A semester or two ahead of you in Montreal, your plane banks to the left giving you an exhilarating view of Mont Royal and Mont Tremblant in the distance as you descend into Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport. Over the next few months your life is going to change and what an adventure is it going to be!
Here are five realizations you’ll make in your first few days:
Am I In Europe?
I thought I flew to North America, not across the Atlantic! Seriously, between the architecture, the French signs and greetings, and the constant tobacco smoking, it is easy to forget that you are just a few miles North of Hillary and Trump. As a matter of fact, Quebec flags outnumber Canadian flags here by at least ten to one. Were it not for hockey, I’m not sure that Quebec would even be identifiable as Canadian.
Actually, Where In The World Am I?
Apparently, I’m not in Europe; the love of ice hockey and ice fishing sold it out but still, where am I? Around me are people of every ethnicity and language. Students explain work to each other in English, French, Mandarin, Arabic, Swahili, Dutch and every imaginable language. Wait! This must be Canada! With their open arms to immigrants, it can only be. My university hosts students from over 150 countries and the majority of its 45,000 students are international.
Anything is Possible Here!
Where would I find myself on one of my first nights in the city? At a free EDM street party hosted by the Cycling Grand Prix, having the time of my life. Are you a vegan, a freegan, an omnivore, a dumpster diver, a hipster, a triathlete, a yogi, an environmentalist,a dreamer? Montreal hosts an environment that supports each and every interest by providing community and nurturing; encouraging space. There are no limits.
Another (FREE) Event ?!
There is so much to do here (in addition to your studies) and so much with no cost attached. Workshops of every nature- yoga classes, lunch every day at Concordia’s People’s Potato, Tam Tams- a drumming party you won’t soon forget, the Musée de Beaux Arts, all yours for the taking, all FREE! The city is an open oyster and pearls of knowledge are waiting to be harvested.
The city is buzzing with activities 24/7/365 so it is understandable that you may want to escape sooner or later for recharging. Five minutes walk North of the city’s artery you can trade settings and climb Mont Royal. Sit by the lake or go to Chateau Mont Royal for breathtaking views of the city, the mountains and the USA in the distance. I’ve gone to farms and national parks for between $12 and $25 CAD. There are well planned bus trips of every sort constantly leaving from Montreal.
Adventure awaits you.