I returned from Montreal, QC, Canada a few weeks ago, and the culture shock was immediate. For six weeks, I participated in a French language immersion program, partaking in daily classes and excursions with fellow students. I got acquainted with students from my university and met several others from around the world. Overall, the experience of life in Montreal is one that I will remember for years to come.
In additional to all of the on-going festivals in Montreal and neighboring cities, there are many sites worth viewing. If you are considering visiting Quebec, here are a few suggested attractions:
Montreal’s indoor zoo hosts a variety of animals including wild birds, exotic fish, and a plethora of mammals. The biggest attraction at the Biodome may be the penguins and puffins. For children, there is a simulated rainforest in which they can play; umbrellas were provided. I saw a few adults having fun with the “rainforest” while there.
Cons: The Biodome is not very expansive. Also, visiting this zoo is not free; prices for individuals and groups vary.
The Botanical Garden
I did not get to visit this exquisite garden, but a few of my classmates did.
“There was a beautiful assortment,” said one student. “I have an interest in horticulture, so for me, seeing all of the plants and learning facts about them was cool.”
Visitors to the garden can partake in guided, educational tours. Admission fees vary by season.
If you are looking to take a trip to neighboring cities, Quebec City should be your destination of choice! Students in my program went on a day-trip to Quebec City. Not only did we visit Old Quebec but we also were taken on a tour of the Huron Indian reservation.
The atmosphere in Quebec City varies greatly from Montreal; if you can afford it, I recommend spending at least one night there. There are a variety of shops that you would expect, including jewelry and clothing vendors; there are also one-of-a-kind restaurants. Some of my peers and I ate at “Le Petit Cochon” or “The Little Pig” in English. Authentic French food such as “Croque Monsieur” sandwiches were served, along with many types of pizza.
The Huron-Wendat Reservation
Visiting the Huron reservation was also interesting. Upon entering the compound, visitors are greeted with a traditional Huron Indian welcome dance. After the dance, our guide led us through a model reservation, describing the history of the Huron in Quebec.
My classmates and I participated in many more excursions around Montreal and the surrounding Quebec. Leaving the province of Quebec was bittersweet for most of us.
For more information about the attractions listed above, please follow these links:
• Montreal Biodome
• Montreal Botanical Garden
• Huron-Wendat Reservation
For more information about studying abroad and other topics, subscribe to this column!