We live in a ‘global village' thanks to technological advancements, globalization and mobile applications that can translate languages in an instant. Many students and job-seekers are still concerned about the language of their new destination. Is the requirement for French making you miss out on Montreal? Read on, my friend; you may have a different opinion when you finish reading this. Montreal is indeed one of the largest French-speaking cities in the world, but it is much more than that. It is unique, vibrant, safe and multi-cultural. Here, you will experience the ‘joie de vivre’ (celebration of life) every day and every moment. Montreal, known as the cultural capital of Canada, is in love with festivals, food, music, art, architecture and culture. This city is delightful in every season, irrespective of the mercury readings. That’s not all; Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) has ranked Montreal as the world’s best city for students based on six metrics: affordability, desirability, employer activity, world university rankings, student mix and student opinion.

Students from all over the world flock to Montreal, and in no time, this city embraces them and accepts them as one of her own. Montreal is ‘home’ to about a hundred and seventy thousand university students. Yes, you did read that correctly, a hundred and seventy thousand university students, all of whom are not yet well versed in French, come, study and live in Montreal. How are all the international students managing in Montreal? Glad you asked. Have you read the stories of Indian students at Université de Montréal? If not, this would be a good time to check out their experiences. Their stories resonate with thousands of students who have completed their studies in Montreal, having no prior knowledge of French. Montrealers are warm and affable. They take a step forward and communicate with you in English when they perceive that you do not comprehend French. Isn’t that wonderful? Basic French skills can bring you a long way in Montreal. Here is a fun fact for you: according to Statistics Canada, over sixty thousand people are living in Montreal who can speak neither English nor French.

In Montreal, students have several opportunities to learn French. Universities, colleges and language institutes offer courses in oral and written French at subsidized fees for students. Students can find workshops to improve conversational French, language exchange programs, or even a private tutor to help you learn French. Your learning is not limited to classroom activities. Wherever you go, you will have a chance to learn a new word or two. Is there a better way to learn a language than to be immersed in its culture?

To all my friends from India, we come from a country that has 23 official languages and a great many dialects. Picture yourself going to Mumbai or Dilli or Chennai or Kolkata or Bengaluru or Hyderabad for the very first time. Would language be the most significant concern for your trip? I guess not. Montreal will present you with a unique cultural experience as you study in its world-renowned universities and colleges.

Did you know that you have access to ‘desi food’ in Montreal? From samosas to masala dosas, from chats to biriyanis, you get them all here. If you are a foodie, then Montreal is your paradise. One can experience everything from food trucks to fine dining at affordable prices. The only food that you will miss is your mother’s recipes. It’s time to pack your bags. Come and explore the magic of Montreal!

Roshan Elizabeth Rajan is a Ph.D. student in the Molecular Biology Department at Université de Montréal