Eve Chalifour, HEC Montréal (Canada)

About HEC Montréal

HEC Montréal is a Canadian business school located in Québec Canada. Québec is the French province in Canada, so the undergraduate programme are conducted unilingual (French), bilingual (French and English) or Trilingual (French, English and Spanish). I am currently doing the bilingual program which encourages students to go on an exchange for a semester. Our School offers 15 specialisations. To name some of them, there are Finance, Data Analysis, Information Technology, Marketing, Human Resource, Management and Environmental Development.

Our school activities are quite special. In the first year of undergrad, we have activities like what you see in Harry Potter. We will be put into one of the 16 groups and will be competing for a cup at the end of the year. There are 3 categories – academic, sports and social – to gain points. This run for the cup is the major event for undergraduates in my school. We are associated with our allocated group throughout our schooling years in HEC, even as alumni.

We have a lot of student interest groups. In our school, each specialization will have a group such as the HR Group, CCM (Consulting Group), FP (Finance Group), etc. There are also other general groups such as the VISA (sports club), Promo (event club), ARV (photo and video club), etc. Most of these groups are supervised by the student association.

Usually, we do not stay in student accommodation like NUS. There is one accommodation, but it may be for exchange students. I am not entirely sure about this. However, Most of the students live at home or in the apartments that they rent. I live in an apartment and I pay about 400 SGD per month. If you stay in a bigger apartment, it will definitely cost more. The rental fees will range about 300 SGD to 700 SGD. Since the conversion rate between Singapore and Canada is about 1 to 1, you won’t have that much trouble converting the amount.

We have the Autumn Semester which last from August to December, before having 2 weeks of holidays for Christmas. You will start school again in January to April before going for your summer holiday. It is pretty similar to NUS. The major holidays that we celebrate includes Christmas, Easter and Halloween.

About Canada

Québec is located in the east part of Canada. I can tell you more about the east part of Canada. It is really expensive to go from the east to the west as the country is very big and there aren’t many cheap flights. It is more expensive for me to go to Vancouver in the west as compared to Spain, Hence, many people in Québec rarely go to the west. Therefore, I can’t really tell you much about the west, but I can tell you about the east.

What you have to eat when you’re in the east part of Canada would be poutine. It is French Fries with gravy and Cheese, and its like the national food in Québec. If you’re in Montréal, the best place that you could try is La Banquise. Montréal is really famous for its bagel too. It is called Saint-viateur Bagel. Smoke meat is also a must try in Montréal and the best place to eat would be at Schwartz’s

When you’re in Montréal, you can visit the Oratoire Saint-Joseph which is a huge church near our school. Other than the church, you can go to the Olympic Park. The Olympic was held there in 1976. The old Montréal is really beautiful and has a lot to offer. Also, the Mont Royal which is in the middle of the Island and next to our school offers the best sightseeing of the city. If you go to Toronto in Ontario, the Niagara Falls are near-by. You can take a boat trip around the waterfall which is really beautiful to see.

If you have the chance to go to Québec City, the capital of Québec Province, there are many nice parks you can go to Les Plaines d’Abraham being the most popular one for its rich history. There is also an old part of Québec that is located next to the port. It is about 2 hours away from Montréal. Québec was once governed by the French, hence, it looks like an European city at that old part of town. Other than Québec City, you can also visit Toronto, which is another big city.  Also, many people who visit Montréal, will also travel to New York or Boston which is nearby. If you’re in the west side like Vancouver, you get to travel to places like California easily.

In Montréal, you travel mostly with the bus and the metro. It is pretty similar to Singapore. Instead of paying by distance, you have to pay a fixed fee of 3.50 SGD per ride in Montréal. Hence, Transport is more expensive in Montréal.  You can get the Opus Card and take a monthly bus/metro pass for around 50 SGD which can be easier for unlimited access. If you’re going to the other cities in East Canada, the easiest way is by bus or by train. For example, from Montréal to Québec City, it will cost 30 SGD one-way with student discount by bus. The plane is a lot more expensive. We also have Amigo Express which is a ride sharing service that is way cheaper. If you go to the west of Canada, many chose to take any of these transportation methods. Although the scenery that you’ll get to see when traveling by train is really beautiful, it takes about 3 days to travel to the west. Hence, for exchange students, you will probably opt for the flights instead.


About Québec City

The city is famous for the old town. The Korean drama, Globin, was shot there. Hence, there are many Asian tourists since the show aired. The biggest attraction is the Frontenac Castle. There are many shops and good restaurants. Previously, I worked in a rotating restaurant, that is located on the 28th floor. The name of the restaurant is Ciel! Bistro-Bar, which means the Sky. You will get to dine while the turns. It takes about 1.5 hour to complete one full round. The food is really good there. You can take the bus to Tadoussac to join the whale watching tours. It is something you must do when you’re there. There is also a big waterfall, Les Chutes Montmorency, which you can explore.

Québec City is a very interesting city. The people are really friendly and will recommend different places for you to go. However, many locals only speak basic English in Québec Province. You can look for the information centers, shops or restaurants to ask for directions. Everyone in Québec speaks French, except for Montréal or the tourists sites where many can speak English. Québec City has more tourists so you should be able to find many kind people to speak with.

There are many good food you have to try in Québec City like Tire d’érable which is maple syrup on a stick, Chocolat Favoris is ice cream dipped in the best chocolate in town and Queue de Castor which is another great thing to try in the old Québec. However, maple syrup and poutine are still the biggest classics in all the Quebec Province for sure.

NUS Bizad Club
NUS Bizad Club

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