Thursday, October 21, 2010

Canadian Colleges: Advantages and Disadvantages for American Students

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I just returned from visiting Concordia University and McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Montreal is a fascinating city with mixtures of old and new architecture, French and English culture. Students at both Concordia and McGill have easy access to the arts in Montreal including professional theater, dance, visual arts, and film. In fact you can't avoid public art in Montreal, particularly sculpture. Decorated Moose stand at attention up and down Sherbrooke St. An avant garde film festival was ongoing during my stay. There are also resources for science students including the Insectarium, the Biosphere, and the large Montreal Science Museum. For American students who really like the city vibe of an NYU or an Emerson College, McGill or Concordia Universities could be good choices.

Here are some of the issues to take into account when considering schools in Montreal, CA.
The advantages:

1) Learning French by almost constant exposure. Also, Americans pay cheap tuition for French classes.

2) Low cost. Even with international tuition, Canadian colleges are cheaper than many private colleges in the US

3) Proximity to northern US states such as New York and New England.

4) Broadening understanding of culture through a unique Quebecois, Canadian experience.

The disadvantages:

1)Requires a certain level of maturity in a college student. Independent living is the rule after freshman year.

2) Customs. At certain times of the year, the border crossings can require long waits.

3) Rate of exchange. If the dollar continues to weaken, it will make Canadian colleges more expensive.

4) Eating too much poutine. You will have to hit the gym if you eat too much poutine, a mass of fried potatoes, gravy, and cheese curds.

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