Exchange semester: Montréal vs. Ottawa?
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Nov 28, 2012 7:24 PM Last Post By: afb1221
Nov 23, 2012 7:21 AM
I have the opportunity to apply for an exchange semester either in Montréal (Concordia University) or Ottawa (University of Ottawa). Montréal looks nicer (and is bigger), but I do not speak French and actually one of my main reasons for this exchange semester is that I really want to improve my spoken English. So would Ottawa be the wiser decision? Unfortunately other universities in Canada don't have an exchange agreement with my university.
All comments are welcome!
Nov 23, 2012 5:22 PM
1The principal language of instruction at Concordia is English, and a majority of Montrealers speak at least some English. Thousands of tourists and businesspeople survive their visits to Montreal quite handily without knowing a word of French. If you have your heart set on Montreal, French isn't a requirement; the city has a very large bilingual and anglophone populationion--more so than pretty much anywhere else in Quebec.
That said, it never hurts to know some of the local official language, no matter where you may travel. If your exchange won't be until next summer or autumn, why not take French 101 at your current school this winter? Even if you're utterly terrible the locals will appreciate the effort--and then switch to their much-more-fluent English.
Nov 23, 2012 8:15 PM
2I will let you in on a little secret- Montreal is very much an English speaking city. I speak French and English, but end up speaking English 95% of the time when in Montreal. That being said, Ottawa also has a lot of French speaking people (it is the capital city of a bilingual country after all). In either city you will have an equal chance to improve your spoken language.
Montreal is a larger city, but Ottawa is by no means a small town either. When it comes to making a decision, you will make a great choice no matter which one you choose (although, I may be a little biassed since I am living in Ottawa).
If you want to know anything else about either city, send me a PM, I am always happy to help :)
Nov 24, 2012 5:24 PM
3Montreal. Ottawa is boring and U of O is a bureaucratic nightmare. You'll be fine with English in MTL and there's a lot more of interest for an exchange student there.
I'll add that I'm in Ottawa now and definitely recommend MTL. Ottawa gets tedious fast. Government is here and a few museums, little else.
Nov 25, 2012 3:29 AM
thank you very much for your advice! Since I can apply for three universities I will just put both on the list and prioritize Montréal. My exchange would only be next autumn, so I will just wait for a decision and if it's positive I still have time to take a French course before I eventually move to Canada.
I really appreciate your help!
Nov 25, 2012 3:42 AM
5montreal no problem re language but for net working its ottawa for sure since thats seat of government . but its a real old boys network kind of city.
Nov 25, 2012 8:31 PM
6Definitely pick Ottawa. It is a much nicer university and the downtown and area is very nice.
Montreal is very grubby....unless you like to sit around in smokey cafes...yuck. The cities are only two hours apart, so you can easily visit Montreal on several weekends for visits if you like (a weekend is enough time there). But you will be much better off living in Ottawa!
Nov 26, 2012 8:26 AM
7Smoking has been banned from Montreal establishments for years.
One man's "grubby" is another's "charm." Many complain about Ottawa being too clean and quiet; great for families but not for young visitors. Of course, we're entering very subjective territory here. It'll depend on what the OP expects. I know people who find Montreal too big and urban but I also know people who love it and would consider anywhere else in Canada too boring.
Nov 26, 2012 10:40 PM
Nov 28, 2012 7:24 PM
(4 star Hotel)
From US$189.00 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$144.00 per night
Las VegasBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$89.00 per night