From Sydney to Montreal: Clarissa Lim

Melody Zhou for Her Campus McGill: Hi! What’s your name and what year are you in?

Clarissa Lim: Hi my name is Clarissa and I’m in my 3rd year of undergraduate degree back in University of Sydney, Australia.  

HC McGill: Have you always lived in Sydney?

CL: I have actually moved over to Sydney only in 2016 and prior to that I was studying in Singapore.

HC McGill: Why did you choose McGill? What other locations were you considering?

CL: I have chosen McGill because it is a highly sought after and well recognised university, especially for my Psychology major. Other locations I was considering were UCLA and University of Texas, Austin.  

HC McGill: What are some large differences between life here and life in Australia?

CL: Living in Sydney, which is a huge city, made coming to Montreal a different experience for me. The city [Montreal] is smaller, calmer and everything seems to be more intimate. Being in Montreal which is a largely French speaking area, I felt like I have immersed myself in two different cultures at the same time - European and Canadian. Besides that, signs and food menus are written in both French and English. That itself is a huge difference for me since back in Sydney, most signs if not all are written just in English. The weather is another new thing for me. Winter back home is mild and does not snow. However, as winter approaches in Montreal, temperatures could drop to below 0 degrees and the wind chills could be unbearable. It is also the first time I am experiencing a white Christmas so I am very excited for the snow!  

HC McGill: What was the transition like?

CL: The transition was not tough but not an easy one either. Being a non-French speaker living in Montreal could be confusing at times when you are trying to figure out what the signs in French mean or the grocery labels in French markets. However, most people are bilingual here so my best bet would be to ask someone and I am sure many friendly Canadians would be willing to offer you a hand.  

HC McGill: What advice do you have for other students considering traveling abroad?

CL: Some advice I would have for other students would be to put yourself out there and learn new things! Maybe set a goal for yourself to accomplish something before you arrive. May it be picking up the French language, going skiing or just making a new friend in every one of your class. Take opportunities, do things you’d never be able to try back home and always approach things/people with an open mind and an open heart. Save as much as you can before going for your exchange so you could spend them on experiences that you could not buy.  

HC McGill: What will you miss most about Montreal?

CL: One thing I’ll miss most about Montreal would be the buzzing city and peaceful countryside life I could experience both at the same time.

Images provided by interviewee.