There are many different options to consider when it comes to choosing where to live throughout your time spent studying abroad, depending on where you’re going and what sort of lifestyle you like.
During my first year at the University of Glasgow I had the pleasure of living in Murano Street Student Village, an experience that many of you may have experienced yourselves. My time in halls made me question life and taught me a lot, from how to cook to how to be more independent. It was a bizarre time in my life which I enjoyed but didn’t want to repeat. For this reason I was pretty sure that I didn’t want to apply for halls in Montréal. I thought they’d be similar to Murano; pricey, far from campus and not located in a great area. However, the closer it got to leaving for Montréal, the more anxious I got that I would have no idea where I was going once I got off the plane after travelling for 24 hours to a country I had never been to before. This caused me to reconsider halls.
Everyone warned me of how expensive student accommodation was in North America and so I was expecting to find prices higher than what I paid for serving my time at Murano. Much to my surprise I found that the UQAM halls of residence would cost me half (!!!??!?!) of what I normally pay in Glasgow. £220 (incl. tax, bills, internet etc.) for a spacious 8 bed flat with two levels and great views. I typed the address of the residence into Google maps, expecting it to be at least a 20 minute walk from campus in an unpopular area. Even more to my surprise, I found that it was located right on campus, a 20 minute walk from the heart of Downtown Montreal. And with that I applied.
I had no idea what to expect (which is often the best way when on exchange). At half the price of Murano, I didn’t want to imagine what sort of flat I would find myself in and I had no idea who I would find myself living with. But I had nothing to worry about! I arrived to a huge, bright, open plan appartment, fitted with a new kitchen. I went into my room which reminded me of Murano. So my appartment was better than expected but I waited patiently to meet my flatmates. I was a nervous person who really struggled to talk to new people and converse with them for more than 5 minutes (I say ‘was’ because exchange has totally changed that and has boosted my confidence and people skills thankfully) so I dreaded meeting the people I would be living with for the next chapter of my life. An Australian girl arrived an hour after me and I went into the hall to greet her. From that moment we hit it off and I have made a best friend for life. I live with several Québécois students and several other exchange students which is a great mix as I can not only learn about Québécois culture but also other European and South American cultures as well. I have had a tremendous first semester with fellow exchange students who are like-minded and who have accompanied me on all my trips. Halls is a great way to meet like-minded people.
I have had a great experience of halls on exchange here in Montréal and it has been completely different from my stay in Murano but as I said at the start there are a few different options to consider. I also know a lot of people here who have had a great experience with private halls of residence and also with flat shares. The joy of exchange is that no matter where you stay you will meet great people from all over the world!
As always feel free to contact me with any questions at all and I’ll be very happy to help.
Best of luck with applications!
P.s. Here are some photos from my trip to New York. I stopped off for 5 days on the way from the UK to Montréal.