About Montreal

Can I get around Montreal if I don’t speak French?

Yes, you can get around even if you don’t speak French. Montreal is a bilingual city where you can speak both languages.

What is the average temperature in Montreal?

Temperatures in Montreal vary according to the seasons. Please see this site to find out more about the weather: http://www.theweathernetwork.com/weather/cities/can/pages/CAQC0363.htm

Are homes well heated?

All homes have central heating, so you will never be cold inside. The average temperature in our homes is around 20° Celsius.


What type of clothes should I bring?

Spring/summer: (March 21 to September 21)
In early spring (March-April) be sure to bring along warm clothes because it is still quite cold. Things warm up in May, but mornings can be cool (10 – 15° Celsius). At the height of summer (July-August), it is often very hot and humid (25 – 30° Celsius), so bring along appropriate clothes.

Fall/winter: (September 21 to March 21)
Montreal can be cold, but you'll be fine as long as you've got warm, dry feet, so pack your boots. Layered outerwear is the best way to go. Don't forget your scarf, gloves and especially a hat—it can make a big difference.

Montrealers have a great sense of fashion, from funky hats in winter to breezy sandals in summer, so you might want to pack something besides jeans and sneakers. This unique Montreal style also makes the city a great place to shop, so leave some room in your suitcase! See www.tourisme-montreal.org for more details.

Is it expensive to live in Montreal?

Montreal is one of the least expensive cities in Canada.

Is Montreal a safe city?

Montreal is a very safe cosmopolitan city but we always remind students to be cautious.

Can I use my cellphone in Montreal?

You can usually use your cellphone, either with a package from your local service provider or by buying a contract with a Montreal company. However, buying a cellphone in Montreal might be a less expensive option. The following companies have stores near the School: Bell, Vidéotron, Fido, Telus, Koodo and Rogers.

What types of outdoor activities can I do in Montreal and surrounding area?

Montreal offers an incredible array of outdoor activities. In the warmer months, there are hundreds of miles of bicycle paths to explore, parks to visit, two beaches where you can take a dip, and walking tours of the city and Mount Royal.  In the winter, there are many ski resorts nearby and parks where you can play hockey and go skating. With all its vibrant culture and year-round festivals, you will undoubtedly find that the quality of life in Montreal is outstanding.

See the following site for a calendar of activities: www.tourisme-montreal.org.


Do I need a visa to enter Canada?

Canada requires visas for citizens of certain countries. For a list of countries whose citizens require visas and whether you need to obtain one please visit the following website: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/visas.asp. If you require a visa, read our section on international students/obtaining a visa.

What type of visa do I need: student visa or temporary resident visa (tourism and short-term studies)?

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), if you want to take a course or short program (six months or less), you do not need a student visa. But if required because of your citizenship, you will have to apply for a temporary resident visa.

With a temporary resident visa, you must complete your short course during the period in which you are authorized to stay in Canada. For official information, visit http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/study/study-who.asp

What is the difference between an acceptance letter from the School and the CAQ (certificate of acceptance for Quebec)?

The acceptance letter sent by the School is the document you will have to submit to Immigration Canada when you apply for your visa. It proves you are registered at our School.
The CAQ is required by the Ministère de l’Immigration et des Communautés culturelles du Québec for any student who comes to Quebec for more than six months (more than 183 days). You can apply for the CAQ directly to the Ministry or use our services (additional fee required).

Who needs an acceptance letter from the School and how can I get one?

International students who require a visa will need an acceptance letter issued by the School. The YMCA International Language School will provide you with this letter once you have paid you course fee.

Can I work while I’m studying?

To be able to work, you will need a work permit. Unless your country has a special agreement with Canada or Quebec, you'll have to apply for a work permit.

For more information, please see www.cic.gc.ca.


What is Canada’s official currency?

Canada has its own currency, the Canadian dollar. Please see this site for exchange rates: www.tourisme-montreal.org.

Can I open a bank account in Montreal?

Students with a study permit may open a bank account in Canada. Please contact the bank of your choice directly to find out the conditions.

Do I need to change money before I arrive in Montreal?

It’s always useful to have a little pocket money when arriving in a new city, in case you need to take a taxi or to make a phone call. It’s easy to change money at a currency exchange office or at an ATM at the airport.

How and where can I withdraw money?

The easiest way to obtain cash in from an ATM, which are located everywhere in Montreal.
Many ATMs are available at Montreal banks, in hotels, restaurants, gas stations and shopping centres. You can use your credit or debit card, but be aware that some ATMs don’t accept credit cards. Look for the Maestro, Cirrus, Visa and MasterCard logos.

Are taxes included in advertised prices?

The advertised price is not what you actually pay. When you pay for your purchase at the checkout, the taxes are added. There are two taxes in Quebec: the Quebec sales tax and the federal goods and services tax. The total is about 15% on top of the advertised price.

Do I have to tip for service?

Tips are an established custom you cannot ignore. You are “required” to tip about 15% of the final bill for service (restaurants, taxis, hairdressers). To calculate the amount of the tip quickly, look at the total for the sales taxes, which are about 15% of the amount on the bill.


In Canada and the United States, we use 110-115 volts and 60 Hz (in Europe: 220 volts and 50 Hz).
If you buy equipment in Montreal, you will need to buy the appropriate adapter or converter when you take it home. North American plugs have two flat prongs. We recommend you bring an adapter with you. You should also check if your equipment will operate on either 110 or 220 volts.


What types of accommodation are available to me?

If you wish to stay with a host family (French- or English-speaking) we will choose one for you. If you want another type of accommodation (residence or apartment), we can help you.

For more information, see Accommodation.

If I decide to live with a family, what should I expect?

Our families are carefully selected, and they all live near the YMCA (30 to 45 minutes by metro and/or bus). When you live with a host family, you share in their daily lives, mealtimes and activities.

Airport pick-up

Can someone pick me up the airport?

The YMCA International Language School provides a pick-up and/or drop-off service for the airport. Charges apply. See the page on Accommodation.

Health insurance

Do I need health insurance when I come to study in Montreal?

Yes. Health insurance is mandatory when studying at the YMCA International Language School. You can either use your own health insurance or purchase a policy through us (Guard Me). In Canada, healthcare costs for foreign tourists are very high (hospitalization from $1,000 to $2,000 CAD per day). Hospitals and clinics require presentation of a personal insurance card when admitting a patient.

Can I purchase health insurance in Montreal? 

Yes. If you do not have health insurance coverage in Montreal, we can provide you with this service. While you are not required to take the health insurance offered by the School, it is mandatory to have health insurance in Canada. Guard Me offers a preferential rate for our students. See the page on Accommodation.

Language courses

I want to learn English. Can I do so in Montreal?

Yes, it’s possible to learn English in Montreal, since it is a bilingual city where many different cultures and languages come together.

How many levels of English do you offer?

We have eight levels of English. Based on the results of the placement test, students can enroll in courses appropriate to their level.

How many levels of French do you offer?

We have six levels of French. Based on the results of the placement test, students can enroll in courses appropriate to their level.

How many students are there in each class?

We have an average of 10 students per class. Groups range from three to 15 students.

What are the nationalities of your students?

Our students come from many different countries. Here is a breakdown of our students’ nationalities in 2011:

Do I need to know any English before I register for an English course?

Our Beginner 1 level students are familiar with the alphabet and a few words of basic vocabulary. For those who have absolutely no knowledge of English, we can organize private remedial classes.

Do I need to know any French before I register for a French course?

Our Beginner 1 level students are familiar with the alphabet and a few words of basic vocabulary. For those who have absolutely no knowledge of French, we can organize private remedial classes.

How long will it take to get into a higher level?

If you work hard, each four-week or seven-week course will enable you to progress to the next level.

When do courses begin? 

We offer 12 four-week courses per year and 6 seven-week courses. Please see our schedule to see when courses start.

Can I start once the session is underway?

If you are a beginner, you cannot arrive after the course has started. For higher levels, you can register after courses have begun, but we still recommend you arrive for the beginning of the course.

Where and when can I take my placement test? 

If you are an international student and arrive in Canada in the week before your course begins, please call us to make an appointment to take the test.

If you arrive in Canada on the weekend before your course begins, you will have to report to the School at 8 a.m. on the first day of class to take the test.

How much do I have to pay to register at the School?

If you are a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, all you have to pay is the course fee. If you are an international student, you will be required to pay a non-refundable registration fee of $118 CAD.

If I choose the Intensive program or the Integrated Skills program, can I receive a discount if I don't take the gym membership?

There is no discount because the gym membership is included free of charge in the Intensive program and the Integrated Skills program.

How do I register for your School?

Complete the registration form.


Do you organize activities during the week and on weekends?

Yes, we have activities during the week and on weekends. Please check out our Activities section for more information.