Qu’est-ce qui se passe, Montréal? Canada’s cultural capital has created the perfect combination of North American and European culture; the melange of English and French comes together in a dynamic, inspiring (and cobblestoned!) city. Eastern Canada is an excellent destination for any teen traveler looking for a unique international experience. As the second largest French speaking city in the world and the largest city of Québec, Montreal is hungry for your scholastic zeal and half-hearted Canada jokes. High school students will get un petit goûte of France with old European architecture blended with contemporary cityscapes.
High School Programs in Montreal
With no shortage of cultural experiences to be had in Montreal, it comes as no surprise that there are just as many high school programs for students to participate in. Language study is by far the most popular type of high school program in Montreal, but exchange and cultural Immersion programs are no less valuable for students too; any high school program in Montreal will allow students to explore the culture and experience the city, even without understanding or speaking French. So fear not, you’ll still be able to order poutine in English!
Language Immersion. Students interested in high school programs in Montreal most often seek out this type of program, as the city will most definitely fulfill their desire to practice speaking French. Montreal is an ideal location to learn French; not only because it is the official language, but because English is also widely spoken, helping students make a more graceful transition, no matter what their French language abilities. Just remember that Quebecois is a little different from the standard French you might be learning in your high school French class. Nevertheless, high school programs in Montreal, whether in the form of summer immersion programs or exchange programs, are the ideal way to get a jumpstart on your language learning.
Exchange Program. Students who participate in an exchange program will not only attend a local high school in Montreal, they will also typically live with a host family. Exchange programs in Montreal can last anywhere from three months to a full school year. High school summer exchange programs in Montreal typically last as little as two weeks all the way up to an entire summer. Classes can normally be taken in French, or English depending on the student’s first language and comfort level. Cultural exploration and adventure travel are also a huge part of high school study abroad in Montreal, so students will have lots of planned excursions and activities to look forward to.
Cultural Exploration programs are popular among high school students who want to study abroad in Montreal, but aren’t interested in committing to long-term exchange programs or attending a language school. Generally shorter, summer programs, cultural exploration opportunities give students their first foray into international travel independent of the typical family vacation.
All group leaders and in-country program coordinators are almost always first aid responders, dedicated to keeping each student safe. While safety is of the utmost importance, students will also experience a certain level of independence. Students may not always be under direct supervision, so they’ll get a glimpse of what university may be like in the not-so-distant future. Who knows, spending time abroad in high school could inspire a study abroad adventure as a college student!
Most high school programs in Montreal take place in the summer, which is an optimal time to visit the city. With temperate summers, the weather is warm but not too hot during the summer in Montreal, perfect for a nice walk around the city. Montreal is famous for its festivals, with more than 90 festivals taking place annually! From the Festival International de Jazz de Montreal to the Grand Prix du Canada, students are sure to have make amazing memories during any high school program in Montreal.
Life in Montreal
Montréal is the largest city of Québec, the second-largest city in Canada, and the ninth largest in all of North America. It’s a nice size in general, enough to entice any teen traveler without being overwhelming. In 2006, the entire city was officially named a UNESCO World Heritage Site, so history and charm can be found around every corner!
Outside of the classroom, high school students will be able to soak up Montréal’s distinctly European flair. Students can catch the local heroes, the Montréal Canadiens, in an ice hockey match or slowly sip a Tim Horton’s Vanilla Cappuccino while people watching in Mont Royal Park. Any sweet tooth will be satisfied, because students will be able to easily overindulge in maple cookies, maple butter, maple pancakes, and all the other specialties of Montréal!
The city skyline is not famous for its high rises or epic skyscrapers; in fact, no building in Montréal can be taller than the cross on the Mount Royal Mountain. Old Montréal, with its cobblestone streets, boasts 17th and 18th century architecture and the perfect backdrop for an afternoon of exploring.
Students who choose high school programs in Montreal are encouraged to practice their French, but to also pick up a few words in Québecois, the local French dialect. Historically, this language was heavily influenced by English (for example, mon chum means “my friend” among French speaking Canadians, and it is also a clear example of an Anglican flavor). When spoken, French and Canadian French will have different accents, intonations, and grammar structures.
Scholarships & Costs
The cost of the high school programs in Montreal varies based on the program type and duration, but overall Canada’s prices are very similar to the United States. Programs fees are typically all-inclusive, lowering in-country costs for high school students.
Check with your program provider for information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and be sure to search through GoAbroad’s Scholarship Directory for funding options.
Accommodation & Visas
The living arrangements provided to students during high school programs in Montreal vary based on age and desired (or restricted) freedoms. Residence halls or shared housing will most definitely be an option in Montreal, and typically involve sharing a room between two or three people. Residence halls provide more supervision and have set curfew times. Students can also choose to live in homestays, where students live by the rules of their host family. Homestays will typically require travel time into the city, but the transportation costs will be included in program fees.
U.S. citizens do not need a visa to enter Canada for tourism if their stay is under 180 days. High school students typically won’t need to get a student visa, since high school study abroad programs more actively focus on meaningful travel and cultural activities, and don’t always involve attending class at a local high school.Your program provider should be able to help you obtain the correct visa for whatever program type you are participating in, especially if your stay will exceed the 180 day limit on a tourist visa.
Benefits & Challenges
Meaning in Montreal. The opportunity to go abroad in high school is life-changing, even if Canada might not seem like an exciting international local for American students. High school is the perfect time for international travel, and Montreal is the perfect place to test out some of that newfound independence; it’s great practice to get ready for university!
Seventy-five and Sunny. The weather in Montreal is mild in the summer time, with an average temperature at 75 degrees; students will have beautiful weather to accompany a beautiful city, perfect for selfies with your new friends! BUT If you’re headed to Montreal for more than just the summer, prepare for the intensity of seasonal change, and expect a cold, snowy winter up north.