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Upon your arrival in Quebec

It’s official! Quebec is awaiting your arrival when the next term starts! Check out the information in the tables below to get ready to embark on this excellent adventure!

  • Finding Housing

    The vocabulary that appears in apartment listings is probably going to seem a bit confusing to you at first! Use our handy little glossary to familiarize yourself with the Québécois terms.

    • Lease (in French, le bail): the rental contract used by most landlords to establish the commitments and responsibilities of all parties. Read it carefully before signing.
    • Size of the apartment: 2 ½, 3 ½, 4 ½, etc. This is how we indicate the number of rooms in a dwelling. The half represents the bathroom. For example, a 2 ½ is an apartment with two rooms, probably a bedroom and a kitchen, as well as a bathroom.
    • What’s not included (frais non inclus): Heating and electricity are usually not included in the rent price. Before signing your bail, ask the landlord what the monthly bills usually are for the unit you want to rent.
    • Renter’s insurance (assurance habitation): We highly recommend that you get an insurance policy even if you are a renter and not the owner of your housing. This will protect you in case something happens (fire, flood, theft, etc.).
  • Phone and Internet

    Packages and providers vary significantly from one region to the next. You should check with the advisor at your cégep before signing a contract for any telecommunication service.

  • Food

    Stores that sell food are usually called grocery stores (in French, épiceries). Ask your cégep which grocery options there are near your campus. Some grocery chains are known for being more or less expensive, which could make a little detour worth your time. There are also public markets where farmers sell locally-grown produce. This can be great if you want to enjoy seasonal and local food.

    Finally, there are convenience stores, called dépanneurs across Quebec, whether you’re speaking English or French. They offer basics, but at inflated prices. Dépanneurs are open longer hours to accommodate those last-minute needs.

    Some cégeps and community organisations offer “collective kitchen” workshops (popote collective) where participants can take a few portions of the recipe home. Beyond the financial benefits, it can be a great way to meet other students!

    In Quebec the first meal of the day, the breakfast, is called le déjeuner. The noon meal, or lunch, is le diner. The last meal of the day, a supper or dinner usually eaten around 6 pm, is le souper.

  • Clothing. And Winter Clothing!

    You absolutely must have proper outdoor clothing to live comfortably through a Quebec winter. If you want to spend less, you can shop at thift stores (les friperies), where you can buy second-hand clothing at very low prices. Big box stores tend to sell new clothes at more affordable prices than specialty boutiques.

    You must, at a minimum, have: a winter coat (well insulated, ideally with down), mittens (or thick gloves), a tuque (warm knitted hat), a scarf, and insulated, winter boots. If you are planning on doing winter sports, you should also get lined, waterproof snow pants.

  • Psychological Support

    You might find that adapting to life in Quebec brings up a whole spectrum of emotions: excitement, sadness, homesickness, worries, fatigue, etc. Please know that every cégep in the network offers mental health help. Do not be shy to learn more about these services, and don’t hesitate to use them. These services are free.

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