living in Montreal as an American expat

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Jul 27th, 2005, 08:15 PM
  #1
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living in Montreal as an American expat

I've posted this in the Canada forum, but I thought I'd try here as well.

Although it's a bit far down on my list, there is a small chance that I might attend graduate school at McGill in Montreal ... for probably 5 years or so.

I'm wondering if anyone can offer advice about living in Canada as an American expat. Are there particular websites to consult, tips to know, etc.?

Some concerns would be my lack of French knowledge and possible confusion about such things as taxes, health care, etc. I'm also pretty conservative politically and not sure how keen I'd be on these policies anyway, as I prefer how things are done in America on this end. Also, I'm not sure how I'd handle the cold weather. I go to college in northern Indiana so I'm used to snow and cold, but this is without all the responsibilities like taking care of a car, dealing with a home, etc.

Montreal seems like a great city to visit, and McGill has an excellent reputation and is in a good location, but I'm not sure how I feel about all of the changes I'd have to get used to.

Thank you for your help.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 05:09 AM
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You may be able to get some good info on the college forum at collegeconfidential.com. There are quite a few Americans on there who are at McGill. Dress warm!
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Jul 28th, 2005, 07:08 AM
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My parents lived in Montréal for three years in the early 90s. They were conservative politically, but they soon learned that Canadian health care was quite good (my father was successfully treated for aggressive non-Hodgkins lymphoma in a clinical trial at McGill). They loved it immediately (note that both were raised in French-speaking households, so the language wasn't a problem) and would have moved back when my dad retired-- but he died shortly after moving back to the States. My mom still harbors dreams of moving back (she can get her dual citizenship back).

The Canadian people have a vastly different attitude vis-à-vis their government, and basically a different point of view on the world than Americans. From our standpoint, it's more liberal, but it works for them. Lower crime, longer life span, much more tolerant and accepting society....

Paradise, except for the cold winters. But it sure is beautiful up there.

As a non-French speaker, you can move to Westmount and almost never hear French spoken on the street. But know that Montréal is basically a bilingual city-- you have to get out of town to find the exclusively-francophone areas.

As long as you can be accepting of their different ways (you will be there as a visitor and a guest), and accept that they are more tolerant than many Americans (gay marriage is legal and most Canadians are actually fine with it), you will find one of the most breathtakingly livable cities in North America. Except for the winters and not having a work permit, I'd move there in a heartbeat.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 07:22 AM
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Are you going on a student visa or will they grant you permanent residencey? Most American students who go there don't become Canadians. I'm kinda confused as to what your intentions are.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 07:37 AM
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Sorry for the confusion. I would plan on a student visa.

Thanks for the information, rjw.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 07:38 AM
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"From our standpoint, it's more liberal, but it works for them. Lower crime, longer life span, much more tolerant and accepting society...."

Hmmm...maybe that would work for us too.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 08:14 AM
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Yes- wouldn't it be wonderful if we could somehow catch up with the rest of the world.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 09:18 AM
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Sure, pay an extra 30% in taxes, make the salary scale flat so there's less incentive to work, let the government own and operate everything, we'll have lower quality but "affordable" health care, no research in pharmaceuticals because it won't be profitable, etc. etc.

I've lived in Europe. I like it there, but don't want to live there. It's more advanced than the U.S. in some ways, but Socialism isn't all that it's cracked up to be, in my opinion. While there are some areas that you could say the rest of the world is more progressive than the U.S., talk to people who have lived in both the US and abroad. Ask the tens of millions of Asian, Latin American, Jewish, Russian immigrants who are here when they're going back???
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Jul 28th, 2005, 09:33 AM
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I agree with you, Loki. I spent a year living in England and had a great experience, but I did not support their philosophy on many of the things you have just described.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 10:03 AM
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Then you won't like Canada.
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Jul 28th, 2005, 10:39 AM
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Indeed. If you judge other countries by an American standard of living-- easy credit, as many cars as you want, PlayStations and multiple cell phones for the kids, medical care on demand no matter how trivial ("I want my butt lift NOW!!")--, most will come up short.

I'd say that Canadians make do with less disposable income to spend on disposable stuff-- and they seem rather happy to me. That's their value system, and it works for them. If being around people with different values will be bothersome, then I would avoid being around them.
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