Dana - HEC Montreal

B Business/Economics

Academic experience

The enrolment and registration process at HEC is made very simple thanks to the university. I always received clear instructions on what to do and when. 

The courses I studied at HEC Montréal included Management Skills, Human Resource Management, Managing Across Borders, Investment and my filler class was Business French. I highly recommend studying french whilst living in Quebec- you would be surprised how much you pick up in only a few months and the locals seriously appreciate your willingness to learn their language. I enjoyed all of my classes at HEC, the learning environment is completely different to UQ. For example at HEC there are 3 hour seminars instead of a lecture and tutorial and each class has a maximum of 50 people in it. You are expected to interact in every class so attendance is mandatory. Although this was different, it was definitely worth attending every class so I didn't have to study so much for the finals.  All of my teachers at HEC were veterans in their field, thus their teaching methods were very practical rather than theoretical. You will have to get used to teachers wanting to meet up with you for coffee outside of class as well as them giving you their phone numbers at the start of the semester- this is just a norm for Canadians! 

During my semester I was fortunate enough to study Management Skills with Françoise Lafortune (VP of Marketing for Group Marcelle). My class was taken on a guided tour around Group Marcelle's factory and workplace at the end of the semester which was definitely a memorable experience. It's nice to know that if I ever decided to move to Canada I have multiple contacts at my fingers that I could reach out to.

Personal experience

The most exciting part of exchange is making life-long friends from all over the world. Exchange gave me an incredible opportunity to challenge myself and because of this I learnt a great deal about myself, including what surprising things I am capable of doing. During my time in Canada I learnt to speak french, I learnt to ski, I learnt to sustain myself and how to make the most of the student life. But I also found that I loved living in Canada and for that reason I could easily move back again.

Accommodation

In Montréal, I lived in off-campus housing in a suburb called Le Plateau. This particular suburb was perfect for the student life as it is filled with cafes, bars and restaurants to hang out at.  I lived with 2 Belgium girls who both studied dentistry and had 3 Swedish neighbours that studied at HEC with me. This particular landlord was recommended to me by a friend that studied in Montréal a couple of years ago. The rent was cheap for the area (I paid $560/month), pretty much everything was included (cutlery, cooking equipment, bed linen, washing machine, dryer etc.) and my landlord was incredibly kind and helpful! My landlords site is http://www.chambreenville.ca/landing

Costs

It is important to save up as much money as possible for exchange! I would budget anywhere between $10,000-$15,000 so that you have the freedom to travel around as you please. The price of food and dining out, I found, was quite similar to what it's like in Australia, but luckily alcohol is a lot cheaper. Transport was cheap- to get a month student pass for all public transport costs $50 CAD. Rent is also cheaper than what it is in Brisbane, as I said before I paid $560 CAD/month for rent. The biggest expense is travelling and that really depends on where and how often you want to travel. Before my semester began I did a 3 week camper van trip from Vancouver to Banff and back, during my semester I went to New York City twice, Chicago, La Mauricie National Park, Quebec City twice, Toronto twice then after the semester I travelled back to the Rocky Mountains to learn to ski and also explored Seattle- all of this added up to $15,000.

Highlight

The highlight of my trip was seeing the Canadian Rockies! I couldn't decide if it was more beautiful in the summer or winter- regardless they are a must-see.

Top tips

- Remember to tip!
- I advise going to Montréal for the fall semester, the changing of the seasons is beautiful and I also found that adapting to the cold wasn't too difficult 
- Study french while you're in Montréal
- My standard ESTA visa for the US was sufficient in allowing me to enter before and after my semester 
- Although I stayed in Canada for 7 months I only had an ETA so it was not necessary to get a study permit for this amount of time