McGill what a thrill

Trip Start Dec 04, 2004
Trip End Dec 25, 2005

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Flag of Canada  , Quebec,
Saturday, January 15, 2005

By now I'm beginning to settle into things here in Montreal...the daily journey from 'the Plateau' down Parc Ave into the city (downtown) to attend classes is becoming quite the norm.

The temperature outside today as I write this email is -23 degrees but with the wind chill it feels like -36.

McGill as a university experience is pretty much everything I expected from a 'north American' university. Football and ice hockey teams, girl cheerleaders with pom poms, swimming teams (yum !!), the 'in crowd' and the 'not so in crowd', highly competitive classes, mammoth libraries and loads of resources, seriously gorgeous 'old world' buildings (circa 1700-1800s) and an expansive campus, currently covered in snow!!....

Though one distinction between Canadian universities and those within the USA is that Canadians' are not so hooked up on all the 'Fraternity' (boys) and 'Sorority' (girls) bullshit... A fraternity is similar to an old-boys network, however the network or 'boys club' begins when you start at university and not when you finish... sounds like fun??... well in theory yes... though most boys who join these clubs are usually narrow minded jocks with nothing but chicks and the next football game on their mind....

Anyhow, studying away from UNSW has provided me with exposure to other teaching methods, some good some not so good... one positive outcome of this is that I have begun to appreciate the commitment of lecturers and standard of teaching back home.... GO UNSW!!....

Notably, out of the four universities located in Montreal (two English, two French) McGill has the greatest international reputation and hence this shows within its student body, approx a quarter of the student population at McGill are international students!!... of which I am one of many Australians here this semester... I do my best to duck and cover when I here the Australian accent... I'm not here to hangout with Aussies, I can do that at home!!....

My classes cover areas within Human Geography, Cultural Analysis, and Marketing... of which I have found the human geography and marketing teachers the most compelling... one in particular Prof Nancy Ross (urban geography and health) is very easy to listen to, she clearly knows her stuff...

However, it is good to know that administrative nightmares and red tape fuck ups, are not restricted to Australian universities... McGill in all its prestige and magnificence takes the cake when it comes to red tape... I think because Quebec is slightly more socialist than the rest of Canada, McGill therefore behaves just as bureaucratic as the province it operates within... I have countless, boring stories of me being messed around by university administrative processes, some of which have cost me enrollment into French classes, delayed my applications for visa renewals, and in general made my life a living hell!!!....

As I write this blog entry, it may begin to sound that I'm not enjoying my time at McGill, quite the opposite... the people (students and staff) are wonderful and opportunity to study here has been amazing. So much so that I have decided to extend my time for another six months, which also provides the chance to see Montreal in summer, everyone thinks I am crazy for visiting during Winter... and when it now -30 something outside, I'm beginning to think so too!!!
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