5 Quebec Cultural Differences

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Leaving for a short or long amount of time away from home always confronts the foreigner with his or her host country’s cultural differences. To study in Montreal is no exception to this rule. In 5 points, here are the key differences you need to know so that you are well prepared.

1- The language

French and English are the 2 most spoken languages on the island of Montreal. However, like any self-respecting French-speaking country, Montrealers have recaptured French and speak what is called the Québécois language. Do not panic, you will be easily understood and you will be able to communicate in French without problem. However, we must note some nuances in the language and it’s always nice to use some of the expressions specific to Quebec during a conversation 🙂

To name a few, you’ll hear Breuvage to say Boisson, Bonjour pour dire Aurevoir or Bienvenue to say De rien. The recurrence of tu at the end of the sentences or questions: ça se peux tu ? In the morning you eat déjeuner, at noon le dîner and in the evening, le souper 🙂

2- The social life

Courtesy is a value that is dear to Quebecers. You will rarely hear honking in traffic and rarely raise people’s voices, even in public places.

When you go out with friends or are invited to the restaurant or for a drink, you better have enough to pay for your own addition because when the time comes, most of the time, everyone pays what he / she has consumed.

3- Organization and punctuality


Punctuality is the politeness of kings, that’s how the saying goes. In Quebec and especially in Montreal, this is valid in all circumstances. For this reason, the major element that will help you avoid delays is to organize your trips. To do this, buses and metro are the most used public transport.

Google Map mobile apps, chrono or paper version of the STM plan are more than vital. Note that the transport is very punctual, usually no more than 2 or 3 minutes late. Even a slight delay will cause you to miss your bus.

So preparing your trips in advance by looking at bus schedules and sometimes bus-to-metro connections can really save you some time.

4- Consumption mode

Canada is in North America and who says America obviously says mass consumption. Each season, each celebration is synonymous with attraction in the stores and temptations to spend. So make a budget, because you will have to. Especially if you have just arrived with a student budget to watch. It does not mean not having fun but rather making well thought out purchases.

5- The climate

Certainly considered a geographical element, I would say that it is also a cultural difference in the way we approach the seasons. During the long winter, don’t forbid yourself from going out just because it is -10 or -20. The activities you can do indoors and outdoors are numerous, but it is necessary to cover yourself well. Choosing the right winter clothes helps to avoid nasty flus. The trick is to read the labels and temperatures supported by the boots or coats before buying them.

Here are five points that sometimes seem the most difficult for newcomers and future international students to grasp. Do not hesitate to ask us more questions on this subject . An in case of doubt, send us a message or an email ?

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