By Rachel So (McGill University, Montréal, Canada).
I have now finished my semester abroad at McGill. The four months have been both a joy and a challenge. Academically, it has been tough. There are a number of differences between Manchester and McGill:
Firstly, there is more regular assessment throughout the semester at McGill. In Manchester, the majority of your mark is based on the final exam. But in McGill, there are may midterms, essays, presentations and quizzes that need to be completed throughout the semester. This means that you have to stay on top of your work. If you slack off, you’ll find that you are very far behind!
Secondly, the attitude towards studying is very different at McGill. The majority of the people at McGill care a lot about their education. This means that they are willing to work very hard and put in a lot of effort. Students are also willing to help one another out. Students are always willing to email the lecture notes they made in class to other students who have missed lectures.
Thirdly, everything is much more intense at McGill. The semesters are four months long, with one reading week in March. There is no study break before final exams. During the semester, there is more content to learn in lectures. Each lecture is packed with so much information. This means that you end up learning a lot, but it is a very tiring in the process.
Reflecting at my time at McGill, I definitely felt like I learnt here than at my semester at Manchester. The whole attitude towards studying is different and it is clear that people care a lot more about their education. This has pushed me to work harder and has given me to opportunity to learn many new things. However, I am not sure if I would be able to sustain this lifestyle! It was manageable for one semester but I don’t know if I would be able to take four years of this amount of work. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to study at McGill and I know that I have learnt many new things.