On August, 1st 2017, I set foot on the Canadian ground for the first time.
First, I had to go through the immigration services in order to get my work visa. Like everywhere, going through customs is always complicated (talk to Elina Rougeau about it, she can tell you about that). However, what a surprise to realize that yes, some people really enjoy working at the immigration services and actually smile! This is not a lie: Canadian people are really nice.
Once I got my work visa, I had to go to Claudette’s. I didn’t know anything, I had found an accommodation randomly one week before; I had no guidebook, had not done any research about the city nor the place I was about to stay at for a month. After dragging my luggage without wheels (thanks Air France) for some time, I finally managed to find Claudette’s house: a typical Montreal condo.
I didn’t imagine what my meeting with Claudette would happen to be. This woman was simply amazing. Let me present you Claudette, 67 years old, climbed Mount Kilimandjaro when she was 60 and takes lectures about religion at university. What more can I say?
Since my internship started a week after my arrival, I had time to visit Montreal by riding my Bixi (Montreal’s Velibs). At the beginning, dealing with the Quebecker accent was pretty harsh. As an information, ‘slistes’ are nor slugs but cyclists. I think you have ‘pogné a touch’*: Canadian French is different, but you quickly get used to it. At some point, you actually end up talking just like them.
More seriously, this is an article about my internship so I’ll just stop pretending I’m part of some backpackers’ blog. I did my internship in a law office called Goudreau Gage Dubuc, specialized in IP/IT and located in the business center.
The first day of an internship is always stressful and that’s even more accurate when you do it abroad. I was surprised to see that my arrival had been well prepared. As soon as I arrived, there was a sign welcoming me, I had an office to myself and I could take as many coffees as I wanted. It was pure luxury.
The experience of doing an internship abroad is very educative. During my internship, I had a great autonomy. I won’t bore you with my missions of research on patentability, study on counterfeiting and writing of official letters.
To me, an internship abroad means above all living like an authentic inhabitant of the country or the city. It is easy to live in Montreal without ever having the chance to speak to an authentic Quebecker. My advice is then to run away from French people.
Ok, I’ll admit it, I saw French people. August 2017 in Montreal was like a reunion of students from the GED. But luckily, although Elina Rougeau and I lived as roommates for a few weeks, and I saw Adèle Raulin a lot, we did meet Quebeckers.
When I think of Montreal, two things come to my mind: a French-style tradition and a multicultural city. I was lucky enough to live two kinds of experiences. Indeed, with Adèle who just started her LLM in Air & Space Law in McGill University, I discovered the North American atmosphere. I went to several McGill orientation events along with Adèle and I got to meet people from all over the world. This experience convinced me to apply to McGill for my LLM.
To finish, I got to live the Quebec experience with Elina. Thanks to road trips, amazing encounters with inhabitants from the village of St Prim and St Felicien or the ‘épluchette de blé d’Inde’*, I discovered the Quebecker way of life.
PS: I strongly recommend an internship in Québec where it is not necessary to do to it during two months to be paid.
* Pogné a touch: you got it
* Epluchette de blé d’Inde: corn