Samuel - McGill University

B Science
Semester 1, 2019
What even is -30 degrees?

Academic experience

I did 3rd year psychology electives while at McGill, contributing to my psyc major. I took 4 courses while on exchange, which gave me credit for 3 at UQ. The courses I took were really interesting - some of which not offered at UQ, so this was a really experience. I got to learn from some leading researchers in certain areas of psychology, so these courses were pretty unique. None of my classes had tutorials, it was just two lectures a week. I found not having the hands on experience of tutorials odd at first, but soon got used to it. I also found assignments at McGill weren't as clear in what they want/ how they mark as UQ is, so this was also a bit daunting. The professors and teaching assistants and happy to help though if you have questions, so don't worry!

Personal experience

Montreal is such a lovely city, I was so happy to spend my exchange there. I found making friends really easy while away - everyone is in the same boat looking to have fun, so it's not too hard to find some nice people to spend time with. By the end of semester I had so many terrific friends who live all over Europe (and will definitely be visiting some day soon!). Some of my favourite memories are of walking around Montreal while it snows with all my new friends. There are lots of great neighbourhoods to explore - I would recommend Le Plateau, the Mile End and Little Italy. The old port area is also nice but very touristy. I also went to New York for spring break which was super cool.  I took the train from Montreal for $100 return. Getting the chance to explore such a crazy city and check out the art galleries was really special.


I chose to live off campus - renting a room in an apartment with other McGill students. I found this through a facebook group. Search for 'McGill off campus housing' and you should find plenty of rooms advertised. This living arrangement suited me well as I had my own space and got to live in the trendy suburb of Le Plateau. There were lots of cute bars and cafes around, with plenty to explore right where you live. I also enjoyed living with local students, I felt like I got a better feel for the city and the university through them. McGill does offers exchange student housing to those who apply if that interests you. They have big old fashioned houses with 10 or so exchange students living in them - right on campus. You get your own room with shared kitchen/bathrooms. Some people find this really fun, and it's a great way to meet people. Others I spoke to weren't so keen on it due to the housemates they had - so it can be a bit hit and miss.


I found most things in Montreal to be similarly priced after you account for tip (dont forget this!!) and the exchange rate. I did find groceries at the main supermarkets more expensive though (check out Segals in the plateau for good deals!). I paid $650 a month for rent with bills included. Most places will go for between $600-$800 a month for the suburbs near McGill, though will be cheaper if you live in say the Little Italy area. In total I spent $15000 for my exchange. This included all my travelling, which did get a little expensive at times. I think between $10,000 - $12,000 would be a decent amount for exchange. This should be enough for all your basic expenses, a bit of fun in Montreal plus some travelling.


The biggest challenge for me was adapting the new environment and being so far away from all my friends and family. Most people experience some feelings homesick and adjusting troubles - so don't be alarmed if you feel lonely at times. It's really normal and part of why exchange is so cool! The best way to deal with this is to obviously make time for people back home

Professional Development

While on exchange I developed a number of skills that contribute to employability. I feel I am better at dealing with new situations, as well as persisting in the face of adversity. Exchange can be a daunting experience, and can take a lot of personal strength to keep putting yourself out there and doing new things. This strength of character is definitely something employers look for. I also feel I am way more comfortable meeting and talking to new people. This is a valuable life skill that will help with employability.


Definitely the people that you meet. It's a little cliche but I made some truly beautiful friends while on exchange - some of the best in my life. Getting to spend so much time with them at uni and exploring Montreal was really quite special.

Top tips

JUST. DO. IT!  You'll have so much fun and make so many friends. Through the struggles you'll become a stronger person and you'll learn so much from your experiences. It's a truly magically time