Exchange Report: HEC Montreal, Montreal, Canada. Davis Hung (BBA in Finance and Professional Accounting) Fall 2015 exchange

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1 Exchange Report: HEC Montreal, Montreal, Canada Davis Hung (BBA in Finance and Professional Accounting) Fall 2015 exchange

2 Table of contents Part 1 Activity Log Part2 General Exchange Information Part 3 Checklist Part 1: Activity Log August There was a welcoming week organized by HEChange, a student association in HEC Montreal. The week facilitated interaction between exchange students and gave exchange students a basic understanding on this place. The week usually started with a city tour, followed by some major attractions in Montreal. I enjoyed the Welcome week as it was a good chance to make friend before the school began.

3 September The weather was hot in September, everyone wore short-sleeves. The school began on 31 August, which was Monday. Each course has a total of three lecture hours per week. The teaching style is almost the same as UST. In September, the school also organized many trips to cities near Montreal. For me, I joined the tour to Quebec City and Ottawa. These two places are great. You can see blue sky together with the beautiful landscapes in these two places. Ice hockey is one of the most famous sports in Canada, so it should not be missed. I watched the hockey game during my trip in Ottawa which was wonderful. I also went to Toronto by myself. Toronto was different from Montreal, where people did not speak French. October Mid-term examination usually takes place at mid-october, followed by a week mid-term break. There were many assignment to do before the mid-term. But I believe as a student from HKUST, the examinations here are not so challenging at all given that you have wellprepared. Apart from the school works, there are many things to discover in Montreal. In October, you can see the maple leaves started to turn yellow. So I went to Mont Tremblant, one of the best locations in Montreal to see the maple leaves. The weather in October was awesome, you can see trees with three colors, green, yellow and red. The landscapes were great in sunny days.

4 November After coming back from a short vocation, it s time to continue the study. It was getting colder and colder in Montreal, the average temperature was around 10 degree. But the weather was still fine, most of the days were sunny days. In November, I walked around Montreal and visited many renowned places, such as the Notre-Dame Basilica, Old Montreal, Mont Royal You can see a different perspective of Montreal when visiting these places. December

5 The last month in Montreal! I missed Montreal so much. Unlike the past years, the weather in December was not as cold as it snowed. I was a bit disappointed. Still the temperature dropped to around zero degree. I only experienced a couple snowing days. Still it was very cold in those days. Under the cold weather, I went to skate with my friends in Old Montreal, it was an unforgettable experience. Many projects and presentations deadline were in December, so it was a tough month for me. It was a record for me to do 2 written report and 2 presentations within a month. After finishing all the lectures, final examination was scheduled in mid-december which had the similar format as mid-term exam. I also had a party after my examination ended! Part 2. General Information 1. VISA Procedures If you hold a HKSAR passport who will stay in Canada less than 6 months, it is no need to apply for a student VISA. But if you plan to travel to the US during the mid-term break or after the semester, remember to apply a US VISA before going exchange. Also, the school may organize trips to other countries such as Cuba, you may have to apply a VISA also in

6 order to go to these countries. However, these VISA can be applied when you are in Montreal. 2. Orientation Activities Before the semester begins, there is a welcoming week held in mid-august targeting all exchange students. It is $329CAD for the orientation activity and airport pickup service. It can be a great opportunity for you to get familiar with other exchange students and make friends. The package usually consists of 5-6 activities, including a city tour, spending a day in amusement park If you do not want to spend that much, you can join selectively in which each activity may cost CAD. 3. Accommodation Since HEC Montreal does not have its own hall, so exchange students can usually rent the place to live through GetYourPlace. However, the places for rental are limited and the price is generally high. Students may look for other sources in finding the place to live. For me, I found the accommodation through a Facebook group for HEC Montreal students. 4. Courses Registration HEC Montreal course registration is exactly the same as HKUST. So it should not be a problem for HKUST students in enrolling courses. But there are some extra things. The courses shown in the website include the time and date for examination. So make sure there is not crash for the lecture time as well as the examination time. Also, make sure you enroll in English course, not French unless you know French. The course code for English courses always end at an A. 5. Teaching & Assessment Methods They are similar to those in UST. You are assessed according to your in-class participation, assignments, presentations and examinations. However, there is no formal tutorial sessions like what we have in UST. Sometimes, the lecturers may have their own arrangement for the tutorial. You just have to check frequently for any extra information about the course. And there is always a TA for each course who is willing to answer questions.

7 6. Sports and Recreation Facilities There s a health center called Cepsum, which is 10 minutes away from the main building (CSC building). If you would like to use the facilities, you have to become a member, in which the membership fee is 90CAD for 4 months 7. Health and Safety HEC Montreal health insurance plan is compulsory for exchange students. It is CAD 371 per semester. You will pay during the orientation in HEC Montreal, by cash or credit card. Montreal is a very safe city. It has overnight bus services, so it is not a big problem even if you go home late. 8. Transportation The bus and metro system in Montreal are well-connected. The standard fee for the single way ticket is 3 CAD no matter you take a bus or metro. There are many choices for saving money, weekly pass, monthly pass and 4 months pass. Please be reminded that the monthly pass must be start from the beginning of the month. So please be reminded to buy some tickets if you are not arrive at the beginning of the month. 9) Cost/Expenses From my personal experience, normally one spends CAD per month, excluding personal travelling expense. This amount also depends on how often you dine out. For me, I cook in my house most of the time. 10) Food There are 15% tax on goods and 15% tips in Montreal, so dining out can be very expensive. One can choose to cook by him/herself. Usually, if you choose to dine out, it will cost you CAD including all taxes and tips. However, according to my experience, it only costs you 5-10 CAD to cook a meal for yourselves. 11) Climate

8 You can experience the three seasons in Montreal if you go to exchange in fall semester. It is always sunny from August to November. The temperature is approximately dropping 5-10 degree each month. The coldest day was -5 to -6 degree in December. Snowing is not common in 2015, but the climate is not certain, so just get prepared. 12) Communication As Montreal is a bilingual city, local people speak French and English. When they speak to you, they also think you know both French and English. It is usual that they first speak French to you. But don t worry, they are willing to switch to speak English when they hear you speak English. Part 3. Checklist 1) Passport & Travel Document 2) Acceptance Letter 3) Adapter and charger 5) Credit Card 6) Adequate Cash (at least cover the first month expense) 7) Laptop 8) Cell phones 9) Camera 10) Medicine kit 11) Water-proof shoes 12) Others

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