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Why Montreal is a great destination for language curious teenagers

As the second largest province in Canada, Québec is the rising star of Canada’s education destinations and without a doubt should be on the list for the adventurous and language curious youth seeking an unforgettable experience.

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"To enhance the exposure to the French culture, some families ask for bilingual host accommodations"

In 2022, Canada welcomed over 807,000 international students at all levels, with 45,000 in the K-12 level. Québec was selected by 12% of the overall number as a study destination.

Although Québec is a French-speaking province, Montreal is unique in that it is known to be a bilingual city where both French and English are widely spoken, making it a prime destination for language learning and immersion. Indeed, statistics show that approximately 60% of Montrealer’s are bilingual.

Studying in the bilingual city of Montreal can provide numerous benefits for language learners looking to improve their skills. Many students are studying second and third languages, with French often being one of those choices and Montreal provides a viable alternative for them. In fact, at LBPSB we are seeing an increase in requests from students who want to improve their English while developing their proficiency in French as their third language.

Montreal is well placed to respond to these types of requests because of the integration of the languages at the curriculum level and in the community.

In the English language school boards, the Québec education curriculum includes opportunities for students to improve their French language. To enhance the exposure to the French culture, some families ask for bilingual host accommodations which is an easy request to accommodate given the demographics of the neighbourhoods that Lester B. Pearson serves. Our homestay partners are willing and able to provide homestay experiences in bilingual families.

Besides the high-quality education and linguistic immersion possibilities that Montreal provides, there are other benefits that adventurous language learners will gain from being in Montreal.

More for your money

Not only is it a safe city, but tuition fees are among the lowest in North America, making Montreal a very affordable option for a quality education. Compared to other major North American cities, the cost of living in Montreal also tends to be lower, reducing the overall fees of studying abroad. In fact, Lester B. Pearson School Board is one of the only two public school boards in Canada that offers a reasonably priced residence option for international students. The school board also has one of the highest graduation rates in the province.

Culturally diverse

Montreal is a diverse city with a large international community, providing students the opportunity to experience various cultures, make new friends, and learn about people from different backgrounds. At the LBP residence, some of our Mexican and Spanish students discovered the pleasures of eating late night ramen from our Vietnamese and Chinese students – which has now become a weekend ritual for connection and bonding.

“Montreal’s combination of high-quality education, cultural diversity, affordability, safety, and rich cultural heritage makes it a highly attractive city”

International students can feel confident and secure here whilst enjoying a variety of recreational and leisure activities. We never get tired of seeing their faces light up when they see their first snowfall or carve their first pumpkin.

Four Seasons of Fun

Montrealer’s are lucky to enjoy the four beautiful seasons in their full splendor and make the most of each with seasonal activities. Despite the fear of the sub-zero temperatures Montreal is known for, the fun does not stop in the Winter! In fact, students learn how to embrace the cold, and enjoy the unique seasonal activities in the beautiful city.

At LBP, the international students residing in the dormitory participate in many of these activities to celebrate and behold the wonders each season brings.

Never a dull moment!

Montreal has a rich history and a strong tradition of artistic and cultural expression, with numerous museums, galleries, and festivals for students to explore. This provides students with an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Québec and Canadian culture. Simply walking around the city provides a visual feast for the eyes as one takes in the mix of past, present and future. Indeed, there is never a dull moment in Montreal!

Montreal’s combination of high-quality education, cultural diversity, affordability, safety, and rich cultural heritage makes it a highly attractive city for the international and language curious teenager and must always be included as a worthwhile option when promoting Canada as a study destination.

About the author: This is a sponsored article by Shalini Dowlani, Manager, International Programs at Lester B. Pearson School Board.

Shalini moved to Montreal over 20 years ago from Hong Kong and started her career in the youth sector by placing international students in host families for a National Homestay organization in Canada.  She progressed into the education sector as Manager of International Youth programs, drawing from her wealth of professional administrative knowledge, personal experiences as an international voyager, and first-hand understanding from dealing with her own two teenaged daughters.   Shalini considers herself a global citizen, and believes every student should try to experience travel outside their home province or country, because it is only by getting out of our comfort zones can we truly experience growth and open-mindedness.  

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