I went on exchange as part of my Bachelor of International Studies, so I wanted to choose a place where I could use my French. Having already been to Europe, I chose Montreal, McGill Uni. What an amazing city!! I couldn’t have enjoyed anywhere more. Almost everyone in the city is bilingual too so French isn’t a necessity.

At the beginning of the semester some of the classes I wanted to take clashed, this is a common problem at McGill and basically you have to figure it out for yourself. Though being an exchange student can get you into a full class – handy tip! Apart from that, most Political Science classes expect less individual research than UQ, and assessment is very clearly outlined. One of my French classes (Francais des Medias) had a huge workload, but was great for learning lingo that you wouldn’t cover in any standard language class. I also recommend Religion and Globalization, a really interesting course!

I felt like I had a lot more contact hours here but in reality there wasn’t much difference – most classes have lectures twice a week for an hour or an hour and a half, plus tutorials.

Most of my close friends were other exchange students, since we were all interested in visiting the city and meeting new people. I’ve also made good friends with Canadians who are some of the friendliest people on earth, shows why so many Australians come to Canada!

I found a place to live on craigslist with three other exchange students, on the border of Mile End and the Plateau, a really nice spot! The girls I lived with went to HEC so I got to meet people from their uni as well.
Montreal is an amazing city; beautiful architecture, great nightlife and music scene, close to other cities! Everyone should go to Igloofest - an electronic/dance music festival in winter. Mont Tremblant has the best skiing in the area, and is breathtaking. There’s also Mont Tremblant national park, which has beautiful walks in autumn. We saw deer and otter in the wild! My favourite (and most affordable!) trips have been with the McGill Outdoors Club - rock climbing and hiking in autumn and canoeing and camping in the snow. Also a great way to meet new people.

Get involved in Frosh week – introduction for first year students. It’s a week long of partying, or outdoors activities, depending on which program you choose. Great way to start uni and experience a different culture – Frosh week is how you’d picture American college parties. (Heads up, most people are 18 or 19)

I’ve spent about $10,000 on my exchange semester plus two months of travel. I’m generally careful with money but don’t feel like I’ve gone without! Rent here is cheaper, and if you find the right supermarket it’s about on par (Provigo is the most expensive). Going out is fairly similar but alcohol from the stores is cheaper!

Top Tips

  • Go to classes - everyone does!
  • Join clubs – McGill Outdoors Club is amazing!
  • McGill Chaplaincy office gives students free winter coats!
  • Blues Pub at McGill has $1 beers on certain days
  • Go up Mont Royal at least once in every season

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