try to get good results to represent positively your University, your country and yourself. 
Talk with your teachers if you don't understand something, normally, they comprehend your situation and are available for you.

13. Don't get frustrated if something doesn't work at the beggining, like your documents, informations, cards, etc. You'll probably visit the International Services office frequently, and that's also a (boring) part of this, but it's better if you get everything straightened quickly than to get more problems in the future. 

14. Explore! Enjoy the time that you're there to visit the city where you're in, absorb all the culture, how people are, etc.
There are also cheap ways to visit other parts of the country. 
Covoiturage it's an example that's getting more and more famous and used throughout all Europe. 
There's also cheap train tickets, discounts for studens, etc. 
Internet is always there for you. 

15. (Just to finish in a pretty number) Create good memories of all this. Meet new people, hopefully, make good friends, share what you can, and make a good chapter out of this in your life. 
The objective of all of this is to LEARN! :)
"Where did you go, if I may ask?' said Thorin to Gandalf as they rode along.
To look ahead', said he.
And what brought you back in the nick of time?'
Looking behind', said he."