10 things to do when you arrive in Montreal

International Student Resources
Nelly Salen

With your passport and residency permits in hand, you leave the airport, eager to embark on your new adventure as an international student in Montreal. But you still have a few things on your to-do list to get settled in. Take a deep breath! Everything’s going to be okay. Here's a list of the first steps you need to take when you arrive.

1. Find accommodation… if you still need a place

Although it’s entirely possible to find accommodation before you arrive, most of us leave it to when we land in Montreal. It’s a bit stressful, but you’ve got this! If your parents won’t be going with you, the best thing to do is to reserve a bed in a youth hostel while you look for a place. Start a "housing watch," which means keeping an eye on all the ads for roommates on websites and Facebook groups. You can even turn on notifications on your phone so you don't miss any offers.

Helpful links

2. Make a health insurance appointment

As a student at the Université de Montréal, you are automatically enrolled in what is called a régime collectif d’assurance maladie (group health insurance plan). This is mandatory and is included in your student invoice, unless you are in one of the categories that qualify for an exemption de cotisation  (exemption from contribution). In the first case, you must pick up your health insurance card three weeks after the session starts. If you are exempt from paying your contribution, you must make an appointment with RAMQ. Do it as soon as possible and make sure you have the required papers.

3. Get your UdeM student card

A precious card: it’s your proof of identity, entitles you to various reduced rates, allows you to borrow books from the library and more. I was so proud to have my student card that I sent a picture of it to my parents: "Now it's official! "To get the card, you must go to the J.-A.-DeSève Pavilion at the Bureau du registraire (Office of the Registrar).

4. Get an OPUS transit card

As a full-time student, you benefit from a reduced fare on the Ville de Montréal transportation card. There are several ways to get the card, but ordering it online is the most convenient. No long line-ups: the card will be delivered to your home within a week. Take note: when ordering online, your UdeM student card is required, which is why you should apply for the OPUS card only after you have received your student card.

5. Attend the orientation session in your department

The séance d’accueil départementale (departmental orientation session) is your introduction to your new study environment. The sessions are organized by university faculties and departments, and they’re a good way to learn more about your path in the program, choice of courses or other helpful information for the rest of your studies.

6. Complete your application at the BEI and pay your tuition fees

Complete your file, which involves a trip to the Bureau des étudiants (BEI) internationaux (International Student Office) to show them your immigration papers so they can make copies. If you arrive in the fall, you’ll have until October 1st to complete your application. As for the payment of tuition fees, the sooner the better because you’ll have to pay interest after the due date!

7. Explore the city

From Mount Royal to the Plateau to downtown, there's lots to do!

8. Try poutine

Quebec's iconic dish of French fries, gravy and cheese curd is as yummy in summer as it is in winter. It’s a treat that must be tried at least once! My advice: don't order too much your first time. To further your culinary exploration, here are 5 must-eats to become #montréaliser.

9. Live it up like a Montrealer

Just because you’re new in town, it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the fun! This article tells you how to live like a Montrealer.

10. Open a bank account

A bank account is handy for paying tuition fees and for everyday life! It’s easy to open an account, but you’ll probably need your residency permit and passport.

Nelly Salen
#Amoureuse du café #Photographie #Listes

Nelly est étudiante au baccalauréat de communication. Malgré son emploi du temps bien rempli, elle fait une place de choix à sa passion : la création. La tête pleine de rêves et d’idées, elle voit Montréal comme une ville où elle peut épanouir son âme d’artiste.