Student Life

Busy hands, idle minds

“Wow, all I’ve done today is school!” If, like myself, this thought runs through your head as you walk home in the dark at 4:30 p.m., it may be time to find an after-school activity. 

Learning a new skill, particularly over the course of multiple weeks, has many benefits for students’ well-being. When we allow our brains to focus on something that may not be academically productive, we create an opportunity to destress. Committing to a multi-week program establishes a routine, something especially important in the short days of the Montreal winter. Read on to learn about some of the options available to you around Montreal.


Price: $370

Duration: 7 weeks, 3 hours/week

Address: 5333 Avenue Casgrain, Suite 804

Language: English

For those itching to get behind the (pottery) wheel, Atelier Spirale offers pottery courses for all levels in both wheel-throwing and hand-building. As an added bonus, those enrolled in the course can access open studios on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to work independently. Registration for the winter session, which starts on Jan. 8, is live now and will close once full. 


Price: $325

Duration: 11 weeks, 2 hours/week

Address: 181 Avenue du Cirque

Language: Bilingual (English & French)

Did you know Montreal is home to the National Circus School? Along with training future Cirque duSoleil performers, the school runs a wide variety of adult recreational courses for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to be graduating with a degree in Circus Arts. Beginners and intermediates can explore circus techniques such as trapeze and silk acrobatics. Adult classes take place on Saturdays between Jan. 13 and April 4. If swinging from the ceiling or riding a unicycle has always been on your bucket list, mark your calendars for the start of registration on Dec. 4.


Price: $258 

Duration: 6 weeks, 2 hours/week

Address: 3706 and 3716 rue Notre-Dame Ouest

Language: English

Improv classes have many benefits for health and well-being. Students learn to be present, embrace mistakes, and build self-confidence in their humour and public speaking skills. Impro Montreal runs a 6-week course for improvisers of all levels. Unsure if improv is for you? The studio offers a one-hour Freebie Improv Workshop to those interested in learning more before committing to a full course. 


Price: $95

Duration: 12 weeks, 3 hours/week

Address: 5485 Chemin de la Côte Saint-Paul

Language: English or French

Who knew you could learn archery in Montreal? Archers du Sud-Ouest is an archery club that runs weekly lessons out of the Centre Gadbois. Equipment is provided, and the club even offers a free intro session to newcomers. Adult lessons take place every Tuesday and Thursday from 8 to 9:30 p.m. between January and April.

Latin Dance

Price: $40-70

Duration: 7 weeks, 1 hour/week

Address: 372 St. Catherine Street W

Language: English

Salseros is a Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) club providing affordable Salsa and Bachata lessons for all levels. The club also hosts various socials and events throughout the semester to introduce students to the Montreal Latin dance scene. While you can sign up as a pair, it’s not necessary to come with a partner; the club will pair leaders and followers in-class. Registration for the winter semester opens in January and will be announced on the club’s Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Honourable Mentions 

The McGill Arts Collective hosts free, bi-weekly roundtable events and workshops to help students of all abilities practice their artistic skills. 

McGill Athletics offers a variety of affordable group fitness, dance, and sports classes at the Currie Gymnasium.

McGill Swing Kids runs weekly swing-dance lessons at local studios. Your first lesson is free of charge! 

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