The student experience in Montréal
What comes to a student’s mind when they hear the verb “learn”? It’s such a simple yet complicated question…
Depending on the educational system we grew up with, learning could be a duty required by parents worried about their child’s future. But in my new system, it’s a means of personal emancipation. And I discovered this new system in Montréal.
Valued theoretical learning
Formal learning is obviously achieved through education. I myself chose HEC Montréal for that. It’s one of the top business schools in Canada. Thanks to innovative courses constantly being rethought, students are being prepared to manage new businesses. From a general perspective, if reading and writing are developed in all forms of education, then learning speech is what makes the North American system so rewarding. Why? Because sharing ideas, in classroom debates or problem-solving competitions, cannot be better conveyed than through speech, allowing us to think over the world in which we live and our connection to education.
Theoretical learning to be valued
On the other hand, isn’t the most important thing about formal learning actually being able to put it into practice by working? All the full-time and part-time jobs available in Montréal provide a wide field for experimenting in critical thinking. By trying out jobs such as research assistant, information clerk or infrastructures department employee at my school, I had the opportunity to develop my classroom learnings to better assimilate them. Project planning, teaching, and team management: I was able to develop my skills at the same time as my knowledge.
Montréal also has a fairly large community of volunteers to emphasize this. It’s possible to get involved with school committees, but I also recommend looking into non-profits, outside universities, to surround yourself with people that have professional experience in the related field. I myself chose to get involved with Muscular Dystrophy Canada to raise funds to finance public research into developing new drugs. If you’re interested in volunteer work, I urge you to sign up on the Volunteer Bureau of Montréal site, which always offers some satisfying work.
If you’re an entrepreneur, the city is full of financial, material and human resources to get your projects off the ground. If you want to create your own business or start your own political party at age 18, do like I did, and jump into it! Remember, support is one of Montréal’s strong suits.
Renew yourself in Montréal
Studying in Montréal means finally knowing when to take a break to recharge your batteries. If you want to enjoy the outdoors, know that there are lots of parks to enjoy the summer sun and skating rinks in the winter. However, if you’re looking for some culture, be sure to take advantage of the free events for students at public museums. Also, go wander the streets, discover your own sanctuaries for wellbeing. Try things out! Discover the joys of a well-deserved break at the Botanical Garden, with an ice cream from Chocolats Favoris in one hand, and a LApop waffle in the other. Montréal is a city on a human scale that gets reinvented by its people.
Changing educational systems is one of the best things to have happened to me. Taking the plunge could be difficult for a foreign student but nothing beats having access to all the resources you need to reach your full potential.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Montréal International.