My name is Terri and I’m a second year Bachelor of Exercise and Nutrition Science student. Since I’m studying nutrition, all my courses were at the McGill Macdonald Campus on the west island near a small town called Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. As all my classes were here, I also lived on campus in an apartment style residence known as EcoResidence which I organized before I left home through McGill, as getting one of these rooms is very competitive and there is a fairly early cut-off date. The stress this caused was definitely rewarded though when I got my first pick to live with 5 other people, two of whom were also from other countries outside Canada. A big part of what made my experience here so great was that I lived with such awesome people.

At McGill, taking 5 courses is the norm, so if when you start, juggling all your reading material, assignment work, studying and other stuff is not easy, by the end you’ll be a pro – I should know, I had to study and be prepared for 3 exams on one day! The length of the lectures here are also longer (1.5 hours), which can be a bit of a shock to the system if maintaining your focus for just 50 minutes is a feat as it is for me. But despite that, the class sizes are a lot smaller (at the Mac campus they are anyway) which allows for more interaction with the lecturers, who actually insist that students ask them questions.

Though I had no shortage of work to do, I still made time to do some exploring like visiting friends in Ottawa, going to Toronto, Quebec City and even Vancouver. Seeing snow for the first time in Montreal was also pretty cool, especially because one day it was green and the next, almost 10cm worth had be dumped – it was a really nice surprise to wake up to!

My top 5 tips:

  • If you have classes downtown, take the free shuttle to visit the Mac Campus, they’re so different it’s unreal, plus it’s a pretty, peaceful and kind of a relaxing place
  • Even if you’re not a vegan like me, you must visit Viva Vegan on St-Laurent for the cupcakes - they are AMAZING, even my meat eating friends loved them
  • Being prepared for the cold here means buying a winter jacket in Canada, the cold we experience in Brisbane will in no way compare to the cold here so don’t even bother buying a jacket before you go (I say this from personal experience!)
  • Join MISN, it’s the McGill International Students Network, not only will they take you on trips out of the city to places such as Toronto or Boston, but they also organize parties and events to meet other exchange students
  • Bring more money with you than you might think you’ll need – in Quebec you are charged two taxes on everything you buy so things don’t always work out to be as cheap as you thought they were.

 

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