With the end of August fast approaching, thousands of incoming first-year students are preparing to begin their studies at McGill and, for many, their new lives in Montreal. While this period of transition can be daunting, upper-year students have been through the same thing: Facing the struggles of missing home, making new friends, and adjusting to the city. The Tribune gathered some of these students’ best advice on how to ease the transition of moving to Montreal.
Being in Montreal alone for the first four weeks was simultaneously the best and worst weeks of my life. It was the first time I had spent more than a few days away from my family members, and the friends I had from high school that were also at McGill seemed to be moving on without me. However, I started to notice a change around one to two weeks before Thanksgiving, as I ended up joining an intramural frisbee team with some people I had started getting close to. To my surprise, I not only got closer with those people but also with the same high school friends I once thought were going to “leave” me. To me, moving away from home allowed me the space to be able to find out who I am and enter a sort of “personal metamorphosis,” if you will. The relationships I forged are the best I have ever had, and my personal acceptance and happiness have grown so much from what they used to be.
— Amanda Klunowski, U1 Arts
Deferring my application and starting my academic year during the winter was a challenge! From friend groups already being formed to the harsh snow, it was not easy. However, getting involved in classes and finding people that have similar interests to me made the process way smoother. Moving from Brazil to Canada, and experiencing the snow was so fun—like a movie! I usually get annoyed with the snow, but [it’s] nothing that a good winter jacket can’t fix! Don’t forget the snow boots, otherwise, your feet will become so wet. In order to make friends, I would recommend participating in class or at least sitting next to someone who seems interesting. I made good friends from small talk. Another thing about Montreal that I love is that I never get bored. From clubs and bars to thrift stores and little cafés, there’s something for everyone.
— Julia Gaspar, U1 Arts
I was shocked by how quickly everything moves. Not only classes, but your interests, the people you meet, and your perspectives. It’s a pretty big adjustment at first, but once you figure out what works for you and find the people who feel like home, things slowly start to fall into place.
— Ellie Mota, U1 Arts
I had a pretty different but good experience moving to Montreal for my first year. Around two weeks before school started I was able to move into an apartment with my older sister who also attends McGill. Being able to stay with her this school year, especially at the very start, really allowed me to feel comfortable adjusting to the new city since it was my first time moving away from home. As someone who stayed off campus, I wasn’t able to make friends right away through residence, however, I ended up meeting so many great people in my classes. I think my first year was an awesome experience getting to meet so many different people, making friends, exploring the city, focusing on academics and experiencing independence for the first time in my life.
— Sadie Wang, U1 Science
Montreal was a very new and cool city compared to where I lived most of my life! With so many things to do within walking distance, I definitely can see why it’s ranked quite highly as a student city. I’ve felt pretty safe walking alone at night since the first day here, and overall, the location is one of the big reasons why I am super happy that I chose this university. It was a newer experience putting myself out there because I never left my little group in high school but everyone I met was super friendly. If I could go back in time I would have told myself to stress less about meeting people, and instead look forward to fun experiences. Welcome and best of luck with your arrival to McGill!
— K.R Sun, U1 Science