UQ Program: Bachelors of Arts/Journalism

One of the best decisions I’ve ever made was to apply to McGill and go and live in Montreal for a semester. The culture is so fantastic, the people are lovely and the place is one of the liveliest I’ve seen. There are few things that I’ll miss more than my semester at McGill, a university that knows how to show an exchange student a fantastic time abroad!
As I arrived at the very beginning of September, I missed a lot of the summer festivities that Montreal is known for. Thankfully, some of these continued well into September and so I was able to spend my sunny Sunday afternoons at the Tam-Tams, where hundreds of people get together and jam with their drums and other instruments for several hours in an incredible atmosphere, and Piknic Electronik at the beautiful Parc Jean-Drapeau on Ile Saint-Helene. But even if you don’t get to see the summer, there are plenty of ways to get to know this kind of lively culture that the city is so famous for, such as walking along St-Denis, seeing a Habs game, or going for poutine at La Banquise at 3am. There’s also a whole different culture just hours from Montreal and in all directions – Quebec City, Toronto and New York are great and easy places to travel to while on exchange. The western side of Canada also has some pretty amazing places, particularly in winter when the mountains are snowy and the ski slopes at their finest.

Winter in Montreal brought about an entirely new way of life for me. I spent it having fun in the snow, sledding at Mont-Royal and Parc, drinking hot apple cider in the park, and appreciating being warm and indoors after trekking through several feet of snow outside. Investing in good, waterproof winter boots was definitely a great decision! Though temperatures as low as -20 degrees were a bit of a shock at first, it’s manageable as long as you are prepared for it and do your winter shopping early enough. Being prepared for erratic weather changes and abnormal temperatures can come in useful too – while I was there, it went from -10 to +4 over two days and suddenly switched from snow to rain.

I found McGill to be quite similar to UQ in terms of subject workload and difficulty. On the downside, UQ students are required to take 5 courses at McGill which means a little more work and time management are required. McGill students are quite dedicated to their academia, and so you will constantly have to fight for space in McLennan and the cybertheque throughout the semester even at very early hours of the morning. I’ve heard that the late-night crew are an interesting bunch.

One of the things that made McGill such a great exchange experience was the clubs and societies at the university. Between the McGill International Students’ Network and the McGill Quidditch Team, I had the time of my life and met so many people that I’m sure I’ll keep in touch with. Be sure to find the clubs and societies you’re interested in, and get yourself to Street Fest or Activities Night to sign up for a few. Considering how much school spirit McGill students seem to have, you won’t regret it and are basically guaranteed to have an awesome time.
If you’re thinking of doing your exchange at McGill, my advice would be to go for it and you’ll find out exactly why McGill students have so much fun.  J’ADORE MONTRÉAL!

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