So far I wonder why I chose Canada to continue my studies. I had never been there and my only reference was a Frenchman who had been studying there for a year. Bored more and more of my first year of DEUG, I decide one evening to take a look on the internet. First of all, the Universities’ websites are as impressive as the list of programs on offer. In each institution you can learn everything: letter, science, communication, management, criminology, sexology… universities cover all kinds of unimaginable fields. I come face to face with the program of my dreams I try to understand these terms of bachelor’s, certificate, major and credit, and there, online from my little home, I start my application in the middle of October. I send the requested documents, I familiarize myself with the system thanks to the guide for foreign students that I receive, I am clearly explained the administrative procedures for my visa and 3 months later I am on the plane to Montreal.
Description of the school system
If you have your French Baccalaureate you will not have to face many difficulties to be admitted to the University. If your grades are really too low in a subject, depending on where you sign up, you will be offered a refresher course.
Quebecers return to university as soon as they receive their DEC (the equivalent of the Bac) which they obtain at the Cégep. As I understand it, it is the equivalent of the 1st and the terminal. Like the French system, we find the three cycles of the university system (we can compare it to the new reform, the LMD):
> first cycle: there is not really the equivalence of DEUG. The first level is the Bachelor’s degree
>2nd cycle: the Master’s degree which lasts a little over a year, a year for the courses and the rest to prepare his dissertation
> the third cycle the PhD A note the presence of the DESS, which is in Canada on the other hand a graduate degree that can be accessed at the end of their bachelor’s degree. A student who has a DEUG will be able to apply for the final year of the IBC.
Certificate, credit, Bac per cumulative
A successful course usually entitles you to 3 credits and to have a bachelor’s degree you have to have 90. What is original about this system are the different ways he excites to access his Baccalaureate. Either we follow a 3-year program or we reach the Bac by accumulating several “small diplomas”
These diplomas include: The major: diploma of 60 credits Certificate: program of 30 credits.
Combining a major and a certificate or accumulating 3 certificates are the different possibilities that are offered to you as soon as your choices make sense.
Example: a major in Cinema – a certificate in Communication, or a certificate in administration – a certificate in marketing – a certificate in finance, or communication, public relations – journalism or a major in psychology – a certificate in addiction prevention
In short, any kind of combination are possible which allows you to go directly into more specialized areas and you can play on the versatility card.
We can also enrol in courses that interest us even if they are not offered in our program list. However, appropriations will not be counted. Take advantage to take courses in languages, photography, writing, oral communication, computer science… You have a choice!
Another special feature: the choice of your school year, your schedule and your courses
Sessions begin in January and September. Depending on the program. Courses are also offered in the summer but not admissions.
At each start of the session, you choose your classes and schedules. Each class lasts 3 hours, and depending on the programs you have the choice of being in class either in the morning, afternoon or evening, (classes can end at 10pm) or even on weekends, yes even the day of the Lord!
Depending on the schedules schedules are offered for TP but it is you who decides whether you want to register or not. It is not mandatory, but if it is proposed then it is highly recommended.
To start, avoid taking more than 4 courses per session is 12 hours per week, but the personal workload is very high. The courses are as theoretical as they are practical, 2 or 3 exams on average for theory but you will often have team work that deals with case studies that you will present on nice PowerPoint and this is where the coefficient is most often important.
A session is between three and four months which is very fast. It is in this time frame that you will need to learn about your courses, understand them and pass them. At the next session, we sign up for new courses, it’s like a new year.
The advantage is that if you have failed a course you can resume it as soon as the next session. And even if it may unfortunately affect your general average, this course there will have no impact on those you have succeeded, we do not touch it. Another advantage is that if for any reason you decide not to take courses at one of the sessions, the university does not penalize you.
The university is only free for those who come in exchange. But be careful you have to check with your university.
For example, your master’s degree may be asked to do it in one year, while in the Canadian system you have the opportunity to have more time.
Otherwise the courses are paid, but it is far from the exorbitant prices of American universities. Moreover, the French like other Europeans are lucky enough to be exempt from university insurance which is very expensive.
The cost varies depending on the program, but on average enrolling four courses for a session costs around 500 euros.
The most important universities in Quebec
>University of Montreal: HEC and Polythetics Canada are affiliated with this University, which is the only one in Montreal that is not downtown but in the middle of greenery. www.umontreal.ca
> University of Quebec in Montreal: Located in the middle of downtown, this lively university is largely underground. It’s worth a look. www.uqam.ca
> University of Sherbrooke: This university where the place of science is very important is located in the great city of Sherbrooke which lies between Montreal and the United States www.usherbrooke.ca
> University of Laval: rather good at science, it is the closest university to Quebec City. www.ulaval.ca
Anglophones: and why not take courses in English in a French-speaking city…
To be admitted, you must take an English test.
> McGill University: is a reputable university, where architecture is very English-speaking. Located on the English side of the city centre, don’t expect to be understood in your French! www.mcgill.ca
>Guy Concordia: Located in the heart of the city, it offers a wide variety of programs www.concordia.ca
The associative life in the Universities is very developed and the means very important: huge sports center, wireless Internet network room, cultural workshop. There are also many cafes, restaurants or bars within the university that are ideal places for parties. Everything is done for the success of the students. Teachers who hold important positions in very large companies motivate students.
Find accommodation in Montreal
Even if rents continue to rise, you will be surprised to find that you will be able to find very nice and spacious apartments despite your limited means.
For 400 euros you can find a beautiful 3-room apartment (kitchen, bedroom, separate living room) 10 minutes from the city center and 15 minutes you will find 100 euros less. Note that in most buildings, heating and electricity are included in the rent and in Montreal at the moment we do not pay for water! That’s a lot less bills. Otherwise for a three-piece electricity rarely exceeds 20 euros per month, on the other hand we do not say as much for the heating that can cost you very expensive. Remember, it’s 6 months of intense winter.
You can also find well-equipped and furnished studios for those who decide to stay for a year.
Of course there are also university studios, but you have to do it in advance. Dear for their small size they will soon seem depressing, but it is a good start to get to know each other.
The number of rooms is shown in front of a 1/2 that represents the bathroom.
1 1/2 – one room and one bathroom
4 1/2 – two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and bathroom
There is a government agency, the Housing Authority, which aims to protect the rights of the tenant. You will learn that sureties are prohibited, as are additional deposits and post-dated cheques.
Insurance is not mandatory, but in Montreal you pay every 1st of the month, not the 10th or the 20th because the owner can in turn file a complaint with the Board.
Count 33 euros for a high-speed Internet connection and 23 euros for a telephone line with answering machine. The phone is paid as a monthly fee because local calls are free.
Living in Montreal
In the city the streets are long and perpendicular, it is quite easy to find your way around on a map and if you have to indicate a corner it is better to name the cross street. It is a very clean city is very green with its many parks. Very safe, the police are present everywhere and a miscellaneous fact can make the front page very quickly. Quebecers are very friendly and open-minded. We learn to give way to women, to stop and smile every 2 minutes to those who want to pet your dog, to queue at the bus stop, to say hello and goodbye to the bus drivers who answer thank you to each person who gets off.
This city is totally bilingual. It’s amazing how sellers switch from English to French so easily.
Life in general is fairly affordable, stores are open on weekends until 9 p.m., and some grocery stores are open 24 hours a day. If you do not have the option to buy an item on the same day, stores can leave your items aside for 15 days or 1 month. If you were not satisfied with your purchase you have the same amount of time to be refunded or exchanged. Shoe, printer, jeans’, bag, phone? all the articles go through it.
A day not to be missed THE BOXING DAY. December 26th of each year is the very big liquidation of all stores. Everything has to be emptied, it’s a real madness.
But beware of Taxes!
Quebec is the only province that has two taxes which raises your items by 15%. What can very quickly annoy newcomers is that these taxes that are present everywhere are not indicated on prices, but it happened at the cash register that we add this supplement on the total of your bill.
Opening an account is not very complicated and free for students. You will be offered a debit card that will allow you to make your daily purchases.
Keep your French Credit Card which can help you to rent a car for example. There are Canadian and Quebec programs that allow students and even their spouses to work (under certain conditions), allowing them to finance their studies. Internships and small jobs offered by the university are also options. But these revenues are not enough to survive. For scholarship applications, consult your region’s proposals. However, we live very well without necessarily having big means, if the roommate does not bother you will earn a lot on the rent.
The climate is really an experience to live. The winter is very cold and very long on average it is between -10 and -30 degrees. Extremely warm clothing is essential for weathering snowstorms, wind and frozen sidewalks.
To survive all this there is a real underground city in Montreal, no need to get out of the subway to shop, lunch, go to work, the university library or even the cinema.
Transportation is well served and websites display the timetables of each bus stop. (For students it’s 20 euros per month for the metro/bus card).
Driving in Montreal can be quite confusing. First, get used to traffic lights that are not at your level, but after the intersection. After getting used to going around in circles because of the large number of signs that forbid you to turn at the intersection.
There is room to park, but plenty of signs that forbid you.
For example, you can find original traffic signs that defend you from parking on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 1am and 8am, but you can do so from Monday to Friday only for 1 hour and this between 9am and 6pm!! Not easy to read? So imagine in the car. And don’t think you’re going to switch to tickets that are given by private people hired by the city.
Canada is the country of extreme temperatures. Summer is a time to experience in your life but the temperatures are very high. With the opening of the festivals, the F1 Grand Prize, the annual fireworks competition, Montreal is a bustling city that is hard not to fall in love with very quickly.
Of course, how can we not talk about the Quebec accent and its various expressions. We learn them every day and it is better to assimilate them quickly if we want to be understood.