Monday, July 06, 2009

Best college towns

Via Lee Siegelman: The top 5 college towns in North America.



If you can handle the frigid winters, Montréal is a great place to be a college student. Located just seven hours from New York City, Montréal has the second highest number of post-secondary students in North America, making for ample opportunities to meet college students from all over the world studying at one of Montréal's two dozen institutions.

There are a few reasons Montréal trumps other North American cities in its college-student friendliness. First, studying in Montréal is a bargain. For Americans, tuition is significantly less than at other private colleges -- international students pay about $12,000 for tuition at McGill University, widely considered the "Harvard of Canada." Also, with a student ID, students can use Montreal's extensive public transportation system, the STM (La Société de transport de Montréal), at a 50 percent discount.

Second, there is really no city in the United States that so fluidly combines European charm with North American pragmatism. Because Montréal is a truly bilingual city, students will not need to enroll in French classes to learn the language. Students here are independent and do not confine themselves to their campuses; you'll see students shopping and clubbing on St. Catherine Street and sipping coffee in the Latin Quarter at all hours of the day.

Finally, Montréalers know how to throw a party. World-class jazz, film and comedy festivals and the only Grand Prix event in North America make four years in Montréal one hot experience.


Unknown said...

I wonder how many McGill students really improve their French.

David Watkins said...

How's the cost of living these days? My co-blogger attended McGill in the 90's and had a serviceable apartment in a good location for ~300 Canadian dollars, if I recall correctly.

Matt said...

I can't say anything about apartment prices, but when I last went to Montreal, for the Law and Society conference in Spring '08, I found the prices for thing like restaurants, coffee, etc. surprisingly high. In the past there was a 20%-30% cut-back on the marked price for Americans, given the exchange rate, which was good because marked prices for things in stores and restaurants was higher- not 20-30% higher, but higher. Now, or at least a year ago, the marked price on things is still noticably higher, even than New York City, but there's no "discount" from the exchange rate. So, many things are more expensive than even expensive US cities. Still, quite lovely if you don't mind the cold, humid winters.

Jacob T. Levy said...

A year ago the loonie was over parity-- it moves with the price of oil, and oil was briefly crazy expensive.

Now oil's fallen by half, the loonie is broadly within its usual range of 85-90 US cents, and US tourists would again notice a bit of a break.

But the cost of living for locals is cheap. Housing, fresh food, and high-quality restaurants all come much cheaper than for a comparable American city. Taxes are high, but not so high as to outweigh the relatively cheap prices.