For modern language students, going abroad is unavoidable. You go into your degree aware that you are going to have to spend time abroad, perhaps that is even your reason for choosing a modern language degree. As a student of French, I knew in the back of my head I would be spending a year abroad but it never really sunk in that one day I would actually have to speak French in a real life situation. The reality set in when I had to choose where I wanted to spend my year abroad. I chose to apply to study in Montréal, Canada, through International Study Abroad. This blog post will hopefully reassure you that the application process is not as scary as it first seems.
For students of French, there is only one option with International Study Abroad and that is at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM), where I currently study. I chose this option because I wanted to go somewhere I had never been before, I have been to France and Belgium multiple times throughout my life but I had never been to Canada. I couldn’t pass the once in a lifetime opportunity to live in Canada while still receiving funding from Student Finance.
The application deadlines for International Study Abroad are slightly earlier than Erasmus application deadlines so bear this in mind. There are many steps to the application process and this can make second year seem like a year dedicated to form filling and waiting on emails and letters. Here are some pointers to help ensure you don’t become overwhelmed by the application process:
- Get excited about where you are applying! – Before I started the application process I made sure I definitely wanted to spend my year in Montréal. I researched the city and the area thoroughly and got excited about potentially studying there. This helped make the application a little easier and provided me with motivation to actually get my forms filled and to spend time over my application.
- Keep on top of your paperwork – I kept a folder of all my Study Abroad documents, leaflets, applications etc. and it made my life so much easier. When you receive a letter, or new application form just pop it in your folder. Simple. I never once had to think “where is that piece of paper?” because I knew it would be in my ‘wee’ folder. I am still using the same ‘wee’ folder today.
- Apply early – applications are boring and always seem to be pushed aside until the last minute but having your application in and out of the way is such a relief and means you still have time to concentrate on your studies, to ensure you get the grades to actually go abroad.
- Don’t let the UQAM application worry you – after applying to International Study Abroad you are required to then apply directly to UQAM. You will receive information about what you have to do to apply. The next steps of the application are all in French and there is quite a list of things to be sent with your application. Take it one step at a time. There were four students from Glasgow applying last year and so we met up and tackled some of the application together which made things easier and also gave us a chance to get to know each other.
- Phone Interviews are not as bad as you think – UQAM require you to complete a telephone interview. This is to ensure your French is at an acceptable standard and perhaps more so to place you in classes. The telephone interview falls during the June exam period and so can be more stressful than it needs to be. It is nothing to worry about.
Throughout the application process there were times when I wanted to give up. I questioned why I was studying French and whether I would get the grades to even study abroad. Being on the other side of the application I can tell you now it is so worth it.
Here are some photos to try and prove that the application process is totally worth it and to help make this boring (but hopefully useful) blog post a bit more exciting:
Get in contact with any questions you have concerning Study Abroad or Montréal. I am always more than happy to help!