Junior Trip to Montreal

This annual trip is becoming a tradition.


Maggie McHale, Contributor

Juniors in a cabane à sucre on the Montreal, Quebec trip.

April 6, seven SEM junior French students, along with Mme. Fisher and Ms. Lyons, piled into the red bus to brace the lengthy (to say the least) ride to Montreal. After about seven hours, skyscrapers began to appear on the horizon past the highway, and everyone eagerly checked their Snapchat to see the pretty Montreal city geotags.

After the first night of walking uphill and downhill in the pouring rain, we were relieved to realize that there are cities with worse weather than Buffalo. However, we didn’t let the weather ruin our spirits, and we even went on a biking tour around the city and browsed through the outdoor market; though we did try to spend as much time indoors as possible, notably at the Centre Bell where we witnessed a Canadian hockey game in all its glory, amidst cheers and cries of “allez, allez, allez Montréal!” Here we could truly see how proud the Quebecois are of their rich culture and dual French-Canadian identity by the passion they have for their team and their city.

Another distinctly French Canadian point of interest that we were able to experience was a trip to a cabane à sucre (sugar shack), about an hour away from the city, where Quebecois can sing and dance to traditional French Canadian music, eat a hearty meal with their family, and enjoy every Canadian’s favorite delicacy: le sirop d’érable, or maple syrup, which is produced on site, in the form of tire d’érable, where the maple syrup is poured on ice or snow and eaten once it crystallizes.

In the heart of the city, along the Rue Ste-Catherine, where we did a bit of shopping, it was interesting to see just how many people with whom we interacted were able to speak both French and English, something that is relatively rare in Buffalo and the United State in general. Everyone we encountered was very patient with our still-developing French skills, and was willing to switch to English to make conversation easier for us, whether it was while ordering lunch or asking if a certain pair of pants came in a smaller size.

Throughout our time in Montreal, we were able to discover the vibrant culture of a new city with the excitement (and challenges) of interacting with locals whose native language is not our own.