After two years in Leeds I was keen to extend my academic experiences through an extra year of study, as well as to meet the challenge of living in a new and distant environment. I chose to study abroad in Montreal for two main reasons: the prestige of McGill University, and the allure of city's vibrant arts scene, particularly its reputation for live music. Montreal is a bilingual city and, whilst this sometimes causes difficulties, most of the time it adds to the diversity of its cultural exuberance. The city features countless film festivals as well as a reputation for avant-garde performance art, dance and literary events. It is also near (in North American terms) a range of amazing cities, including New York, Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Quebec City, which I took the opportunity to visit.
As well as the city's hectic schedule of events, McGill's combination of academic excellence and extra-curricular enthusiasm makes it a great place to learn, make friends, and discover new interests. For example, I involved myself with their excellent student newspaper (McGill Daily) and helped organise exhibitions for a student-run art gallery. I was also able to diversify my studies by taking classes on topics ranging from postmodern Canadian literature to avant-garde American cinema, which has provided a fresh range of knowledge for my final year at Leeds. As a result of this life-enhancing year, not only do I now feel more assured in my academic abilities, but I am more confident in my capability to adapt to future environments.