Student Interviews: Reflecting on the First Week in Montreal

It has been an extremely busy first week in the Montreal Study abroad program for the twenty of us. From hiking mountains to reviewing syllabi, the past few days have been jam-packed full of activities as we’ve tried our best to ​​become acclimated to life and classes in Montreal. To attempt to get a handle on how my peers were feeling about their first week, I took a moment to interview them about their experiences. I interviewed five of my fellow students. This included two Game Production Management majors- Jed and Carson. Also interviewed were three Game Design Majors- Liam, Isaac, and Brody. Below are some of the answers they shared with me.

What was your favorite thing we did during orientation? What about the activity appealed to you?

Jed: The improv show, it was the most entertaining. I was shocked by how enjoyable it was. Admittedly, I was initially skeptical but ended up having a good time.

Brody: I’d say the comedy show, because improv is really funny. That and the hike up Mont Royal were a lot of fun.

I was a little shocked to hear that the improv show was so popular- similar to Jed, I wasn’t sure at all if I would be genuinely entertained. Many of us had never been to an improv show before and were not sure what to expect as we entered the venue on Saturday night. I could not have guessed that I actually would be crying from laughter later that night. The energy in the room was so fun and quirky that most of us in the audience couldn’t help but crack up at least once. Overall, it was a great way to take our minds off of the upcoming week of classes and laugh with each other.

What, in the Montreal experience, have you been pleasantly surprised by?

Isaac: Generally, I was surprised how friendly people are. I had heard many intimidating stories about how Montrealers don’t really like foreigners, but coming here everyone’s been super nice, super friendly.

Liam: People are just…nice here. Whenever I go to a big city in the US everyone seems aggressive. I was also put at ease by my interactions with the people of Montreal. Before traveling here, I had been nervous about the heavily French nature of the city. I kept waiting for the moment where I wouldn’t be able to navigate a situation because I wasn’t fluent in French. To my great delight, that moment still hasn’t come and I doubt it will at this point. In my experience, Montrealers tend to be happy to accommodate. Of course, it’s still respectful to throw a little bonjour or merci in there when applicable.

What is the biggest difference between Montreal and where you come from?

Brody, from Bedford, New Hampshire: Lots of buildings! Bedford NH is very suburban as compared to this.

Carson, from Malone, New York: There’s so much to do! People actually go out and do things instead of staying inside. Getting out and being able to go down the street to buy groceries doesn’t really exist in Malone. Also, I’m grateful for the easy transportation everywhere.

Similar to some of those interviewed, my experience in a more walkable and urban environment is extremely different from my hometown. I’m from a suburb in northern Massachusetts where the nearest reasonably-priced grocery store is a 15-minute drive away. It’s wild to me how many places can be accessed here through either a quick walk or a slightly less quick metro ride. It’s a much more densely populated area than I’m used to living in with plenty of easily accessible places to visit.

What is your favorite class so far? Why?

Jed: Advanced Seminar in Game Business, because it’s taught by a very respectable and trustworthy source on the topic. The professor works at Bethesda. A lot of stuff was talked about that hadn’t been covered in a class yet that interests me as a producer. Some examples from the first class have been game monetization, markets and gaming platforms.

Brody: Advanced Seminar in Game Design- lots of good information and freedom to make what we want. They even offered to review our portfolios and give us information about whether they would hire us with industry knowledge.

Isaac: Advanced Seminar in Game Design. It’s a lot more freedom than we’ve ever gotten before.

Liam: I like Advanced Seminar in game design. We have almost full freedom? It’s awesome. There’s no strict curriculum we have to follow.

Carson: Food writing, easily. I can already tell it’s gonna be a really fun class. We’ll get out and try a lot of different foods. I’m looking forward to telling personal stories. That’s just fun for me! People get a little taste of my hometown and, unfortunately, learn a bit about Carson Griffin.

What has been your favorite place to eat that you’ve found?

Jed: Poke monster. It’s a Poke Bowl place on Saint-Denis Street. I got a tempura bowl, and it was pretty solid.

Brody: Poulet Rouge on Saint-Denis Street. They just had really good BBQ chicken, not gonna lie. It’s pretty much chipotle except with more options.

Carson: Honestly, The Farsides was a good place with a fun atmosphere. They have some interesting names for menu items, too.

Isaac: I don’t think Carson’s cooking counts, unfortunately. Loaded pierogi was pretty good, though. I got poutine with buffalo chicken on top of it. It felt like the most American dish but still distinctly Canadian.

Liam: The cat cafe. Dude. Let me show you a couple cats (At this point, Liam showed us photos of cats on his phone). Bro is just sleeping on the counter bro. A kitten snuck up to my table and grabbed my food. It’s awesome.

Anything else that stuck out to you from this week that you want to tell everyone about?

Jed: It’s not too bad of an adjustment. It is relatively simple to get to terms with everything here. The facilities they provide are quite nice. The academic center is a fun spot to be.

Brody: The Academic Center, I feel, is way better than expected. I am probably gonna spend more time here than my actual room.

Isaac: Everyone here from Champlain is super chill and awesome. We’re already really tight knit.

Carson: No matter how much you prepare yourself mentally for a new country, you really don’t know anything until you get there. That’s been really apparent here. It’s clear that everyone’s still adjusting, but once they do, we’re going to have a lot of fun.

More Montreal
Interview with Ubisoft Game Lab Contestants
Interview with Rudolphe Recca
The Mont Royal Hiking Experience