Ratidzo - HEC Montreal

B Business Management
Semester 2, 2018

Academic experience

At HEC rather than having separate lectures and tutorials they just have 3 hour seminars for the course, once a week. I did think this would be a big struggle getting used to but the lecturers tend to give a decent amount of breaks each class where you can go get food and they’re comfortable with it. The courses I did were:


1. Global Business Environment
2. Conflict Management 
3. Managing Across Borders
4. Consumer Behaviour
5. French Business 


HEC has a really good range of courses that can help give you credit towards multiple Business/Commerce majors, specifically International Business and Finance. The classes are really interactive and tend to push for a lot of participation and activities. A large amount of classes are taught in English, French and Spanish which means majority of the class are usually exchange students as well that you’ll probably know. I would definitely recommend taking the French Business classes as they’re really entertaining, fun and helpful to improve your French in a business aspect. Quite a few of my class did take attendance and with them not being recorded, it is a good idea to not miss classes. Mid Semester and Final exams are a lot more relaxed compare to at UQ which I really enjoyed as it took a lot of the pressure and stress off of it.

Personal experience

My semester abroad was absolutely the best semester I’ve ever had, and was also once of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. At HEC they have a really great exchange student committee called Hechange, which was definitely a large part of my exchange. I would 100% recommend paying for their Welcome Week package (also includes airport pick up) who organise so many amazing activities a week before classes starts, which is definitely where I made majority of my friends from all over the world. The best part is as they’re also students they continue activities across the semester including trips and parties where you get closer to other students as well as the committee themselves. I was able to go on many awesome trips including Toronto, Boston, Quebec City, Cuba, New York, Ottawa, Calgary, and loads of national parks across Canada. I did intially worry about how I’d handle being surrounded by a language I’m not completely fluent in, but because the city is so multilingual that fear goes away instantly, and you’ll find that pretty much everyone speaks English and it’s quite easy to navigate yourself around. Being in such a different and new city really allowed me to leave my comfort zone and see a different side to myself I didn’t know.

Accommodation

When it comes to accommodation, HEC doesn’t have proper on campus housing however they do provide many services for finding off campus accommodation. These can be really competitive though so would definitely recommend getting on top of this early and noting down the date housing becomes active. I ended up living in a student residence complex in the Downtown area called Evo, which I liked as it was close to all of the malls, restaurants and banks etc. A lot of my friends lived in the Plateau-Mont Royal region which I also recommend as this is a very student central area with many bars, cafes and clubs all around.

Costs

Montreal’s living costs are generally quite similar to Brisbane. I spent around $40CAD a week on groceries, however make sure to also budget for eating out at places with friends which became a very frequent thing for me during the semester! Transport is very cheap in Montréal with them having the OPUS card for student where you either pay $50CAD a month or $200CAD for 4 months, for unlimited public transport, so is an absolute must for students. Make sure to budget for activities and trips such as NHL hockey games (student deals for $40CAD), trips with the Hechange committee as well as trips to national parks which usually require renting a car.

Challenge

I’d say a challenge was ensuring to maintain a balance between enjoying your exchange but also making sure to stay on top of things for class work and assignments. It’s something that you have to constantly remind yourself and I’d recommend setting out some sort of plan from the beginning and looking at the time you have available to keep a balance.

Professional Development

The life skills and experiences you gain while studying abroad definitely give you a new perspective on studies and work, as you get to see the different lifestyles and cultures across the globe and how different they are to you. These kind of experiences definitely help you learn to adapt to different backgrounds and ways of working in a way that will benefit you ina professional setting. HEC pushes you in a different to UQ and so being able to learn in both ways will only benefit me for the rest of my degree and gain competencies required in the working world

Highlight

All of the amazing people from all over the world will definitely be a highlight for me as they contributed massively to my time away and became people I see myself being close with for a very long time. Montréal as a city is now one of my favourite cities to have visited in the world, and I cannot wait to go back and visit in the future.

Top tips

1. Move out of your comfort zone! You won’t be the only feeling nervous or scared about being in a new city so push yourself to experience things you wouldn’t before and you’ll see a new side to you.
2. Definitely try and do as many of the activities organised by Hechange. I’ll always be thankful to them as without them I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed my exchange as much as I did.
3. If you plan on doing many trips to the USA, get the B1/B2 visa that allows you multiple entries into the country rather than just the ESTA.
4. Remember to tip! Tipping culture is a huge thing over there and can be the difference between you waiting 5min or 20min for you coffee, so always remember 15-20% of the bill to tip at restaurants and cafes.