I visited Montreal in the second half of 2012, coming from studying an Arts degree with a double major in International Relations and Peace and Conflict Studies at UQ. Although McGill has a fantastic reputation for political science, I chose to save my electives like a squirrel, and use them on fantastic subjects such as Ancient Greek Mythology, Feminist Philosophy, a couple of history subjects, and a bit of French too.

Compared to my minimal contact hours and large essay style of assessment at UQ, getting into my McGill routine of going to uni every day and having assessment due every week was a bit of a change, and made my experience more focused on academics than I had planned. Luckily, I loved my courses so much that it didn’t matter!

Living off-campus in an apartment with a Canadian roommate gave me the chance to practice my French, and shape up my Quebecquois slang! It also gave me access to the vibrant arts community in Montreal, and I met artists, dancers, and no less than three circus performers. Flatting in Montreal was by far more affordable than an Australian city, and the shopping, of course, was even more so – make sure you have room for all your new purchases to come home with you. Aside from that, most of my friends came from the McGill International Students Network (MISN), and I met lots of other exchange students at their wonderful events, such an unforgettable weekend trip to New York City.

My top tips would definitely include getting involved with MISN to meet other exchange students, getting most of your travel out of the way in the start of semester (it gets busy very quickly!), taking the time to become well acquainted with Montreal must-do’s like Mont Royal and Old Montreal, embrace the opportunity to learn another language, and just letting yourself relax and have a great time. Finally, invest in a quality winter coat and waterproof boots if you’re allergic to the cold like me! While the snow is beautiful, it’s also freezing, wet and inconvenient. Oh, and if you’re facing a spot of homesickness, head straight to Tourtier Australienne near the corner of Parc and Mont Royal for a classic Aussie pie with all the comforts of home.

If you approach your exchange with enthusiasm, curiosity and motivation, you will no doubt have a fantastic time in one of the most amazing cities in the world.

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