Moving to Montréal, the adventure of a lifetime

May 29, 2023

If you are reading this article in Europe or French-speaking Africa, get ready to pack your bags because you will probably get the urge to leave your country to embark on a new adventure in Montréal!

A fresh start on the other side of the world

The story of this trip to the other side of the world starts in the French Alps, specifically Gap, when one of my teachers suggested that I study abroad.

English-speaking countries didn’t really appeal to me. I’d even say I was afraid of them. I wanted to improve my English but I also wanted to live in a French-speaking environment. If you’re in the same situation as I was in, there are several destinations available in Europe: Switzerland, Luxembourg, Monaco or Belgium. But my thirst for adventure led me to Canada, and more precisely to Québec.

And it was in this beautiful province where I was charmed by the city of Montréal. Its rate of bilingualism was one of the highest in the world. This meant Montréal would allow me to work in French and live in an environment where over 140 languages were spoken, including English, of course. Montréal and I seemed to be a match made in heaven.

However, jumping on the first plane out would have been hasty, because once you choose to take the plunge, patience will be your best virtue when it comes to preparing your visa and study permit.

Studying in an international, cosmopolitan, safe and tolerant environment

Are you afraid? Don’t worry, the process may seem long, but the adventure you are about to embark on is incredible.

Don’t believe me? All right, then just Google “best student city in the world ranking.” You will find Montréal in the top 15.

You can also search for “safest cities in the world” if you’re worried. You won’t be surprised to learn that Forbes magazine ranks Montréal the third-safest city in the world. It’s reassuring to know that when you want to head home at three in the morning by public transit, you won’t need to look over your shoulder every 10 seconds.

Well, if some of you are still not sure, you should read up on the other rankings for diversity, inclusion and tolerance. I’ll bet you a poutine that Montréal is on the list.

And how are my studies going? Well, I don’t want to use the word INCREDIBLE. Montréal, and more generally Québec, has many agreements with French-speaking countries in Europe, which makes it easier for you to relocate here!

A huge buffet of course offerings

Confused by the heading? Let me explain.

The many schools in Montréal, especially universities, have a particular way of working compared to France. Here, depending on your program or school, students are allowed to choose the courses that make up their program. And I must admit that was quite a surprise. So the choice is yours!

My French friends often ask me: “What’s it like studying in Montréal?” Then I feel like asking them back: “Have you looked at the global ranking for Montréal universities?” As you can imagine, McGill, Concordia, and Université de Montréal are among the top ranked.

I could also tell them about the grading system, which is somewhat different. Goodbye numbers, hello letters. You might say it’s a minor detail. But not so much. This grading system is less stressful since there are only four grade options: A, B, C or D. Oh no, five, there’s also F for failure, but that’s not so cool.

Anyway, since I moved here in 2019, I’ve never really left. I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents, my grandparents, my friends and my brother who supported me in this adventure.

Of course, there’s still so much to talk about and so many topics to cover.

To support you in your adventure in Montréal, which is bound to be one of the best ever in your life, listen to my “Salut Montréal” podcast (in French) available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, where other students like Lara, Amandine and many others share their experience.

Also be sure to check out my Instagram and TikTok: Florian au Canada.

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