Better than Europe Past Review

By (Translation and Comparative Literature, Wellesley College) - abroad from 09/01/2014 to 04/30/2015 with

University of Montreal: Montreal - Direct Enrollment and Exchange

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
I gained language skills (I now feel fluent in French and am comfortable specifically in the Quebec dialect). I gained a new hometown, a love of a lively, friendly, beautiful, FUN city.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 1 month - 6 months

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Although the university of Montreal is a large research university, I felt as though I received plenty of personal attention. Most of my professors were excellent. Even in larger lectures, participation was encouraged. Evaluations were consistent and fair, and the professors were available and interested in my progress when I made an effort to seek them out.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

The University of Montreal was bureaucratic but not particularly difficult to deal with. All communications were in French, however, so a student with minimal language skills might have trouble. The Killam Fellowship was excellent, extremely well-organized and supportive.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived off-campus in an apartment I rented from Get Your Place, a service which provides short-term furnished apartments for exchange students in Montreal. I highly recommend living off-campus: Montreal is a VERY affordable city compared to the rest of North America and public transportation is good. However, the Get Your Place service was a rip off. I was overcharged, the apartments were in need of repairs, and the people in charge of the service were unhelpful. If possible I would recommend arriving early and arranging your own housing using websites like Craigslist or

* Food:

I cooked myself and ate out, Montreal is an incredible food city! Poutine, Portuguese and Turkish food, late-night corner stores, s huge variety of grocery stores and restaurants.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

Very, but I had to seek it out. The Killam Fellowship fall orientation in Ottawa was very helpful as it helped me meet some native Montrealers. Otherwise I joined clubs, sought out local activities, and generally put myself or there a lot.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

The campus health services were great. I was able to get service in English, the nurses and doctors were helpful and quick.

* Safety:

Montreal is a very safe city. Much more so than Seattle or Boston, cities where I have previously lived. Other than basic common sense, there is very little to worry about.

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)

My rent was higher than it should have been because of the Get Your a place service, but generally speaking Montreal is an easy city to budget in. There are lots of free entertainment options and food + drink can be found cheap if you're budgeting!

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? $100-200 depending on entertainment.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Get a student OPUS card for public transport, it's a fraction the price of paying for each trip. Do your research and find the cheapest supermarkets, there's one on St.-Laurent that's cash only and half the price of the big ones! You don't need to spend more than $300-450 a month on rent, and can probably find a place for less.


* 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

All my courses were in French as was all administration. In Montreal you have to pick whether you seek out English or French: you can easily live in one language or the other.

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? Advanced
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? Advanced French literature
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? Avoid McGill and the McGill area, where most English-speakers congregate. Attend UdeM programs and extra-curriculars. Go out in the Plateau rather than Downtown for more heavily French-speaking bars/clubs and restaurants. Make the effort!

Direct Enrollment/Exchange

* Did you study abroad through an exchange program or did you directly enroll in the foreign university? Direct Enrollment

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • 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?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Living in Montreal
  • Québécois French
  • My roommates
* What could be improved?
  • Ease of finding cheap housing
  • The Winter
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Montreal is a cheap city to live in, it's worth seeking out affordable housing! And it's such a great city you'll never want to leave.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
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.