Colin Harris, 23
At Loyola, the old Jesuit college made up of imposing stone buildings with ultra-modern glass, you can take a break on benches in the de rigueur picturesque quad. Downtown at the Sir George Williams (SGW) campus, you’ll find yourself amid the hustle and bustle of the heart of Montreal. The two campuses are a free, 20-minute shuttle ride apart; you can choose the tranquility of Loyola when you need to study, then head to the nightclubs near SGW when it’s time to unwind.
Because it lacks a student hub, Concordia can feel like a commuter campus. But when you live in Montreal, there is so much more to explore: Venture west to stroll through the Canadian Centre for Architecture’s park, or head down the Lachine Canal to take in abandoned factories overtaken by graffiti artists.
This school’s strength lies in its diversity; you’ll hear a handful of languages on your way to class each day and a variety of perspectives from your profs. It gave this Ottawa boy the opportunity to make friends from South America, Europe and the Middle East. And, at the Hexagram-Concordia Centre, which blends computer science, philosophy and fine art, media artists are connected to researchers as they explore the intersection of art and technology.
With dozens of groups directly funded by students, it’s easy to find like-minded Concordians. The student-funded Centre for Gender Advocacy successfully lobbied for the Sexual Assault Resource Centre, and the Simone de Beauvoir Institute had intervenor status during the Supreme Court’s deliberations on the landmark Bedford v. Canada prostitution case.
For the foodies, international student associations will often sell food (think samosas) around campus, offering an alternative to mediocre cafeteria fare.
Montreal unfolds before you—just how fast depends on your sense of adventure. World-renowned for its art, food and general laissez-faire attitude, don’t be afraid to venture off Crescent Street. Find the “illegal” concerts, free workshops and the bars with a bowling lane and a half pipe. Go to that crazy performance-art exhibit, because that’s where you’ll discover more shows. Explore the mountain, then do it again once it’s covered in snow. Take advantage of the warm weather, because you’re going to want to hunker down in your neighbourhood watering hole when it’s blowing snow in January. Montrealers are friendly; don’t be afraid to make eye contact.
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