Bachelor of Psychological Science
Bachelor of Psychological Science

I chose McGill partially on a whim and partially because it seemed to match up pretty well with my third year Bachelor of Psychological Science electives. Thankfully, taking that chance paid off and I was enchanted with Montreal and its snow, old and beautiful buildings, cobbled streets and colourful graffiti on brick walls. (Less enchanting things, however, included trying to feel motivated enough to walk to class in -20C temperatures and having to constantly take off and put back on a coat, scarf, gloves etc. when entering or exiting lecture halls.)

While I didn’t find classes at McGill any more challenging than those at UQ, having to take five classes instead of four is something you need to adjust to. Similarly, all my psychology subjects had two lectures per week (1.5 hours each) and no tutorials, which is again an adjustment from UQ. Finally, a tip for future exchange students would be that while the material is not harder, the academic culture of the students is a little more intense and you will actually be expected to read your assigned readings! This really threw me and the other Australians who are use to a more laidback approach to “reading the textbook.”

During my time at McGill, I lived in university accommodation at New Rez with a roommate in a traditional dorm style set up. I had a meal plan and was able to walk to class and mandatory quiet time during exams meant that my study was not impacted. Having a roommate I could talk to was also absolutely crucial for surviving during exam time when I didn’t necessarily have time to hang out with friends. In saying this, there are a lot of other great options in the McGill ghetto or the plateau that are way cheaper and will allow you to explore the city more.

I had a lot of fun living in Canada and I was able to experience many things that I never would have been able to do in Australia while making some really good friends. A definite highlight was bonding with new friends at the McGill International Student Network’s (MISN) trip to Quebec City’s Winter Carnival at the start of semester. The carnival included dog sledding, drinking out of cups made entirely from ice and tubing down a snow covered hill. Another highlight was going on the Psychology Student Association’s Cabane a Sucre trip where we learnt about maple syrup production and ate maple taffy which is literally just maple syrup poured onto snow and is delicious.

On the whole, I had an amazing time travelling in both Canada and America and really enjoyed my experience studying abroad. My advice to anybody considering exchange is to have a spare bank card in case you accidentally lose yours (woops) and to take a chance and trust that you can make friends and deal with any challenges you might experience.

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