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Studying Studying in a second language

  1. May 27, 2007 #1
    Hi, I live in Quebec and I'm going to university next year, I intend to enroll myself in a joint program in maths and physics that are offered in 2 Montreal universities, Université de Montréal and McGill. My first language is french and I have never lived in a english place or studied in a english school, but I would like to go to McGill. Do some of you guys have studied undergraduate level in another language that your maternal ?

    I don't know if I could do it, how is it ?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 27, 2007 #2
    Your english doesn't seem too bad. As long as you have some reference in case you meet some trouble, you should be fine.
  4. May 27, 2007 #3


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    Your English seems good enough, you should do it.

    Also, even if you went to a French university, you would probably be using English textbooks in most (if not all) classes. You might find it easier to take the courses directly in English, as then you won't have to continuously move back and forth between the two languages, especially with the more specific terminology.

    Not to mention, there will be a number of people in your class who would be able to help you with some translation problems if any ever come about.

    Finally, if you're planning on doing graduate studies, you would most likely be doing those in English somewhere outside of Quebec, and it's a lot easier to pick up new terminology at the undergraduate stage, than at the graduate level stage.
  5. May 27, 2007 #4
    I am bilingual, and I've seen many people improve their English significantly through discussion. Hanging out with English speaking people will do wonders. You should also try to watch as much English movies or shows as you can, as it helps allot. That said, even though colloquial language is the most important to learn, you'll also need a fair load of formal language, so I recommend reading newspaper articles or essays.
  6. May 27, 2007 #5
    I have two friends who took astronomy at UM and another friend who did physics at Sherbrooke and both moved on to M.Sc's at english-speaking universities without difficulty. Louis Taillefer is probably the most famous condensed matter theorist in Canada and he works at Sherbrooke.

    When you get to graduate school you'll probably find that a solid half of your classmates have something other than English as their first language. My classmates made me ashamed that my French is so terrible!

    McGill has a good program and the university is large enough that there are lots of exciting non-physics non-math things to do.
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