by Nick Kipriotis
HEC Montreal is located close to the CBD behind the main park of Mont Royal. The university is closely linked with the Universite de Montreal, one of the bigger schools in the city. HEC Montreal is consistently ranked one of the top universities for business in Canada, with some rankings placing the school ahead of McGill.
In terms of housing options, most students arrive a few weeks in advance so they are able to find roommates for the semester. Make sure you’re in the HECHANGE group on Facebook. Lots of other exchange students post if they’re looking for another roommate to join them for the semester. Most landlords require tenants to sign one-year leases, which can be problematic if you’re staying for less than six months. Other options include the student residence, Evo, where I stayed. Evo has two locations in the CBD with nice rooms, 24/7 front desk and nice facilities. However, you can expect to pay ~$1200CAD per month for your own room. Most of my friends were able to secure accommodation for ~$600CAD per month but it comes with the added stress of not liking your roommates and having to find someone to take over your lease
The university has two buildings: Côte-Sainte-Catherine and Decelles buildings. The classrooms and facilities are both modern and provide a comfortable learning environment. They are about a ten-minute walk from each other; you can travel one stop on the blue line of the metro if you’re feeling lazy or want to stay out of the cold during winter.
The classes I took at HEC were quite different to the ones I had taken at UNSW. They are generally more practical and focus on the real world business environment. Each class has a weekly three-hour seminar, comprising of around 40-60 students, where participation was encouraged. English classes are usually filled with exchange students because local students tend to stay away from English classes because they aren’t confident with the language.
HEC has a great student exchange body, HECHANGE, which plans a bunch of fun activities during welcome week, as well as weekly events through the semester and trips to Quebec City, Boston and Cuba. Its important that you’re around for the welcome week because it’s the best way to meet your friends for the semester! I would definitely recommend to go on a Pub Crawl with Pub Crawl MTL – a friend of mine runs them every Friday and Saturday night. It costs $20 but includes four free drinks, free coat check and entry into every bar/club. They’re super fun and are a great way of meeting people from all around the world.
Get the SPC card that gives you access to discounts at a range of clothing and food outlets. Also, everyone can speak good English in Montreal, the only people you may have issues with are cab drivers