By Yash Khapre
Congratulations and welcome to the Faculty of Engineering! Coming to Montreal to study is an exciting yet relatively challenging task. As an international student, life can initially be much tougher for you than it is for others. The reasons for this include the inability to go home often, a completely different culture and, for many, the infamous Montreal winter.
Many people who live in Canada or in the United States can go home rather easily for a few days during the school year, whether it’s during a long weekend or for the holidays. Therefore, there can be times when you are alone in Montreal or without many of your close friends around.
There are a few ways to avoid feeling alone and getting through these tough times. One way is to join one of the many clubs at McGill. This will allow you to not only expand your circle of friends, but it will also ensure that you will always have something to do that is fun and productive. Another way to get past these tough times is to keep in touch with your family back home. For most people, moving to a new city for university is newfound independence and freedom. Remember that your family will be worried at first on how you’re doing so call them every so often to not only reduce their stress but also for you to get that support you might not be able to get if your friends are away.
Secondly, Montreal and Quebec in general can be super difficult to adjust to. Although English is spoken almost everywhere in Montreal, French is still extremely prominent in the region. It may be hard for some of you who don’t speak French to get used to the way of life, but people here are generally very friendly so take it as a challenge and hopefully you might be able to pick up the language at the end of your years at McGill.
Lastly, the infamous Montreal winter will probably be one of the most challenging parts of your first year at McGill, especially if you’re from a warm country. However, even though it can be difficult to endure the cold nights and short days, Montreal offers a variety of different activities and festivals during the winter season. You and your friends should take advantage of everything Montreal has to offer during this time to make the time pass quicker and the days more exciting. These events often have free food, activities, and a bunch of other fun stuff that can help reduce the winter’s toll on you.
Overall, this new chapter at McGill will be one that I’m sure you will enjoy thoroughly. Try to make as many friends as possible as they will really help you get past any personal or academic obstacles as well as help you create memories that will remain with you for the rest of your life. Make sure to use every available resource here at McGill, they’re here to help you! Most importantly though, just go with the flow and enjoy every moment. ♦