Montréal: Canada’s university capital and the best city in the world to study abroad

Discover why Brazilian students find Montréal an attractive and conducive environment for their academic and professional growth and the unique opportunities that the city presents in the ever-evolving educational landscape.

Greater Montréal is Canada’s educational hub and a welcoming destination for Brazilian students

Quality and quantity: according to Christian Bernard, Vice President of International Talent and Communication at Montréal International, these elements make La Metropole the university capital of Canada.

A global hub of innovation and the second largest francophone city in the world, Montréal Metropolitan Area has 4.3 million inhabitants and almost 4 centuries of tradition in education. It was recently proclaimed the best city in the world for studying abroad and stands out as a beacon of educational excellence and cultural diversity.

Illustrative image of students in Montreal. (Source: Montreal International website)

Christian Bernard, Vice President of International Talent and Communication at Montréal International, emphasizes that Greater Montréal is Canada’s educational hub and a welcoming destination for Brazilian students.

Boasting 155 tertiary institutions, this vibrant metropolis is a nexus of global education, attracting a significant international student population, representing 17% of Québec’s total in 2022.

“With more than 50,000 international students, the city fosters a unique learning environment where languages merge and cultures intersect”, says Bernard.

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Montréal International, a pivotal entity supported by public and private sectors, is dedicated to drawing foreign investments and talents, including skilled workers and international students, to this vibrant region.

Montréal’s educational institutions, such as HEC Montréal and ESG UQÀM, stand out on the global stage with their top-ranked programs. The city’s commitment to bilingual education showcased in the MBA+ program at HEC Montréal, and the collaborative EMBA program by McGill University and HEC Montréal underlines Montréal’s innovative approach to leveraging its linguistic diversity.

Montréal focuses on high-value-added sectors such as artificial intelligence, Fintech, cybersecurity, and video games. This strategic focus is nurturing a pool of qualified new graduates and influencing the future of global business and technology.

Explore the full interview below for insights into how Montréal is positioning itself as a premier destination for postgraduate education and the city’s future ambitions. Discover why Brazilian students find Montréal an attractive and conducive environment for their academic and professional growth and the unique opportunities that the city presents in the ever-evolving educational landscape.

For more information, please visit https://www.montrealinternational.com.

Interview with Christian Bernard

Christian Bernard, Vice President of International Talent and Communication at Montréal International. (Photo: Personal archive)
  1. Canada is known for attracting students from all over the world, especially to the English-speaking part of the country. How is the province of Québec/Montréal positioned in this aspect?

With 15 university institutions, more than 90 colleges, and 50 vocational training centers, Greater Montréal is Canada’s university capital. These establishments host numerous programs that are recognized worldwide, such as HEC Montréal’s MBA program, ranked #30 in the world (Better World MBA Rankings, Corporate Knights 2022), and ESG UQÀM ranked among the top 25 MBA programs in North America (Eduniversal, 2021). Furthermore, according to numerous reviews, Montréal is recognized as one of the best cities in the Americas for its quality of life. More specifically, the Australian website Helpful Professor determined that the city is « the best student city in the world to study abroad » in 2023! Montréal ranks high because, compared to other North American cities, it offers a more affordable cost of living and a safer environment.

  1. How many students are enrolled in MBA and postgraduate courses in Montreal/Quebec?

In 2022-2023, there were nearly 5,000 students registered in an MBA program in Québec, an increase of 4% compared to 2018. In total, 885 Brazilian students registered in a university program in Québec in 2022-2023. The Université de Montréal, Concordia University, and McGill University were the most popular among Brazilian students.

  1. What are Montreal’s ambitions for the future, and why does this matter in choosing the city for higher education courses?

Over the past few years, Montréal has developed expertise in high-value-added sectors such as artificial intelligence, Fintech, cybersecurity, and video games. Montréal’s investors see the city’s higher education ecosystem as a key asset, providing the city’s talent pool with new graduates qualified in novel fields.

  1. What trends have been detected over the years regarding international students pursuing MBAs in Montreal and the province of Quebec? Do you have data from 2022 and previous years?

Regarding a trend specific to Montréal, we’ve noticed that the local postgraduate institutions have been keen to offer bilingual MBA programs. For instance, HEC Montréal’s MBA+ offers a pre-program French immersion, on-campus activities in French, and a three-month internship in French with an organization in Québec.

Furthermore, McGill University and HEC Montréal are collaborating to offer an EMBA bilingual program. To me, this shows the will of local institutions to take advantage of the city’s unique bilingual setting.

  1. Regarding postgraduate and MBA studies, what has been done in Quebec by the local, federal, and institutions to attract international students?

Montréal International’s Je choisis Montréal initiative is entirely funded by the Gouvernement du Québec. Our team collaborates closely with the postsecondary institutions looking to promote their programs abroad and the provincial and federal government representatives based in countries where we hold activities.

  1. What has been the attractiveness for Brazilians, and what is the potential for growth of this group and why?

Greater Montréal has been a go-to destination for Brazilians for many years. The community counts about 15,000 Brazilian people. The city is attractive for its thriving IT and gaming ecosystems, which offer many career opportunities. Furthermore, Portuguese and French take their roots in Latin, making it easier for Brazilian nationals to adopt the local language!

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