Patrick Aura, 25: English studies
Why did you choose Université de Montréal?
Location was one of the big reasons for my decision to attend Université de Montréal, as I was already settled in Montreal. But the small size of the school’s English literature program was actually a more important reason. I found the bigger department at the university I attended previously to be impersonal, whereas at the Université de Montréal I have enjoyed closer relationships and more thoughtful engagement with professors and the other students in my department.
Describe some of your best experiences so far.
After spending most of my time as a graduate student online, I have found that the rare in-person student gatherings we’ve had are at the top of my list of good experiences. During the holiday season, I especially enjoyed meeting many of the international students who joined the department this year. Some online experiences were also positive, particularly the online graduate conference organized by our program’s student society.
Are you involved in extracurricular activities?
As president of the English Graduate Students’ Society, I help organize student activities such as conferences and creative writing workshops. Through this work, I have learned a lot about the needs of graduate students as well as how to manage big events.
What do you think of your professors?
Our faculty is small relative to the number of students, and our professors are often busy. But in my experience, they make an effort to engage with students on many levels. They take time to talk with students about specific papers or projects as well as about more general ideas.
What do you think of the school’s administration?
I have found signing up for classes to be easy, but it is important to know that most administrative duties take place in French. On the whole, the admin staff is fluent enough in English to help if that is an issue.
What is off-campus life like in Montreal?
Montreal is obviously rather well-known for its vibrant night life, but my personal interest lies elsewhere. Seen from a cultural perspective, the area immediately surrounding the Université de Montréal features Saint Joseph’s Oratory—one of the city’s best-known heritage sites—as well as a lovely mountain that I can hike up at any time of the year. Nearby areas such as Little Italy and the Plateau-Mont-Royal are worthy of exploration.
If I wrote the school motto: Villeray neighbourhood
Best place to study: Library of Arts & Sciences
Best campus events: The university tailgate party that happens at the start of the fall semester
Best campus food: La Brunante, the university’s pub
Best cheap lunch: Bringing your own lunch, of course!
Best pizza: Taty’s Pizza
Best place for a fancy dinner: Posher
Best bar for hanging out: La Retenue
Best live music venue: Salle Claude-Champagne
Best hangover breakfast: The Austin Grill
Best place for a nap: Humanities Library, seventh floor
Best weekend activity: Hiking on nearby Mount Royal
The thing that surprised me most about the school: The cohesiveness of the school’s community
If I could change one thing about the school: The number of classes given would be increased