Spring break in Montreal

Bonjour les amis!

After 3.5 intense months at Cornell, it is time for spring break. Finally! I must confess I really needed it. Both my level of stress and fatigue were reaching a peak. Most American students go to the beach for spring break, getting some sun and vitamin D in Miami or Los Angeles. Personally, I had other plans. As I love the cold so much, I decided to spend my one week break up north in Montreal, Canada. I have two high school friends studying there and decided to seize the opportunity to visit them. My Italian friend Chiara joined me for this journey.

Getting to Montreal was a great adventure on itself. As the plane was out of budget and the train non-existent, Chiara and I took the Greyhound bus. There is no direct line from Ithaca to Montreal so we had to transit in 4 different places. The total journey took us 15 hours. But it was definitely worth it! Contrarily to what we had expected, spring was making itself known in Canada for the first time after a very long cold winter. The sunshine was very much enjoyable. We stayed at my friends’ place, which is situated in the centre of the city. Montreal is a very young and lively place. It hosts a lot of universities, including Canada’s equivalent of Harvard: Mc Gill. People are open and artsy; culture is the beating heart of the city. We went to the opening of an art gallery where we enjoyed an exhibition about African immigration. We also went to a bar to hear live music and poetry. It was great to be out at night again. As I am under 21 I am not allowed to drink in the US, which limits my night life considerably. So this week of spring break was the perfect occasion to enjoy a good cocktail again!

Montreal is a great place for foodies. As it is part of Quebec, it conserves many aspects of the French way of life. Boulangeries and little cafés can be found everywhere. Chiara and I were delighted by the good espressos. A lot tastier than the brewed soup they call coffee in America! And as a real Frenchy I enjoyed the croissants and baguettes a lot, almost feeling home. One of my high school friends is a foodie too and showed us all the greatest eating places of Montreal. We had lovely brunches and dinners. Montreal is very open to vegetarianism and sustainability. A great deal of the food and drinks were organic and/or vegetarian. As a sustainability engineer, I surely loved that!

Finally, I want to say a few words on Mc Gill. As the tuition fees are a lot lower than in the US, it is a great opportunity for students not able to pay $50,000 a year and still willing to receive an Ivy League level of education. My friend studying there is having a great time, learning a lot at university and appreciating the liveliness of the city. From what I saw and heard, I recommend you guys to consider Mc Gill as a potential place for your studies. People I met were smart, interesting and positive about the education they received. And a funny fact to end this post: did you know ice hockey was invented at Mc Gill?

A la prochaine!