Another upside to Montréal was how affordable it is compared to other North American cities. Where I lived was right in the city centre, near all the major universities. Not only was this great for making friends, but it was also the equivalent of €500 a month, which included bills. We also got a TV, dishwasher, double beds, a gym and a cinema room. Even better was the public transport situation. Because I lived a bit out from my university, I ended up having to get an OPUS card, Montreal’s answer to a Leap card. Per month, a €30 top-up got you unlimited use of every public transport service city-wide, which worked out a lot cheaper than travelling in Dublin. Plus, the underground train system connected to all the major shopping malls, so you essentially got to live underground if you weren’t feeling being out in the snow too long.
Another benefit of Montreal was its proximity to other cities in Canada and the States. In September, we went to an orchard a little outside Montreal, and got to visit a pumpkin patch to get in the festive spirit. For Canadian thanksgiving, I got to go back to Ottawa with my housemate, and celebrate with her family, where I was able to try pumpkin pie for the first time. I also went to Québec City for their annual Carnival Winter festival, which we took one of those yellow school buses to get to (which really made me sympathise for Canadian school children, because those things get cold.)
While there are reams I could write about my experiences of Montreal, I don’t think I could ever convey quite how incredible it was. Not only do I now have a twinge of Quebecois influence when I speak French, and a newfound resilience to -30o temperatures, but I also have a wealth of memories that I will always look fondly on when I remember my college years, as well as a city I cannot wait to go back to.