UQ Program: Bachelor of Arts/ IT

Rue St. Denis in winterHaving just returned from my year-long exchange at McGill, I could not recommend the experience more highly. The university itself is truly something, and the extremely high calibre of lecturers and learning is an exciting challenge for the academically-minded. The assessment is difficult, but it is undoubtedly worthwhile—a phrase that pretty much sums up all of Montreal, in my opinion: difficult, but rewarding. The winter, for instance, will be hard. Trudging to McGill campus through the snow for an 8 am exam? Will be hard. Writing four fifteen-page essays while simultaneously trying to keep up with course readings? Will be hard. But believe me, you are missing out if you do not do it.

First things first: before you go to McGill, make sure you’re prepared for the winter semester in Montreal, if you’re going to be there for it. I cannot emphasize this enough. It comes before all the other suggestions I can think to give, like choosing your courses in advance and being prompt about sign-ups: bring layers, my friends. Lots and lots of layers. Also another suggestion, that I discovered far too late to be really useful: wearing an extra scarf when going out, it actually provides a surprising amount of warmth. Also prepare to double up on stockings (under jeans/trousers), gloves, and, of course, coats. But now I’ll stop scaring you.

Entrance to ChinatownThankfully, there are some really lovely aspects of McGill and Montreal that help mitigate the awfulness of winter. Poutine at Patatipatati (small and always busy, but oh so good), for instance. All-dressed burgers from Buns (couldn’t recommend his one highly enough). The casual friendliness of fellow students. Dollorama (prepare to spend your entire life shopping here!). What else? Mont Royal. Evenings spent in the Reading Room of the Birks building (AKA Hogwarts castle). 24-hour Redpath and Cyberthèque fun-times in exam period (I’m only half kidding; the truly insane night crowd at Redpath makes studying more entertaining than one would think). Affectionately mocking the Quebecois accent. Tam Tams on Sundays! Parc la Fontaine every other day. St. Catherine’s in the evening. Stores that stay open until 23h30, if not later. Welcome, in other words, to a big city. Don’t let the cold keep you indoors.


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