Exchange · International student · Liberal Arts and Sciences · Student life

Getting Closer: McGill University

By Anne de vries – Second year student at UCG

The excitement surrounding my nomination for a semester at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, has slowly been dying down. It has been partly replaced by lots of nerves. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still plenty enthusiastic about going in August, but I had underestimated the administrative tasks. So, hereby, I’d like to introduce you to a part of the other, less shiny, side of going on exchange!

After applying to the host university itself, I had to wait anxiously for at least two months before finally receiving my official application letter from McGill. As soon as I had this, I could actually apply for a scholarship such as the RUG’s Marco Polo Fund for those going out of the EU, get housing, get a plane ticket, register for courses, get a study permit and get my learning agreement in order. Not all of these went and are going as smoothly as they sound.

First of all, in order to apply for Marco Polo I need to have an approved learning agreement (which means UCG approves the courses I’ll be taking in Canada), and to ensure this, I first have to register for courses. However, McGill has a different system of registration and different course levels with accompanying prerequisites for particular courses. Hence I first have to find out if my courses at UCG are sufficient for the right 300-level (3rd year courses) at McGill, which I won’t know until after registering. I hope to register for the courses I want ASAP and I hope that I have the right requirements, because I am super excited to follow the courses I’ve set my eye on!

Next is the study permit, which is actually quite easy, though I had to renew my passport before I can get one, because this one would expire in November and it would be a shame if I can’t return to Groningen to finish my third year… That was the only extra thing about this one, because for quite a lot of countries, including the Netherlands, Canada does not ask you to arrange a visa, a simple study permit is sufficient. Hence I will apply for that one and buy my plane ticket. And off we go…

… And when I get there I will be kindly welcomed by two Montreal girls, who will sublet one of the rooms in their apartment to me, so my housing is settled! They also offered to show me around town before classes and the orientation weeks start, so I’m definitely looking forward to that.

Though, before starting off in September, I hope to see a little more of beautiful Canada together with Roos, who will be studying at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. For now, we are counting down the days, which are passing way faster than we’d thought, seeing that we’re only three months away until we can enjoy some hiking in mountains and swimming in lakes before we set our minds to study mode again!


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