How to make the most of your exchange

Hey there!



They say time flies when you’re having fun, but you never really realize how true that saying is until you’re almost out of time! As I enter the final stretch of my exchange, I’m squeeze every last drop of experience out in my adopted country. Then I thought, why not use this opportunity to help the next generation to make the most out of their exchange too. So here are a few of my favourite ways to make sure your year abroad is the best year of your life!

 

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Yes, that is a picture of me in a Stitch suit in-front of the Capitol. 


A few of these tips are specific to Montreal, but you can easily find your university/country’s equivalent 🙂

 

Student associations

 

A classic option, but it’s a classic for a reason. Make sure you sign up to some adventurous ones. You’re on exchange, so it’s your opportunity to discover some new and exciting activities. In my uni, the associations are more based around your field of study than extra-curricular activities, but that doesn’t mean they don’t do some great trips! Some of the more notable ones include dog-sledding or renting out a lake-side cabin in the woods for a weekend.

 

For anyone going to ESG UQAM their Voya-G team is great, I would advise checking out their snow tubing event. It is both amazing and the cheapest way to do the activity. McGill and Concordia also have some killer events going on, so I would definitely recommend liking their Facebook pages. Events are usually open to all university students so feel free to check them out.

 

Exchange student groups

 

These can be organized by your university’s international office, various student accommodations or even standalone groups. I can promise you that you’ll meet more likeminded people in day at these events than in a month by yourself 😉 Their activity calendar is usually directed towards students spending only a semester abroad, so if you want to see as much as you can but don’t have the luxury of time, this is your solution.

 

If your looking to tick some of the more mainstream options off your bucket-list, definitely check out Interstude. They hit up all the big cities on the East Coast for very reasonable price. From Miami to New York, this is definitely my favorite option. You’ll be surrounded by other excited exchange students the entire time and even their tour guides are on exchange.

 

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Hanging out in Washington with some exchange students

Groupon

 

A bit of a non-conventional option, but surprisingly useful. While I was procrastinating one day, I stumbled across the site and turns out it offers a lot of exciting activities for very competitive prices. From axe throwing to bungee jumping, it’s all there and all way cheaper than if you try to reserve yourself.

 

Reserve transport in advance

 

This is a bit of a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many times you’ll hear “I didn’t book my tickets before and now it’s too expensive”. Being students, we all know the value of money and unfortunately cheap transport isn’t as developed in Canada as the UK. Same goes for accommodation.

 

My final word of advice is to draw up a rough budget. I know it’s boring and it can be tough having to decide in advance what you can or can’t do, but it will really allow you to squeeze the most out of both your time and money.

As always, if you have any questions or queries about Montreal or exchange in general, don’t hesitate to drop me a mail at 2149193k@stuent.gla.ac.uk or via Facebook!

A la prochaine,
Matthew

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