Find out about any clubs you are interested in early during your stay. It will be much easier settling in if you start at the same time as everyone else does. This also means that you make the most of any registration fees you may have to pay.
There should be brochures about the campus from SUAPs for any sports or dance classes you may want to take. There is also a university choir and orchestra that you may participate in.
During the first part of the semester there are often fairs or stands around the campus and Fac de Lettres, try to keep yourself informed about the activities going on.
There is a book "La Besace" published by ENSMM each fall, this is a great reference for all things in your practical life, the town, culture, around town, sports, dining, and nightlife.
Try and get to the tourist information office during the first weekend. There is one office located on rue Mégévand by the Marie and then another, bigger office off of the Pont de la Republique. Bus number 8 goes from campus to this office.
There are often hikes and other activities scheduled in the fall, as well as art/museum exhibits, and music concerts.
Open a French bank account if you are here for a long time. If your grant or loan is paid directly into this, it reduces the amount of money wasted on bank charges and means that you can’t overspend your budget either!
For most foreign students (especially non-EU members), the best banks to try are the private ones. Make sure you are clear about the amount of time you want to stay and if you want a check book, debit card, or other amenities.
Bank accounts are important for paying phone bills if you get a fixed line, otherwise you must pay at the Poste in cash, as well as the fees (6€ or so)
Most students from the US don't need to get a bank account unless you plan to live off campus where you will have to pay rent and other bills. Scholarship money should come directly to you.
Fixed phone lines :
These are a lot cheaper to use than a French mobile and it also means your friends/family can phone you from abroad and you won’t have to pay the excess charges for the international calls. (If you use an English mobile for example, you have to pay too any incoming international calls. Check with your mobile company first for the applicable charges.)
Because it is cheaper, there’s a tendency to stay on the phone longer, thus; running up a surprisingly big bill at the end of the month.
French “Pay-as-you-go” mobile phones are a good idea if you are staying for a relatively long period of time. You may be able to sell it at the end of the year and you avoid being tied to monthly charges.
You may consider waiting a few weeks until you have established your ‘circle of friends’ who you are most likely to ring. If you then get a mobile with the same network, you avoid paying ‘Cross-network’ charges.
Pick up a leaflet from any “student” type office which usually give information about student promotions or tariffs available. These “student” type offices include the OSE shop just off rue Megavand or the OJFC (Office de Jeunesse de Fanche-Comté) situated just over the ‘Pont de la République’ from the Office de Tourisme, Besançon.
Many reductions are available for those aged under 26 years of age and even more so for students, but you need to calculate in advance which, if any, you would benefit from.
The journey into the town centre takes about a 35-40 minute walk or a 10-minute bus ride that will cost you 1€ per journey.
There is a choice of bus passes available that can be used on all bus lines within Besançon. They are generally good value depending on how often you use the bus.
It Costs :
Book of 10 tickets: 8€
Weekly pass : 7€
Monthly pass : 21€, plus 3€ for the pass at the beginning of the year
Yearly pass : Varying tariffs
Get it from : Espace bus, Place du 8 Septembre, Centre de Besançon (10h-12h, 13h15-19h)
Mobilignes 033 (0) 825 00 22 44 or http://www.ginkobus.com/