Montreal, Canada: High taxes, bitter winds, and a 150-acre campus in downtown Montreal , McGill University has everything. Five hours north of Boston, this spread-out, English-speaking city school offers virtually any course, activity, or sport an American student could want.
At first I was overwhelmed by its size. Humungous, gargantuan , "Where does the tour start?" The first classroom we saw held 600 students; the next, 12. For a high school senior who knows exactly what he wants and is looking for a specialized rather than diverse undergraduate education, McGill may not be the best place, but, for a student like me, completely clueless as to what I would like to study, McGill's varied range of courses and opportunities is perfect.
Unlike many city schools, McGill is separate from the city that surrounds it both in language and in appearance. All courses (except foreign language and one course in Quebecian political science) are taught in English and everyone on campus speaks it (usually in addition to one or two other languages). Also, the nineteenth-century looking buildings are rarely higher than two or three stories which dramatically contrast with the 40- or 50-story high-rise buildings across the street. The campus even has trees! The university has three subway stops on campus and the largest library in Canada; they do things BIG (except for the dorm rooms which are all singles and smaller than my closet).
Although it was snowing in late April and its large classes might be a drawback, McGill is both impressive and competitive. I believe that it offers the advantages of a city school without the fears and hassles of living downtown in a foreign city. n
Reviewed in 1993
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.