Adjusting to life in Montreal

By Alexandra Theodoreu (Game Art ’21)

While humans are adaptive creatures, being thrown into a new environment is never easy. I’ve moved a lot and lived in a lot of places, but I’ve never lived in a big city like Montreal. It took a little time to adjust, but so far I’ve been loving it here.

Hearing different languages everywhere you go is one of my favorite parts of being here. Sometimes you hear a different language or two back in Burlington, but definitely not everyday. Here, you hop on the Metro and every station name is spoken in French. And you don’t just hear French either, it goes from from hearing Italian at Jean Talon Market to Chinese at the Bakery that my friends and I frequent for lunch in Chinatown.

Speaking of food, there’s so many more foods to try here, and plenty I’ve never tried before. Soup dumplings were something I’ve never heard of. Whoever thought to put soup IN dumplings is a genius. My friend introduced me to egg tarts; which I thought would be really weird (eggs aren’t desserts!!) but now I go back from time to time to get one as a snack.  And the sheer variety of things to try has me picking favorite foods less and trying new things more often. There’s a lot of restaurants and plenty of things to try in Burlington, but the food here feels more authentic in a way. There’s way more people in Montreal that represent so many cultures, and the restaurants definitely reflect that.

There’s also a ton of stuff to do and see here. The architecture of Old Port is stunning, it’s almost hard not to spot a mural when walking around on St Laurent, and the musicians in the Metro are always a joy to see on your way home from classes. I really like walking around with friends and just discovering interesting places. Exploring the underground tunnels that connect some of the metro stations is really cool. Something I’ve always wanted to do is go to a botanical garden. I’ve been to gardens, but not a huge one. So one weekend we adventured to Jardin Botanique, and it was crazy beautiful. The Chinese garden was especially beautiful.

Trying to find your place in a city is pretty hard, what’s nice is that we come up with people we already know, so exploring the city doesn’t feel so intimidating. Personally, I like visiting different cafes to do work and draw. Burlington has a few cafes, but Montreal has tons of them, and they’re all a little different. Each has a different vibe and feel to it. Some are more modern and only serve coffee, and I find, usually have smaller tables. Others have giant wooden tables, and huge menus filled with baked goods that I like to eat when I sit down to work. Some are huge and some are small, and it’s been nice to try a few new desserts and coffee styles too. I’m also a huge concert goer, and I have a few scheduled for this semester that I’m excited about. My friend and I went to see MARINA recently, and it was a really cool new experience. I’ve never actually been to a concert with someone who knew the music as well as I did, so it was one of my favorite concerts I’ve been to.

Of course there’s a few things I miss about Champlain’s main campus, like the sunsets over Lake Champlain and of course my friends. But we don’t have enough time here in Montreal to sit and miss Burlington, we’ll be back there in a few months anyway! After this semester, I’ll definitely return and visit Montreal, and maybe even apply for some internships based here.