Letter: Experiencing Montreal As an International Student

Ever since high school, I’ve been fascinated with the student life in the Western world.

Experiencing a culture different from my own was something that I knew I had to do. My home country is India, which has an education system similar to the British one. I was determined to study at some point in a Canadian university.

Concordia had a program which was a perfect match for me because it was short-term and I would not get too homesick, and I fit the requirements for the degree in journalism!

It was surprising to see how quickly I made new friends during my first summer in Montreal. I met wonderful people from varied cultural backgrounds, with a story completely different from mine!

Undoubtedly though, like most international students, I experienced a culture shock at first. Even though I come from a culturally diverse country, one of the biggest cultural differences I noticed was how Montrealers conduct themselves. The streets are immaculate and orderly. While using the escalator, if you decide to walk, you stay to the left creating your own walking lane and if you decide to just stand on the escalator you form a single line to the right so the people walking could pass easily.

I also noticed that they always seem to dress well, and always have their hair and makeup done. I don’t think I saw one person not well-dressed even late at night! At times, it is hard to catch up with the fashion game. These are the little nitty gritties I have noticed during my time in Montreal so far. I tried to adapt to most of it over time.

The number one tip I have for anyone relating to my experience being an international student in Montreal is to carpe diem and savor every moment. Take in all the sights, smells, and noise and appreciate it! Try and sink in the culture. Take lots of pictures, save ticket stubs, and go with the flow. Remember: the most amazing experiences aren’t planned! It took me no time fall in love with this city. Without a doubt, I miss my family and friends back home, but we are blessed to have the gift of technology!

I don’t necessarily have plans to have a career in Montreal. Although, there is so much more to Montreal that I haven’t experienced. This city simply never fails to amaze me with each passing day.

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