There are many ways for you to pick up French during your time at McGill. Take French courses either through McGill (subsidized so you pay Québécois tuition) following a placement test or through the government of Quebec (you may even get paid for it). Make friends with Québécois students/residents and practice with them. Don't let fear or embarrassment stop you!

Everyone knows "bonjour", but that can only get you so far in this francophone province (though bilingual city). While most students get by knowing just English and staying within the McGill bubble, learning French will make your life much easier and allow you to make the most of your time here.

Common French Words Seen/Heard in Montreal

  • Sortie - "exit", very useful to find the nearest exit out of a building

  • Arrêt - "stop", commonly seen on the red octagonal street signs

  • Rue - "street" or "road", an example would be rue Sherbrooke (no one calls it Sherbrooke Street)

  • Boul. - shortened form of "boulevard"

  • Est/Ouest - "east" and "west" respectively, you will commonly see streets like Rue Sherbrooke O (Sherbrooke Street West)

  • Stationnement - "parking (lot)"

  • Dépanneur - "convenience store", commonly sells alcohol

  • Épicerie - "grocery store"

  • Métro - "subway", a great way to get around Montréal (in addition to buses)

  • Ville - "city/town", Downtown Montreal is known as Ville-Marie

  • Terrasse - "patio", used to refer to the outdoor restaurant seating on the sidewalks of Montreal common in the summer

  • Québec - pronounced with a "kay" sound not a "kuh" sound

Simplify McGill aims to streamline your McGill and Greater Montreal experience by providing you with fun activities, helpful hints, some general school knowledge to make your time here as enjoyable and effortless as possible.  We are not affiliated with McGill University with exception to specific partnerships.
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