Due to a change in circumstances, I'm now seriously contemplating finding work in Montreal. I don't oppose working in, say, Vancouver or Toronto either. But I'm thinking of Montreal because I'd eventually like to go to grad school in McGill, although now grad school is not exactly on my priority list.
Is it difficult finding a job and lodgings in Montreal? How much French do I have to know to get by? I learnt a little at the Alliance Française.
I'd appreciate any sort of help I can get.
Thank you in advance.
Depending on where you stay in Montreal, you can find a job with the little french you know. If you stay in the West part of the island, most people are anglophones, and therefore you will definitely be able to get by with minimal french. But french is the language spoken in Montreal, so if you're considering somewhere close to the center, you're probably gonna need to take a course to help you out. I'm not sure how it works with travellers seeking jobs, but some places might be lenient on the french thing. If you want to do an advance search, go to www.monster.ca and search for jobs in montreal.
As for accomodations, they're not hard to find, just that downtown has pretty high rent. Although I must say, in comparison to other cities around the world, it's not that bad. This website is a pretty complete solution for accomodations, jobs, and other info you need on montreal http://www.easyexpat.com/montreal_en.htm. Hope that helps and don't hesitate to ask more questions!
I sat down to answer you, then realized I'm not altogether sure I can... Living here is so much different than moving here and "starting over". However, I'll give you my two cents' worth:
Is it difficult finding a job and lodgings in Montreal?
Job: Depends what you do, what experience you have, what you're willing to put up with. As far as I know, there are jobs available - I've seen signs in the stores downtown looking for salespeople, and the classifieds are pretty full, too.
Lodging: It's better this year - for the last two, you could barely find a single "A Louer" sign anywhere. I have no idea how to go about finding roommates, though... perhaps though the universities?
How much French do I have to know to get by?
Montreal is pretty bilingual. If you're going to live in the East, you'll need more French than central Montreal or out in the West end. As anywhere, if you make an effort to speak the language, people will be flexible. Out in the suburbs and further out in Quebec, though, there's less and less English spoken or understood. Still, French is the official language here and official things like road signs are in one language only.
The accomodations section on the expat site link I posted has a website link to find flatmates. It's pretty good, providing you with a picture of either the person you'll be sharing with or the accomodations, the price, the street, etc. Try it out if you're up for sharing an apartment.
Thank you travelover and tway for your replies! Much appreciated. The links are very helpful.
I did a quick job search, and it was rather disheartening. Most of the jobs on offer are on the finance, technical or sales side. I'm currently a sub-editor with a local paper (will be 2 years come December), and I have no experience in any of the aforementioned sectors (and no desire to work there!). I took 10 months of French, so I suppose I can read road signs and all that, just that the spoken bit is really terrible But I don't mind taking a course to improve my French.
The other alternative would be to move to Europe, though I guess that's equally difficult.
As for accommodations, I don't mind sharing a flat and living away from the centre (the West part sounds good!). So long as it's in a safe neighbourhood, I'm okay with most things.
Maybe I should just apply to grad school (for 2006, I guess) and hope to find a job while I'm there (provide I get accepted)?