Quebec City is one of the most beautiful places to study in North America. With its beautiful European-style architecture, its French heritage, and its amazing food scene, Quebec City offers the most European-style experience available this side of the Atlantic. Add to that Canada’s gorgeous natural scenery, and you have an all-around beautiful place to immerse yourself in French-Canadian language and culture.
Though the city is full of old world style charm, it’s also home to a vibrant array of outdoor markets, festivals, museums, and restaurants -- all the things that make Quebec City a wonderful destination for studying abroad.
Culture & Immersion
Quebec City is most francophone place in North America, and it’s famous for art, culture, and amazing food. The best way to immerse yourself in student life and culture is to join a few clubs or activities on campus, and to find a meetup group or two off campus to join as well. These groups are the easiest way to find like-minded people to share experiences!
In addition, it’s a good idea to take a language course while you’re here. Even if your primary purpose in being there isn’t to study French, taking at least an introductory class will help you navigate the city and make friends with some of the awesome local people that you’ll meet.
Culture Shock & Support
It’s completely normal to experience some culture shock when studying abroad, especially when you’re immersing yourself in a new language as well as a new place. From street signs written in French to the number of layers you need to wear in winter, there are likely to be all sorts of little things that remind you that you’re no longer at home. And that’s okay!
Take advantage of your university’s resources for international students to help address culture shock issues -- they’re likely to have programs in place to help students from other countries adjust. In addition, talk to your fellow exchange students -- you may find that they’re feeling the same kind of homesickness and culture shock that you are, and in talking together, you’ll find yourself with some amazing new friends!
The lifestyle in Quebec City is vibrant and highly cultured; you can visit museums, attend concerts, and eat some really amazing food. The city manages to be lively without being super fast-paced, making it a great place to explore. In addition, the beautiful Canadian countryside, and sights like Montmorency Falls, mean that locals get outside every chance they can when the weather is good. Join a walking or biking tour to take advantage of the beautiful scenery!
Insider Tips on Studying Abroad in Quebec City
One of the best things about student life in Quebec City is the number of festivals throughout the year. There are huge summer and winter festivals, as well as numerous arts and cultural events throughout the year. Take advantage of all of them!
With direct enrollment, you’re applying for and enrolling in a university as an exchange student, without any intermediaries. All your application materials go directly to the university, and you pay your tuition fees directly to the university as well. The direct enrollment option can save you money and offers flexibility in course choices, so it's a good option if your budget is tight or if you don't want to be constrained by your home university's requirements.
Direct exchange is when your home university has an exchange agreement with an international university. This option gives you most of the benefits of direct enrollment, without having to navigate the international application and financial aid processes on your own. If your home university has an exchange agreement with a university in Quebec City, you'll be able to enroll and attend classes in at your exchange university, but you'll keep paying your regular tuition at home and you'll automatically receive credit for your courses abroad.
A third-party provider is an external organization that arranges international study abroad programs. Studying through one of these organizations can make the whole process much smoother and less stressful, since these programs can help coordinate everything from visa applications to housing. Providers do charge a fee, but for many students, the fee is well worth the knowledge that someone else is taking care of all the details.
Inexpensive housing is available through most universities in Quebec City, either in residence halls or in shared student apartments. The Guide Habitation is a web resource that lists all the student housing options available in the city, and each university will have its own guides to housing options as well. In addition, rent in Quebec city is quite affordable -- you can find one bedroom apartments available for about $700/month.
Quebec City has an excellent public transportation system, with buses running frequently throughout most of the city. In addition, numerous bike paths provide an excellent way of getting around when the weather is good. To travel outside of Quebec City, there are several coach bus options to other cities in Canada. To visit rural areas or smaller towns, you may need to rent a car.
Cost of Living
Cost of living in Quebec City is quite reasonable. With several affordable housing and dining options available, students can live quite well! If you’re coming from the USA, the American dollar is typically stronger than the Canadian dollar, giving you a favorable rate of exchange.
Citizens of most countries will need student visas in order to work in Quebec City, though there are some exceptions for students whose programs last fewer than six months. In order to qualify for a student visa, you must be able to document that you’ve been accepted by an educational institution in Canada, prove that you have enough money for your tuition and living expenses during your time in Canada, and that you have enough money for your return transportation back home. Depending on your country of origin, you may also need a temporary resident visa.
More information about student visas for Canada is available on Canadian immigration’s student visa website.
Can You Work While Studying in Quebec City?
Whether or not you’re able to work while studying in Quebec City will partly depend on your visa restrictions, but many student visas do offer the opportunity for students to work part-time. Even if your visa does not include a work permit, you may still be eligible to take a part-time job on campus. The Canadian Immigration website includes detailed information about working as a student.
Each university in Canada has its own set of scholarships, and many universities in the US offer scholarships to help students travel abroad. The Canadian government also offers scholarships for international students. In addition Go Overseas has its own scholarship page, you can find more information and resources on study abroad grants and scholarhsips.