Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Do your kids a favour

Here's why you should send your kids to university somewhere other than their home town. For the experience. They need to experience how another part of the country or world lives. They need to be immersed in another culture, where people think, talk, dress, eat, play and politic in a different way than they're (and especially you're) used to. If your home town is Calgary or Edmonton or some other prairie city or town, the city I'd most highly recommend you send your kids to university is..... Montréal.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking. Karl's from Montréal, so he's biased. Probably. But hear me out. I know a busload of people who have sent their kids to Montréal to further their education and they all came back unrecognizable people. If they came back at all. I acknowledge that sending your kids to university anywhere will result in a change - just their maturing alone will create a noticeable difference.

But these youth who go to Montréal have an advantage. They have 4 universities to choose from. They'll learn how to speak French. The way real French people speak French, not that crap they might have learned in school. They'll discover what real poutine is. They'll be immersed in a real hockey culture and how it's akin to a religion. They'll know why the typical Montréalais is considered a foodie. They'll buy alcohol in the grocery store. They'll eat duck paté on fancy biscuits. They'll rent bikes from automated vending machines. They'll soak in the bohemian vibe of Le Plateau Mont-Royal. They'll discover what a world-class symphony orchestra is. They'll have so many music venues to explore they'll be overwhelmed with the choices. If they're lucky, they'll experience a world-class jazz festival and probably get to see a lot of it for free. Same goes for the comedy festival. They'll realize that it's possible to live without a car and not miss it one little bit thanks to an effective transit system and an amazing Métro. They'll know what snow is. I'm not talking about those little squalls of snow you'd see in Calgary, I'm talking about snow banks several feet over your head. They'll notice how people dress to go out on the town - with style. They'll greet friends and family with a European-style kiss on both cheeks. They'll watch Formula One race cars scream around the track on an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. They'll be allowed to drink if they're 18. They'll eat the best smoked meat in the world. And bagels too. They won't even get ready to hit the nightlife until minuit, because the action continues until 4am. They won't be brainwashed with talk about separation as fear-mongers would have you believe. They'll be tainted with the idyllic dreams of young Quebécois who feel that education should be free, or at the very least accessible to everyone (like it was for their parents and their parents before them). They'll watch the trees turn into a vibrant palette of bright reds and oranges and yellows in fall. They'll visit the Basilique Notre-Dame and the Oratoire St. Joseph just to breath in the history of the place. They'll pour real maple syrup on breakfast in log cabins in the spring and pull maple taffy over the snow. They'll sip espressos in cafés looking out at cobblestone streets and buildings older than Canada itself. They'll mingle with every culture and heritage and racial background in sight and they won't just express their thoughts, they'll share them, soaking up the smorgasbord of ideas and fears and desires. They'll witness people who drive with purpose and who will invite total strangers to their parties.

When you hear their stories, you'll want to go too.


Retro Blog said...

when I go back in time I will definitely want to go to Montreal for school and many other reasons. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Did you know that (Saint) Brother André, who built the oratory, is Luc's great-great uncle? We have a saint in the family :) Well, Jess and Luc do....but it's a cool connection. Heidi

Karl Plesz said...

Wow. Holy crap! (no pun intended)