Incredible experience dans la belle province de Quebec Past Review

By (International Affairs, University of Maine at Orono) - abroad from 08/28/2012 to 04/30/2013 with

University of Montreal: Montreal - Direct Enrollment and Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
Learned tons of life skills. Became more mature. Learned to manage my time. Made tons of friends. Found new interests. Really improved my French skills.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 6 months+

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

There's not really much to be said here- I pretty much just got there, went and got my key to my room,and figured out the rest myself. However, that's part of the challenge, growing up and learning to do things on your own. It's difficult but I don't really need my hand held through everything. The English skills of the people at the bureau des etudiants internationaux were a bit lacking, and it would have been a bit helpful at the beginning when I was still kind of bad in French, but it's my job to speak their language anyway so it isn't really a big thing. It IS however interesting to note that their English level wasn't that great since about 100% of unskilled workers in Montreal (people who work at McDonalds) are fully bilingual. Just a small point.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I was quite satisfied with my living arrangements. I had to do all of my cooking myself, which is just part of growing up and being more independent I guess. That being said, with the amount of people there were in the dorms at l'UdeM, there weren't enough kitchens at all, so I suppose most people just ate processed foods or snuck in ranges that they could plug in in their rooms.

* Food:

Again, I did most of my cooking myself, and the rest of the food I pretty much ate was poutine and alcohol, so no complaints there.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I felt extremely well integrated in the culture. All I had to do was get out there and talk to people. It was especially helpful being in the dorms as I was able to make many lifelong friends and easily go see them. We were like a family.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The only health problem I could have faced in Montreal was frostbite, which is prevented by dressing warm. That being said, I never had to go in the hospital or anything, but I was a bit disappointing that I had to pa $335 per semester for health insurance that I didn't use, but in the greater scheme of things it isn't a huge deal.

* Safety:

Montreal is possibly the safest city ever. People are so helpful with helping you get around, and you can walk around intoxicated at 4 am with no worries. The only violence in the city comes from police brutality, but that's not really a huge deal.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

I was able to live on a budget of about $60 a week pretty well. Once you learn to live within your means, which I did, budget doesn't really become a problem. Just be mindful with your spending, buy what you need and nothing more. Time management, financial management, get that together and be successful.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I spent $45 per month on a student travel pass which covered unlimited metro/buss. I spent about 30 bucks on groceries, 20 bucks on alcohol, 5 bucks on coat checks at the club, and maybe like 20 dollars on getting other snacks here and there.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Learn to cook, don't waste money on dumb stuff, be resistant to your urges, be smart.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

My program was entirely taught in French, no English.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Intermediate
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Fluent
What was the highest level language course you had completed prior to departure? FRE 305
How many hours per day did you use the language?
Do you have any tips/advice on the best ways to practice the language for future study abroad participants? Social skydiving. Just get out there and talk to people. Don't be lame and hang out with other English speakers- I even had Australian and British friends with whom I spoke in French for the most part. If people speak to you in English because you're horrible in a given language, insist that they talk to you in your target language. Try your best. You will be rewarded. I'd say that I'd be at the "superior" level of fluency in terms of my French afterwards.

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Dorm
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • International Students
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with? 10+

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • The quality of instruction
  • The friends I made
  • The night life
* What could be improved?
  • Canada could lower their taxes
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? How to save my money so I could have traveled more :P

Reasons For Studying Abroad

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The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.