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University of Oxford student and talented linguist Joni Chan, from the Class of 2016, is soaking up Montréal’s cultural delights while he studies at one of Canada’s top universities, as part of his year aboard.

“Discussing with my French tutor my Year Abroad options, I’d already dismissed Paris. As an ethnically-Chinese UK citizen, I wanted a more multi-culturally-integrated city whose ethnic minorities were not peripheral and where I could truly feel at home.

I think I’ve found it. Montréal is the world’s second-largest French-speaking city, after Paris, yet feels as cosmopolitan as New York, as well-integrated as London, and as friendly as Liverpool. In this bilingual Canadian city, baristas and shop assistants will greet you with ‘Bonjour hi’! In Montréal it’s so easy to feel like a Francophone local. Most satisfying was watching the World Cup final between France and Croatia in the fan-park, joining in with French football chants and sharing their joy when France won.

Aspiring to a Foreign Office career, I am studying International Relations at McGill University (often ranked number one in Canada) as a visiting student. This gives an international dimension to my Oxford Modern Languages degree. I’m also enjoying many cultural events and festivals (within an hour of arrival I stumbled into Montréal International Jazz Festival).

I can’t wait to show my friends and family the city. This is the beauty of studying languages, it opens up the gateway to a world of opportunity.”

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