A place where you can grow

June 16, 2020

Hi there I am Emmanuel. I am from Brussels and have been living in Montréal for five years. I was an international student and I am now working with a post-study permit as a software developer and scrum master in a R&D company.

If you have been considering moving to Montréal for studies and are wondering whether to take the leap, this article may well be just for you.
If I were to describe Montréal to my best friend, I’d describe it as a city where “one can grow in a friendly environment and explore many different centers of interest”. If you are a seed, Montréal is the fertile soil.

A welcoming environment for the foreigner

Let’s start with the welcoming environment. As you will learn, or are currently learning, leaving friends, family and home behind to move some place new is an exciting experience also accompanied with all sorts of doubts: am I doing the right choice? Is it the right destination? Why am I doing this already? How will I feel?

This questioning is hard but the great news with a city such as Montréal is that you are not alone facing these fears. Every year, thousands of students are leaving their home and arrive in Montréal, going through the same questioning you currently experience. Every year, the same worries are expressed. Trust me that over time a real experience in addressing those questions was developed. The universities in Montréal are filled with people ready to support and to help you finding answers.

The welcome for international students is top notch. I speak from experience: we had a whole welcome day at Polytechnique Montréal dedicated for us international students. All our questions were addressed and the office for international student remained open all year long to help us. After the official welcome by the school, it’s the local and international students who take the lead to help your integration. They will organize activities for you: they will help you explore the city, they will take you to parties, they will bring you to visit Quebec, Ottawa and many other places. They know your struggles and will be the perfect people to make them become old memories. Soon you may very well become the student welcoming the newcomer and laugh at your past worries.

Growing after the arrival

Some time after your arrival, past the initial adaptation, the city starts revealing itself differently. You are used to the place, you know your way, you made some new friend and you slowly start seeing the city for what it is: a place filled with options.
All kinds of different people pursuing different interests over time lead to the creation of tons of different activities, festivals, concerts, meetings, events to satisfy all the different tastes. Once you have become accustomed to the city, you will quickly find groups of people sharing the same interests as you. In Montréal you will find all sorts of profiles from the artists, to the political activists, to the technical experts, to the do-it-yourself-ers,… It’s honestly hard to get bored.

That’s why I love the city. You can grow your field(s) of interest at will and meet people who help you grow. As a young adult it is particularly pleasant to feel that you can follow the direction that draws you. This coupled with the opportunity to receive a post-study work permit is a great chance.

A special atmosphere

I arrived in Montréal with a clear objective in mind: get my degree. After that it took some time to get a clearer idea of what I expected of life. Hopefully I now have attained a renewed sense of clarity. I know what I like, I work on what I want (I started my own website) and I enjoy myself a lot.

I believe this inner exploration would not have been possible without all the beautiful people I have met in Montréal, who expanded my horizons and helped me become me. Those people were kind and helpful because others were kind and helpful to them.

Montréal creates this special atmosphere which makes people open-minded and willing to help. If you know someone who lived there, he/she will know what I’m talking about.

To conclude, Montréal is an excellent place to be as a student and as a young graduate. I invite you to give it a try.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Montréal International.