Montreal Madness

This past month has been hectic, not because I’ve been busy off travelling around the States and Canada, but because of midterms. I only had 3 because Anatomy is 100% final and French is continuous assessment, however I found 3 tough enough. We didn’t have any study break because you’re supposed to be revising throughout the year, but who does that? So the past month has involved me cramming late nights in the library trying to squeeze as much information into my weenie little brain with not much luck! I now have my results in and luckily the work paid off, 3 comfortable passes, which may not be great in comparison to the people in my class, but Science students here are mainly wannabe Doctors, so they are ultra competitive and smart. The opposite to me then! So when the class average is an A-, I’m fairly content with my B.

So what have I been up to? Other than studying…

Well Halloween was great fun. I knew North America liked to celebrate it big, but not this big! Everyone puts in the effort to make a costume, and some hardcore Halloweeners will even wear a different costume for each night out. I, on the other hand, thought I should come up with one killer costume to impress all. So being 6’5”, the logical choice was to go as an old-school Oompah Loompah from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You know what I mean, the dwarf like workers that Willy Wonka employs to make his chocolate. Well, it was a huge hit!!! Most people got the irony, except for a few… And everyone appreciated the effort that some guy from across the pond had put in. I spent a while planning it, and going round thrift shops finding the final pieces to the puzzle, but I eventually got there.

The McGill International Student Network (MISN) arranges socials (pub crawls, weekend trips, movie nights etc) so there’s always plenty of things to do and people to meet, but getting stuck in the international clique is not why I came to Canada. I came here to meet some actual McGill students, rather than fellow Brits. No disrespect to them, I love my exchange friends, we’re all a very similar bunch of people, looking to travel the world and have an amazing time, but it’s very “same same”. You constantly have the same encounters with new faces at Pubs or Clubs and have the same small talk, like “Where are you from? What are you studying? Are you here 1 or 2 semesters?…” Ok, I might be exaggerating a tad, most of my friends are exchange students, but I’m trying my best to break the mould. I still hang out with my Frosh leaders, and I told you that I was in an Ultimate Frisbee Team. Well we’re all good mates and hopefully we’re going to set up a Basketball team next semester. That’s another thing, a lot of exchange students are only here 1 semester, which is kind of depressing because that’s only 3-4 months, whereas my McGill friends will all still be here next year. Phew!

Another thing McGill is great at is looking after its International students. International Student Services (ISS), the people you go to for important info like Visas, Study Permits etc, also organise free/highly discounted Montreal tourist trips e.g. Montreal Bus Tour, Free Museum Passes and just this week, Free Ice Skating. This would be my first attempt at hitting the ice, literally…. I fell over a ridiculous number of times, but it didn’t dent my confidence and I kept getting back up, then falling, again and again. At times I resembled a speed skater, zig-zagging my way between others, but mostly, I resembled a wounded animal after being hit by a moving vehicle. The song “I get knocked down, but I get up again” was a very apt summary of my night. Hopefully by the end of the year I will be a pro, but don’t count on it.

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