After mentally preparing yourself for what seems like an eternity, the day has finally arrived to go one step further, stare fear straight in the eye and take control of your destiny. After saying an emotional goodbye to family and friends and to the last traces of familiarity as you move toward the unknown, you look forward anxious yet petrified.
On the plane, you imagine your life for the next three years, full of accomplishments and failures, freedom and responsibility. You have images of new friends, new professors, new places and a new you floating in your head that all seem so surreal.
All your expectations culminate as you get off the plane, fumble through customs, pick up your luggage, and stumble through the airport doors to stand amazed and lost; a lone international student in Canada. Will this be the beginning of the rest of your successful academic career in Montreal or the start on a pathway to culture-shock hell?
The university you decide to attend before you land in the cultural mosaic that is Montreal, plays an important role in your quest to integrate and adapt. “It’s very important that international students get the support they need to start off on the right foot,” says Claudette Fortier, co-ordinator of the International Students Office (ISO) at Concordia.
Montreal’s universities have their work cut out for them because the city is proving to be extremely popular, especially with French speaking countries. According to the ISO, in the fall of 2002, Concordia added another 700 foreign students to its student body, representing 124 countries bringing the total foreign student population on campus to over 2,400.
France was the highest represented country at Concordia, along with Universit