Abby’s Final Thoughts

When I crossed the bridge into Montreal back in August it suddenly hit me that this is where I would be until December. I have previously worked at an overnight summer camp that would keep me away from home for two months during the summer, but somehow I was still a little apprehensive about being away from everything that was familiar for so long. It had been easy for me to say that Burlington was only an hour or so away so Montreal wouldn’t be too different until I arrived. The first week here I quickly realized that I was going to be living in a city with its own rich and unique culture. Almost immediately, I fell in love with the city and those who formed its unique culture.

I have a deeply rooted faith that purposefully placing yourself outside of your comfort zone creates an environment that nurtures growth. If we were comfortable all the time, we would never test our limits and see what we are truly capable of. During my time in Montreal, there were definitely challenges that pushed me out of my comfort zone. For me, speaking French is something that makes me wildly uncomfortable. I studied French for three years in high school and picked it up again this semester. I can read quite a few things and understand when someone speaks to me. However, speaking was always difficult because I felt I would look dense or say something wrong.

While in the city most people speak English, there was a coffee shop below my internship that was mostly French-speaking. While this problem may seem minuscule in the bigger picture, I realized that my fear of speaking was rooted in the same place that held me back in more important areas such as bringing up ideas at work or doing something alone. It was all rooted in the fear of others judging me. While it’s possible I may never need to use French again, feeling confident enough to care less about what others think is something I will be using every day for the rest of my life. If it wasn’t for pushing myself to feel uncomfortable in a new place, it may have been a lot longer until I identified something that was holding me back.

It was also evident I was not the only one who was feeling the transformative powers of being in a new place. This semester has brought me so many new friends who I know I can count on. This is my second time abroad with Champlain College, the first being Dr. Scudder’s two-week trip to Zanzibar, but there is nothing that bonds people together like exploring a new place. A challenge I had even before coming to Montreal was the fear of leaving many of my friends behind in Burlington. I am an introvert so making new friends is often difficult and may take a while for me to become close to someone. I was worried about not being able to experience everything I wanted to because I only knew a few people who were coming to Montreal.

However, I quickly realized that everyone wanted to experience Montreal as much as I did and many of us left friends behind in Burlington. Finding people who wanted to go out and experience the city was the easiest way to find new friends and get over my introverted tendencies.

At the beginning of the semester, I made a promise to myself to take every opportunity I could and get the most out of this experience as I could. One of the opportunities I was lucky enough to have was my internship with Ironbelly Studios. Over the semester I have learned so much about marketing and the video game industry. It was an amazing feeling to realize that I could combine my major and something I was passionate about. When I chose marketing as a major it felt right but I was a little apprehensive if it was the right choice for me. Each semester I found my mind wandering to all the different majors I could have chosen; from nursing to graphic design I was always wondering if I made the right choice. My internship really allowed me to see exactly what I’ve been studying for. I have never felt more secure in my choice. Events such as a “lunch and learn” about marketing and publishing indie games have given me a deeper knowledge about the video game industry and how I could fit into it with my major.

While I am excited to go home for the holidays and eventually back to Burlington, I appreciate the time I’ve spent in Montreal so much. I hope one day to come back to visit or maybe someday work within the city. There is little time left to this semester and I plan on continuing my goal of getting everything thing I can out of it. I’m so thankful for everything that has happened this semester, no matter if it was a challenging task at my internship or a fun night out with friends. It is a great feeling to know that I am leaving Montreal with an abundance of amazing memories.

More Montreal
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