Katherine Miller Writes about Her First Impressions of Montreal and McGill University

Posted on January 30, 2015 by

Katherine Miller is currently studying abroad in Montreal, Canada, at McGill University. Below is her first impressions of Montreal and McGill University!

It is just about to be a month since I have arrived in Montreal and it has been a whirlwind of an adventure so far! Arriving on the same weekend as an ice storm was a shock to the system but once wrapped up warm the city is amazing. Luckily McGill University is situated right in the middle of the downtown area so it is great to get out and explore a little after classes.

There is a great system here of ‘shopping’ for courses before confirming during the add/drop period. This has been a great way to sample the different modules offered here at McGill. The modules I am taking are Phonology, Linguistic Aspects of Bilingualism and Dialectology for Linguistics whilst in Anthropology I am studying Anthropology of Religion and Legal Anthropology. It has been great to jump straight into term and get involved. The school system is very different here so far and assessment is always continuous. I have deadlines nearly every week and midterm exams in two weeks’ time, so there is lots to do.

The way of studying here is far more research based. I’m interested to see how the results are from the research based modules. Especially in phonology as the number of international students that come to McGill should produce an interesting set of results in comparison. Most of my lectures have around 100 students, but as a higher level class, Dialectology has only 27 students, which is such a different way of learning. In the smaller class environment, it is much more interactive. Though it was surprising for me how much the students speak out in lectures as there is always time for discussions which can become really interesting.

The wind-chill factor has been a little menacing, but when you actually look up from the icy paths, it is so beautiful here. Everyone I have met so far is so friendly. It is great that the weather acts as an icebreaker here as well! We all get excited when it’s -2 because it’s so warm! I’m making the most of the winter activities — ice-skating at Vieux Port which is outside by the river and skiing in the mountains nearby. Also there are so many festivals in Montreal. At the moment it is Igloofest which is a big outdoor music event every weekend. Then next week we’re going to Fete des Neiges whilst I’ve also heard there is a whole week devoted to Poutine! This is essentially chips, cheese curds and gravy which becomes the base for every variation of food you could imagine. It is great.


Posted in: undergraduate