Why Montreal is the Best Student City in North America

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Student life in Montreal is an integral component of its fabric. From standing first in line at cultural events to cycling around on Montreal’s myriad bike lanes or finding quiet study time at cafes, students make an important and lasting impactful contribution to society.

No surprise then that QS has chosen Montreal as North America’s number-one student city! Here are five reasons for its ranking.

1. Affordability

Living costs are significantly lower in Montreal compared to other major cities like Toronto and Vancouver, for instance the cost of renting one-bedroom apartment is under $1400 while three-bedroom costs around $2,500; additionally rents in suburbs tend to be cheaper.

Public transit in Toronto is relatively affordable and easily accessible, making it simple for residents to get around without their cars. Furthermore, the city encourages car-free living by providing safe cycling routes throughout urban areas.

Montreal is one of the most culturally diverse cities in North America and embraces people of all cultures, which makes it a great environment for students to experience different cultures and learn languages from all over. Many schools also provide language courses specifically targeted to help these young learners integrate faster into the community and feel at home faster.

2. World-class universities

Montreal is known for its world-class universities and academic excellence, making it one of the best cities for students in North America, according to consultancy QS.

Montreal stands out as an international hub of trade and business, boasting top-of-the-line universities while being home to an active economy encompassing aerospace, food processing, software development, telecommunications equipment manufacturing and more.

Montreal is an incredible cultural melting pot and plays host to various festivals year-round, boasting 80 dialects as well as French. Students easily connect with people of different cultures here allowing them to broaden their perspectives while experiencing student life at its best. Diversity of this vibrant city makes Montreal such a top student life destination.

3. A thriving arts and culture scene

Montreal is widely known for its vibrant arts and cultural scene, which ranges from visual art to popular musical performances. You’ll be sure to discover new artists and performers across cafes, restaurants, museums and beyond!

Montreal earned high scores on four out of the six metrics measured for QS Best Student Cities 2024 rankings: Desirability, Student Mix, Affordability and Student Voice. These assessments take into account factors like number of university students enrolled; satisfaction with university life as measured against whether students would recommend the city to other students; etc.

Montreal offers world-class universities, an abundance of restaurants and bars, eclectic boutiques, and an unrivaled calendar of events throughout the year – perfect conditions for students. So make it home while studying; we guarantee it won’t disappoint – here you can truly be yourself without worry.

4. A vibrant nightlife

Montreal is a vibrant melting pot of North American and European cultures, and consistently ranks high on world livability rankings. According to consulting firm QS Quacquarelli Symonds, it also stands out as being among the best student cities.

Montreal scored high in both Student View and Student Mix metrics, which measure student sentiment toward their city and interest in living there post graduation. Also notable is Montreal’s impressive diversity and student population figures.

City nightlife showcases this, offering luxurious cocktail bars, popular clubs and seductive cabarets. Additionally, campus areas are just minutes from downtown via Metro ride; making exploring easy. Meals offer gourmet multicultural food options suitable for all palates or independent cafes and teahouses offer relaxing places for lunch.

5. A multicultural food scene

Montreal is renowned as a culinary mecca, boasting an exciting combination of French and English influences with diverse global flavours. From bustling open-air markets bursting with fresh produce to elegant bistros offering classic French delicacies, Montreal provides an unforgettable gastronomic journey.

Due to its proximity between Europe, Asia, and Africa, Barcelona has evolved into an eclectic cultural melting pot where many different cultures come together. Chinese dumpling houses sit alongside Ethiopian injera eateries for an eclectic cuisine experience in each borough of Barcelona; discovering hidden gems with delectable food and beverages sure to tempt your palette is sure to delight!

Cultural festivals in Montreal provide a great way to discover authentic dishes from local communities. Check out the Montreal Greek Festival for souvlaki and baklava, or head over to the Jazz Festival for an array of international cuisines. Additionally, many restaurants offer creative twists on classic recipes or unique ethnic fusions with delicious combinations.

6. A thriving co-working culture

Montreal boasts an exceptional culture of collaboration and innovation, featuring open-plan coworking spaces, BIXI bikes and delicious local coffee shops that cater to student productivity needs. Students will find an ideal work environment in this vibrant city from hot-desking for the day or reserving dedicated desks; Montreal workspaces have been specifically designed to ensure student productivity!

Montreal excelled at all six categories that comprise QS’s Best Student Cities ranking: University Rankings, Student Mix, Desirability, Employer Activity and Affordability. Furthermore, Montreal placed fifth in this year’s new Student View indicator that measures student satisfaction with their experience – especially its friendly student community, vibrant arts scene and affordable living costs – which no doubt attracted so many students to Montreal for study purposes.

7. A plethora of festivals and events

Montreal offers festivalgoers a wide variety of winter festivals celebrating art, cuisine and outdoor sports; worldwide rhythms and circus performances during summer heat; as well as plenty of opportunities to catch local artists before they reach wider stages.

Culture of inclusion and community have played a huge part in Ottawa’s rise on QS’ Student View indicator for friendliness, diversity and affordability. Vancouver, Toronto and Ottawa all improved their rankings in 2018!

8. A vibrant music scene

Montreal’s music scene is an attraction for students who love to groove. Venues feature up-and-coming local acts, while larger artists may include performances in Montreal as part of their tours; oftentimes students can find tickets at an attractive discount price.

City of a Thousand Islands is also a cultural mecca, boasting an eclectic variety of restaurants and events to experience. Its world-famous symphony orchestra and opera performances, world-class museums and art galleries as well as award-winning cuisine make the city truly worth a visit.

Montreal is widely considered to be one of the premier student cities in North America, boasting top universities and an energetic arts and culture scene that draws students in from across North America and around the globe. Quacquarelli Symonds recently honored Montreal by placing it at number one globally – surpassing Paris, London and Berlin to earn this coveted recognition.

9. A thriving theatre scene

Montreal boasts world-class universities and an exciting arts scene, making it no secret why it consistently makes top student cities lists. “Students here can access an exceptional educational environment – with six universities including McGill and Universite de Montreal plus affordable housing, lots of industries for internships/jobs opportunities and vibrant community,” according to Ilan Saks of Stacked HR Recruitment for large tech companies.

He says Toronto is also an incredible place for artists, with the visual arts scene flourishing and popular dance troupes such as Grand Ballets Canadiens and La La La Human Steps drawing crowds of tens of thousands. Furthermore, theatre companies include francophone as well as anglo productions – Infinitheatre is even one of them!

10. A thriving arts and culture scene

Montreal stands out as an attractive study destination due to its vibrant arts and cultural scene, making it one of the reasons it was recently named North America’s top student city by UK-based consultancy QS Quacquarelli Symonds. Montreal scored high on every indicator ranging from class satisfaction to cultural scene.

These rankings take into account six criteria, such as university quality (McGill was ranked 24th globally and 1st in Canada); student mix; desirability; affordability and an innovative “student view” indicator that measures whether or not students found their experience to exceed expectations.

Alison Bertho moved from Paris to Montreal for Concordia University and wasn’t shocked when the city topped North American rankings. Mountainiers are known for being friendly and diverse people with beautiful city lives – offering students plenty of opportunities to experience Montreal culture throughout summer, fall and winter.