“Oh you’re going to Canada for a year? Make sure to pack warm clothes!!” This is all I heard for about 5 months before I left for Montréal and I arrive to a month of 30 degree heat. I have definitely got the wear out of the one pair of shorts I packed. However, I am not complaining! But wherever you are thinking of heading for the year, make sure to check what the weather is like all year round
Catching the end of summer has been a great opportunity to see the city and take part in all the summer activities Montréal has to offer. The city offers a multitude of activities including whale watching trips, a high ropes course, canoeing and zip-lining, to name but a few. These activities stop running around mid-September. Therefore, I would advise thoroughly researching the activities in which you would like to partake before arriving in your host city. This way, not only do you have something to look forward to, but you also don’t miss out on anything you’d like to try or see before the colder weather comes. Most exchange students arrive in North America about two weeks before the semester starts and these couple of weeks are the perfect chance to explore your new home. I made a “Montréal Bucket List” to ensure I see as much as possible in the year and so far I have ticked off quite a few things!
From the first few days I arrived in Montréal, I knew I loved it. The city offers a rare atmosphere which I believe is unique to Montréal. The mix of cultures is so apparent and really helps you to have a more open view of the city and the people who live here. When I talk of a ‘mix of cultures’ you may imagine a mix of North American and European, but in fact, Montréal is home to a very wide range of people from all over the world. To put this into perspective, out of all the people I have met in Montréal so far, only about four of them have been born and raised here. Anyone and everyone is welcome here.
After experiencing such a great first few days in Montréal and being on a constant high, I waited for the low to kick in. I waited and waited… and I am still waiting. At the study abroad meetings you are always warned that you will have to battle through the low points such as culture shock and home-sickness, however, don’t let this put you off going abroad. I am yet to experience a real low and I am far too busy having new experiences and making the most of every opportunity that comes my way to miss home. Before going abroad I thought I would miss everything about Glasgow and my great friends who I have left there, but the reality is, Glasgow will still be there when you return, your friends will keep in touch and welcome you back. Of course I miss Glasgow but study abroad is an incredible opportunity which I believe every student should consider carefully, whether it appeals to you at first glance or not. I only had to Google image “Montréal” and I was sold (and it is better in real life than it is in the pictures).
I hope you can sense my love for Montréal through this post and now that I have got that out of my system I hope to focus on more practical advice, the sort of things I wish someone had told me before arriving overseas concerning food, travel, accommodation and learning French in a bilingual city.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or for more information concerning anything at all. I am always very happy to talk about all things year abroad and Montréal.