Bachelor of Psychological Science
Bachelor of Psychological Science

My time at McGill University was easily one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences of my life. I am a third year Bachelor of Psychological Science student, and I was at McGill in the Winter Semester (Semester 1) of 2014. I had a tough time getting faculty approval for the courses I wanted to take on exchange, so I would recommend saving your electives if you’re planning to study abroad. I took four psychology and one anthropology course, and found the academic system a little different to the one I was used to at UQ- for one thing there were no compulsory tutorials, so most of my classes took place in big lecture halls with hundreds of other people. Learning was very self-directed and the students take their studies very seriously- the huge 24 hour libraries fill up quickly each day.

I lived in an apartment block for students just off rue Sainte-Catherine in downtown Montreal, only a ten minute walk from campus (the McGill Housing website is really useful for finding accommodation). Living with Canadian students who’d been at McGill for a couple of years was great- locals can give you tips that the guide books can’t, and making friends with people from across the world is invaluable.

Take advantage of all Montreal has to offer- I have encountered few cities with a cultural scene as vibrant, and the brunch options are of a particularly high quality. Obviously poutine is a must- Frite Alors and La Banquise are popular places. Although Quebec is predominantly French speaking, I found that most people greeted me with a ‘Bonjour, Hello’, so if you only speak English you won’t have any trouble getting around. Capitalise on Montreal’s proximity to other cities and get some travel in- a train to New York for reading week cost about $60/70, and the bus to Boston was even less.

Please make sure you are properly prepared for the cold! There was snow on the ground pretty much until the end of April, and as a Brisbane native I found the -30 degree temperatures through December and January pretty brutal. Thermals, proper waterproof boots and woollen gloves and beanie are a must, even if you are living close to uni- the frostbite on my fingertips attested to this.

Although moving across the globe to an entirely foreign place may seem terrifying and a little like throwing yourself in the deep end, I can’t recommend the study abroad program highly enough. The friends you make, the experiences you have and the travel you do make the homesickness entirely worth it.

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