Bachelor of Laws/Arts
Bachelor of Laws/Arts

I did a semester long exchange at McGill during my 5th year of Law/Arts. I went on exchange with very high expectations as many of my friends who had been on exchange before said that it was the highlight of their university experience. My time at McGill definitely lived up to the hype.

Living in Montréal I was able to immerse myself in the unique blend of French and North American culture that characterises Montréal, and extend myself academically by using my French both in the classroom and in everyday life. I got to experience my first real Canadian winter and all the fun activities like dog sledding, ice climbing and skiing that come along with it. Most importantly, I got to share this incredible experience with exchange students from all corners of the globe.

ACADEMIC

As UQ students are unable to take law courses at McGill, I took this opportunity to complete courses that would count towards my French major. At McGill I studied three French language courses, a Quebec politics course and a Canadian art history course. These courses not only counted towards my major but had the double benefit of allowing me to learn more about the unique Québécoise culture. While it is not necessary to understand French to survive a semester exchange at McGill, I do think knowing some French added a different dimension to my exchange experience as language is such a key part of understanding a culture.

The overall workload of doing 5 courses (the required full time load at McGill) proved to be quite demanding, particularly as I was taking so many language courses which had weekly assessments. Be careful in your course selection. While studying at a prestigious institution like McGill is a great opportunity to extend yourself academically, you don’t want to overburden yourself as you will want to spend your weekends exploring all that Montréal and its surroundings have to offer. Finally, this is a clichéd piece of advice when combing through past testimonies but it is valid. Try and take electives or, if you have to do a compulsory course, get plenty of equivalent McGill courses approved in advance. I guarantee you will not end up being able to take all of the McGill courses you planned on taking.

ACCOMODATION

I chose to live off campus which I would highly recommend as most residences at McGill are over-priced and are inhabited solely by first year students. I arrived in Montréal three days before starting classes with nowhere to live. Fortunately, I furnished room in a beautiful apartment right in the heart of the plateau with four lovely French girls. While I would definitely recommend not arranging anything in advance so you can inspect your accommodation before committing to it, I would recommend arriving at least a week in advance so that you have plenty of time to find a place and settle in before starting class.

The best way to find accommodation with other students is by joining the numerous McGill Housing facebook pages. I would highly recommend living somewhere in the Plateau however no further than St Laurent, especially if you are there during winter semester because walking 25 minutes every day in -40C soon becomes tiresome. If possible, try and get a place close to a metro stop as the buses are often full and infrequent. When looking for accommodation, be sure to ask whether the heating is any good and if it is included in the rent. Trust me, you don’t want to have a badly heated house!

EXPENSES

I found rent and the cost of living to be generally much cheaper than Brisbane. However, I would still recommend budgeting around $10,000 for a semester if you are planning on doing lots of weekend trips and want to take advantage of Montréal’s rich culinary scene!

TOP TIPS

• Join the McGill Outdoor Club, McGill SSMUSKI, MISN and Interstude. All of these clubs and societies organised fantastic trips away on a regular basis and served as a great way to They were a great platform to meet other exchange students.
• Live in the Plateau as it features the best of what Montréal has to offer.
• Have brunch often. Montréal has an unmatchable brunch scene!
• Don’t leave things to last minute (trip wise) and get involved in clubs and societies from the start. If possible try and stay for a whole year as one semester just goes way too quickly. This is my only regret!
 

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