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Is French really necessary in McGill

spasticityspasticity Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
edited July 2011 in Canada
An international student who comes from a mainly English-speaking Asian country, I am interested in applying to McGill arts (probably majoring in Political science and economics).

But, is knowledge of the French language necessary to survive in there academically and socially? Being aware that it is located in Montreal where French is the official language, I am afraid that I might be left out as I can't speak and understand French.

And does McGill really have many many international students there?

I would really appreciate if anyone who has, is currently attending, or has friends from McGill, shares your experience :)
Post edited by spasticity on

Replies to: Is French really necessary in McGill

  • helloworld2011helloworld2011 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    Hi! Most of my friends here at McGill dont actually speak french that well or at all!
    Especially in the McGill ghetto, where McGill students spend most of their time, english is the most used language and on campus too.
    A lot of people end up taking some french class because its just the logical thing to do but you dont really need it. Some people go all their lifes living in Montreal without ever learning french!
    I m an international student and I find that there are indeed a lot of international students here, especially in rez.
  • PrincetonDreamsPrincetonDreams - Posts: 1,021 Senior Member
    No one I know who attends McGill speaks any French. Montreal is very bi-lingual from what I've heard.
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 11,490 Senior Member
    McGill is an English university. You will not have any problem if you do not speak French. However, if you do attend and live there for four years, it will be the perfect opportunity to learn the language if you would like to do so.
  • spasticityspasticity Registered User Posts: 80 Junior Member
    Montreal is a really great city from what I heard; it has a fantastic nightlife and is one of the most affordable cities around in Canada too. McGill's tuition fees are comparatively lower than UBC's and UofT's and it has a pretty strong international reputation too.

    That said, so as long as I can speak and understand French reasonably well, I would not face xenophobic sentiments from the French Canadians in Montreal?
  • tomofbostontomofboston Registered User Posts: 2,373 Senior Member
    There are 700,000 anglophones (English mother tongue) in the Montreal area. The West End and West Island is majority anglophone. Most services are readily available in English. The only time a lack of French would be a problem is if you try to get a job off campus.

    Here are links to some English media in Montreal:
    Montreal Gazette - Breaking News, Quebec, Opinion, Multimedia & More
    CBC Montreal
    News/Talk Leader CJAD 800 :: Home
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 11,490 Senior Member
    spasticity, as Tom has said, there are hundreds of thousands of English speaking people in Montreal, maybe even more if you include the suburbs. Someone who does not speak French will not be unique. We have family in Montreal and so, we've spent a lot of time there through the years. I've never felt out of place and have never felt that any French Canadians resented my presence there. :) When you go to stores or restaurants, etc., the staff will be bilingual, for the most part. If you can speak and understand French reasonably well, you will have no problem in this regard. Hundreds of thousands of English speaking Canadians live their entire lives in Montreal without ever speaking a word of French.
  • wallingtonwallington Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    spasticity - As a McGill student, you will be fine. You will be living in an English-speaking area, communicating with English-speaking people, and taking classes in English. If you're interested in having a job during the schoolyear, however, you may run into some issues. To work in Montreal in as a salesperson, in a restaurant, etc, you need to be fluent in French. Otherwise I'd strongly encourage you to apply to McGill; it is a strong school and Montreal is a safe, diverse, fun city that is a wonderful mesh of North America and Europe!
This discussion has been closed.