What is it like to study abroad? Let’s hear what our “study-abroader” Natasha has to say!

Posted on January 12, 2015 by


This semester, we have several undergraduate students studying abroad in Australia, Canada, and Germany. We invited them to share their experiences with us here on Manchet. Below is our first guest post, from Natasha Hirata-Smith who is currently at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.


First Impressions of Studying Abroad at McGill University

McGill is a beautiful campus set in the bilingual city of Montreal. The difference in temperature is a big shock; I experienced my first ever ice storm and wind chill factors of -40⁰C just two days into my adventure. I have only been here for a week but somehow it feels longer because of how welcoming everyone is.

I spent this first week adapting to the climate, doing my best not to slip on the ice, and trying out different modules. This is one difference from Manchester – some students call the first week ‘Add/Drop Week’ and it’s spent trialling different lectures and then adding or dropping them depending on how you felt.

The Linguistics department here is great because everyone is so happy to help you out. The lecturers encourage discussion and I enjoy the more interactive approach to classes. The lectures are more frequent and I have a larger workload than in Manchester, but I find it manageable. Because of the intensity, I am grateful that McGill uses continuous assessment instead of relying on just one final exam!

Outside of studying, I have managed to make friends with the girls in my dorm, the other students in my classes and other exchange students during orientation events. So far I have been to the underground city and I am looking forward to seeing McGill’s women’s hockey team play next month.

I will be studying Phonetics, Linguistic Aspects of Bilingualism, Syntax and Sociolinguistics. I am also taking a course called the Bible and Western Culture as a free choice. As I’ve just settled in, I haven’t done a lot yet, but I look forward to posting future updates!


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