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Differences (2014)

Botanic Gardens Montreal
This blog post was originally published in 2014. It was accidentally deleted and restored in January 2018.
When it’s been so long since you’ve posted an update it’s difficult to figure out what you should talk about. It won’t be possible to talk about everything that’s happened since I last posted two months ago, but one thing I know I can talk about is differences.

Before coming to Concordia, I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of classes, assessment, exams, anything. I didn’t know if it would be exactly the same, or so different that I’d have no idea what I am doing and end up failing everything. Thankfully, it is not that bad but I can definitely say that this study abroad experience is nothing like my university experience of the last two years. Concordia is really, really, really different to Maynooth.

Size

For starters, Maynooth University has around 8,000 – 9,000 students. Concordia University has 45,954. Those numbers alone should demonstrate to you the huge difference in the size of these two universities.

Maynooth is in a small, university town in County Kildare. Concordia is in a huge Canadian city, right in the middle of everything. While both universities have two campuses, to get from one to the other in Maynooth all you need to do is cross the street, but at Concordia it requires you to take the shuttle bus, a 20 minute journey between the two campuses.

I love Maynooth and it’s small size and sense of community, but I am really enjoying experiencing another kind of university setting and being part of a much larger community.

Classes

I also find classes different here at Concordia. First of all, they are a lot longer to what I’m used to. My classes are about 2 hours and 45 minutes long, compared to the 1 hour lectures at home. The upside to this is there’s more time for discussion and things other than listening to lectures, which makes it more interesting and helps the time go by a bit quicker.

Assessment is also different. At home, there is generally one essay and one final exam as assessment. Here, assessment is usually broken up into class contribution, a midterm exam, an essay and a final exam. It feels like a lot more work to me, but most people who I’ve mentioned this to think our way at home adds a lot more pressure because you’re dependent on doing well on just two things. 

Living away from home

My living situation makes a huge difference too. When I’m at home, I commute 40 minutes to and from college. Here, everything is right on my doorstep, I’m right downtown and everything is so much easier, which means getting work done is so much easier.

 

At home I prefer to work in the university library, which means I usually stay there until 8 or 9 o’clock and then I still need to make my commute home which is incredibly tiring. Here, I can walk home within 10 minutes and get straight to work in my room or in the study space downstairs, which used to be a chapel. I had never lived in dorms before and didn’t know what to expect (I really had no idea), but it’s better than I could have ever imagined.

 

Not to mention my room is huge (compared to my room at home which is basically a box). It has two windows (most people have only one, I got lucky), a big double bed (which I can’t fit in my aforementioned small room at home), a wardrobe (which also can’t fit in aforementioned small room at home), a sink, a desk, a shelf, a mini fridge. We have canteen downstairs where all our meals are provided and a space to cook our own food with the ingredients provided. As well as that, all your friends are close by.

Studying

A post shared by Hannah 🌱 (@byrnewithme) on

 My desk in my room

While I still love Maynooth and wouldn’t want to be at any other university at home, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to experience life at university over here and to live in such an amazing city.

Some highlights of my trip so far.

Poutine on Thanksgiving
 
The Three Amigos
  
The Botanical Gardens
 
Quebec City
 
Hiking in Mont-Saint-Hilaire 
Old Montréal
Mount Royal
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