ALI`s Pre-departure Kit



ALI`s Pre-departure Kit
Welcome to A.L.I.!
First Day at A.L.I!
Arriving at the Airport
Finding A.L.I.
Student Life at A.L.I.
Student I.D. card
FREE Survival French and English Classes & Homework Help
Medical Insurance
Where to buy Winter clothes
Nightlife / Music
Banks and Canadian Currency
Other Types of Accommodation
Customs and Etiquette in Canada
Mail Service – Canada Post
Voltage, Frequency and Plug/Outlet Type in Canada
Holidays in Canada and in Quebec
Time Zones
Emergencies Phone Numbers
Welcome to A.L.I.!
We are very happy that you have chosen our school to be a part of your academic and
personal life! You are about to live a new challenge, a life changing experience and all that in
another country, with different people and habits. There is a lot that you still don’t know but just
getting here is already a very big step. We congratulate you for your courage and hope we can
assist your every need.
To start this assistance, here in this kit you will find information about the Academie
Linguistique Internationale, about the city of Montreal, and about the second largest country in
the world, Canada. This basic kit will help you in your first weeks and it contains tips and facts that
you might not know yet. Our only intention is to help you adapting to your new lifestyle and giving
you information that might be relevant for you and your life in general.
We hope that you enjoy your stay, that you make a lot of new friends from all over the
world, that you participate in a lot of activities, that you get used and adapted to your new
lifestyle, and that your language skills improve more that you have ever wanted. Welcome to
Canada, welcome to Montreal, welcome to ALI!
First Day at A.L.I!
Your first day at A.L.I. will be an orientation day. You will meet the administration, and
receive information about the school and the city. There are no classes this day; your classes will
begin on Tuesday. During this day you will receive a welcome kit with everything you need to
know about your courses, school policies, and the staff at A.L.I.
You should arrive in Montreal at least 3 days before your start date at A.L.I. This will give
you the chance to recover from jet-lag, and to orient yourself in the city.
Please be sure to complete your online grammar test before your first day at school (we
recommend one week in advance). The grammar tests are important to place you in the right
Arriving at the Airport
If you have paid for A.L.I.’s pick-up service*
Our airport pick-up coordinator will be
waiting for you with a sign that says “A.L.I.”
and has our logo. She will take you to your
homestay family, residence, or an address
you give her.
There are two options for those who can’t
find our coordinator:
Calling her cell phone number using the
number given to you by your agent.
If you do not have our pick-up service
 To take the bus downtown metro
station: Exit the airport and look for
the Bus stop # 747. The 747 bus line
service runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a
week, between the MontréalTrudeau airport and Berri-UQAM
station.Travel time may vary
Going to the Information desk at the
Arrivals level of the airport, and asking
them to intercom the A.L.I driver
between 45 to 60 minutes,
depending on traffic conditions. The
fare is $9 for unlimited travel
throughout STM bus and métro
networks during 24 consecutive
hours. You must have the change in
your pockets, the bus driver is not
provided with change
To take a taxi: Exit the airport and
look for the Taxi line-up. Provide
the address to the driver. The cost
from the airport to downtown
Montreal is approximately $50 CAD.
It is recommended to tip the driver
* Please note that airport pick-up fee is non-refundable.
If you do not arrive within 2 hours of your scheduled arrival time and did not inform any changes
to Karen, the pick-up will automatically be cancelled and the fee will not be refunded.
* Please call Karen as soon as possible if there is any change in your arrival time. You may not be
picked up if your flight is changed or delayed.
*Be sure to have your emergency numbers easily accessible in your hand luggage or wallet.
Finding A.L.I.
There are two very easy ways to find our school:
Take the metro (orange line) to Lucien-L’Allier station and walk up the hill when you exit.
The street at the light is Rene Lévesque. The school is located at 1425 Rene Lévesque (one
block to the left).
Take the metro (green line) to Guy-Concordia station and walk down Mackay Street to
Here is a map of Downtown, where our school is located:
For those who haven’t tried to find it, here is a map of the metro lines in Montreal:
For more information about bus schedules or routes, go to or download the
application STM (Société de transport de Montréal) in your smart phone.
Student Life at A.L.I.
The student body at A.L.I. is multicultural. We have students from many different countries
around the world, and you will be able to make friends from various backgrounds. We also have
many Canadian students who attend our school to improve their English or French skills.
Our teachers come from different places in the world such as France, England, United States or
even from different provinces inside Canada like Toronto, Alberta or Manitoba.
The only two languages allowed on the eight floor are English and French. We have a language
policy in place to enforce an English/French only environment. You will be asked to sign the
contract on your first day here. It is your responsibility to speak only your study language!
There are many activities happening at A.L.I. all year round. Our Activities Coordinator works
to make your visit as fun and interesting as possible. Here are some examples of activities we
Ski/Tubing trips
Visits to sugar shacks
Cultural visits (e.g museums/parades/jazz fest)
Visits to water parks
Comedy shows
Trips to Quebec/Toronto & Niagara/New York/Boston
Tips for the best restaurants in Montreal
Apple picking
Movie night
Welcome/Leaving parties
Club night
Hockey games
You can join some activities for free, but others might have an additional cost. All our activities
are made after your study period, that way you will never have to miss class to be able to hang out
with your friends. Some of our trips, however, might require a day off and it is usually a Friday. In
that case your absence will be justified and you can attend Homework Help to review the content
you missed.
Student I.D. card
You can make a student card when you are registered at ALI. This card will give you discounts
around the city at cinemas, restaurants, attractions, some means of transportation for tourism,
gyms, etc. You can make your student card every Tuesdays or Thursdays between 2:30 pm and
4:00 pm.
Here is an example of a student ID card and its contents:
FREE Survival French and English Classes & Homework Help
We offer free “Survival English” for French students and “Survival French” for English
students. These classes will help you learn the basics of the language and that way you will be
able to speak both languages that are spoken in Canada! You can sign up weekly at the school with
no additional cost. The survivals are always after your normal schedule so you don’t have to miss
any classes from your core plan.
We also offer Homework Help every day after your class and they are taught by the headteachers of the English and French departments. They are very useful for those who feel behind in
the content or had to miss a day of class.
Medical Insurance
It is mandatory to have medical insurance while studying at our school. Please learn about
the details of your insurance plan before you arrive.
If you purchase insurance with A.L.I., the insurance company is called Guard Me. You can
obtain more information about this insurance plan upon your arrival. Don’t forget to pick up your
Student Guard Card at reception in your first week at school.
For your convenience, please see on their website everything you will need to know about
contracting insurance:
There is a medical clinic that is within a 12 minute walking distance from our school if you have
an emergency; here is the map to guide you:
If you are having any emergency at home or far away from downtown there are clinics all
over Montreal and its surroundings, they are easily reachable through the internet.
Montreal is the largest city in the province of Quebec, and the second largest in Canada. It
has a metropolitan population of 3,824,221. Its highest point, Mount Royal, is 761 ft high.
Montreal is a cosmopolitan and bilingual city. The official language is French, but services are
available in English as well, especially downtown. The city is made up of 19 neighborhoods:
The main centre for tourist information, Infotouriste, is located at 1255 Peel Street, near the corner
of Peel and Ste-Catherine and close to Metro Station Peel. Phone for contact is: 514-873-2015 or 1-877266-5687.
Visit: to get to know more about Montreal and its surroundings. You can
also use this map of the city to your orientation:
Montreal's climate varies a lot over the year. The city is known for its cold winters, but its
summers are hot and generally sunny, with occasional humid days. May and October are the most
pleasant months for outdoor activities and walking. It begins to snow in November and continues
until March. The four distinct seasons allow for a wide range of outdoor activities year round.
Here is a fun list of activities that you can do during the winter, during the summer, or during
both seasons:
Activities for The Winter
Activities for the Summer
Activities for Summer &
 exploring the wonders
of Mont-Royal , that is
close to downtown;
Participating in Nuit
Blanche, where
activities are organized
all night long
attending Igloofest: a
gigantic electronic
music event under a
big-top tent
F1 Canadian Grand Prix
Jazz Festival in
shopping in the
underground city
taking a Horse & Buggy
ride bundled under a
blanket in the Old Port
Doing barbecues,
picnics and cycling –
every activity that can
be done outside is fun!
taking a bus to Mont
Tremblant village for
the day
A lot of people are very surprised with how hot Montreal and Canada could be and it comes
from the stereotype that it is cold here all the time. It is very important to know that Canada could
be as hot as your home country, and here is the average of temperature for all year long:
Where to buy winter clothes
Winners –
The Bay –
Simons –
Walmart –
Sports Experts –
L’Aubainerie –
Mountain Equipment Co-op –
One thing that people miss when they leave Montreal is the never ending line-up of festivals.
There is something to do, somewhere to go, every month of the year. Most of the events are free,
but some will ask an entrance fee. Examples of these events are: Saint Patrick’s Day Parade,
Montreal Fashion Week, Grand-Prix de Montreal, Loto-Quebec Fireworks Competition, Jazz
Festival, Canada Day, Osheaga Music Festival, etc.. We cannot name all the festivals, so please
check out for more information.
As there are also a lot of seasonal events in Montreal, it is recommended to check the
upcoming festivals in advance, in your country of residence. You can check upcoming events in
these websites:,7008705&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL
Nightlife / Music
Montreal is known for its nightlife because it is a very active city, even in the winter. Here
are links with a few spots to be checked out.
Here are links to a few websites that will help you know better the musical culture here in
Montreal and in Canada in general. It is important to remember that music is quite appreciated
here, but you always have to keep your headphones and try to listen to low music when you are in
For those who enjoy cultural activities here is a list of a few of the many museums we have in the
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
The Canadian Centre of Architecture
The Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art
Chateau Ramezay Museum
Just for Laughs Museum
Pointe-à-Callière Museum
McCord Museum of Canadian History
The Montreal Biodome
The Montreal Botanical Gardens
The Montreal Insectarium
The Montreal Planetarium
Montreal Science Centre
Visit for more information!
Banks and Canadian Currency
There are quite a few banks* around the city where you could open an account or make
transactions. The ones that are most used for international purposes are, Western Union and
HSBC. Other local banks could be: Scotia Bank, TD – Canada Trust, Desjardins, RBS, BMO – Bank of
Montreal, Laurentian, CIBC, etc.
Canadian Currency is measured in cents (¢) and dollars ($). There are 100 cents in every
When you arrive at the airport, you can exchange money into Canadian currency. There
are also exchange offices downtown, close to the school, and some banks also offer that type of
You can pay with cash, major credit cards, or direct debit cards (Interac) at most venues,
shops, and restaurants. With a Canadian bank account, you can withdraw cash at any automated
teller machine (ATM) located around the city. Some machines will allow you to withdraw cash
from an international account.
Montreal is known for its diverse population - a mix of residents from many different, in
combination with the French Canadian and English Canadian cultural heritage which makes the
food scenario extraordinary!
Examples are:
Maple Syrup: used in a lot of recipes such as cakes, pancakes, doughnuts, etc. Also used for
the famous Sugar Shacks:
Pâté Chinois:
Bagels :
Smoked Meat:
Queue de castor:
Montreal also has a tradition of adopting and making popular the culinary traditions of its
immigrant population. At the moment, Thai food is popular, as well as Greek Souvlaki, Indian
curries, and Japanese sushi. Almost any nationality has its representation on the food scene in
Montreal, and not to forget the vegetarian, raw food, and organic scenarios. With all that said…
Bon appétit!
Other Types of Accommodation
If you are not with one of A.L.I.’s accommodation services, you can search for an
apartment in the city by visiting or or any of the weekly
newspapers. You can also walk around in the areas where you want to live and call the phone
numbers on the FOR RENT/A LOUER signs close to the apartment doors.
Many families choose to live outside Montreal in one of the suburban residential areas
surrounding the downtown neighborhoods. If you are placed in a home in a suburban area, you
will have the chance to experience a different side of Montreal. Duplex and Triplex style
apartment buildings are common on the island of Montreal, which means neighbours live in close
proximity to each other. It is often possible to hear our neighbours, and it is expected that
everyone keeps the noise at respectful levels, especially between 11pm and 8am.
It is very common in Montreal to have access to newspapers inside bars or restaurants for
breakfast, you can also buy them, or have some for free at public places. Here is a list of the
newspapers you may find:
La Presse
Le Journal de Montréal
Le Devoir
The Gazette
Les Affaires
Voir - FREE
Ici Montréal - FREE
Montreal Mirror – FREE and in English
Hour – FREE and in English
24H Montréal - FREE
Journal Métro FREE
If you like exercising Montreal has a whole bunch of gyms* that give you the option to stay fit!
Check it out:
Public transport:
The public transportation system in Montreal is efficient and extensive. To access the
network of busses, metro, and suburban trains, you must purchase an OPUS card from any metro
station. There are many types of cards to purchase, you could buy monthly or weekly passes in the
beginning of each month or week. After that, you can continually recharge the card as you use it.
The monthly unlimited is the cheapest option for someone using the public transport at least
twice a day.
To travel to the south shore of Montreal or to use the trains to get by in the city certain
conditions apply. Check the website for more information about prices and dates.
It is important to remember that students from the Academie Linguistique Internationale do not
have acess to student rates for the buses. That condition is applied for students from Montreal only.
Map of main lines for public transportation
Bixi bicycles:
Another option for getting around Montreal is the BIXI bicycle system. You must subscribe
online (you can buy a yearly pass, a monthly pass, or a 24-hour pass) and then it is unlimited for
short trips under 30 minutes. There is a small fee for longer trips. BIXI parking stations are
scattered all over the city. You take the bike at one station and leave it at another station!
See for details, and or (French only) for
cycling routes and bike paths.
Long distance bus and train:
For travel outside of Montreal, visit for long distance bus trips, and for train travel.
Main airlines:
In Canada, drivers drive on the right side of the road. In the island of Montreal only, there
are no right turns on red lights. Also, stop signs read ‘arret’ which is French for ‘stop’. Distances
and speed limits are posted in kilometers throughout Canada. Gasoline prices are in litres. You
may not turn right on red lights in Montreal, although this is permitted in Quebec (outside of
Montreal’s island).You are allowed to drive with your license for 3 months after your
arrival, if you want to drive for a longer time than 3 months you should contact SAAQ
( for more information
International driver licenses are recognized in Canada. If you are in Quebec with an
international student visa and you have a valid driving permit from your country, you are allowed
to drive in Quebec. If you are visiting on a tourist visa, you must communicate with your consulate
in order to obtain an international drivers permit.
To rent a car, most companies require you to be 21 years of age (for some it is 20). Try the
following companies:
Customs and Etiquette in Canada
Legal Age
The legal age to buy cigarettes and alcohol as well as go to bars and clubs in Quebec is 18 years
and older. Note that most of other Canadian provinces have a legal age of 19 years and older. For
example, if you go to an Ottawa or Toronto trip and that you are 18 or younger, you will not be
considered a minor.
Drugs are not legal at any age in Canada. Please see the Controlled Drugs and Substance Act
from the Canadian government for more information on the legal implications.
Depending on which culture you are coming from, Canadians might seem rather friendly or
rather indifferent. But the general reputation of the people of Montreal is polite, helpful, and
relaxed. A few things to remember while living in Canada:
Spitting on the street is considered rude and you can get a fine from doing it;
Drinking in public places is not allowed;
Noise levels in your home must be lower after 11:00pm;
When you visit as a guest in someone’s home, a small gift is appropriate (such as a bottle
of wine or box of chocolates);
You have to wait for the people who are inside the metro do get out before you get in it,
the rule applies to buses and elevators as well;
Line-ups to pay at stores and kiosks are generally respected, as well as at bus stops and
information counters;
It is not acceptable to bribe police or officials;
It is usually not acceptable to bargain for the price of goods in shops;
It is polite to remove your shoes when entering someone’s home, but it is not necessary to
remove them when entering a restaurant or public space;
Being late is generally considered rude;
It is acceptable to refuse food if you do not want it;
Toilet paper goes in the toilet, not the garbage bin;
It is not polite to ask personal questions of strangers, such as salary level, marital status,
religion, political inclination, etc.;
In Canada there is a tipping system in place. It is necessary to tip from 15% to 25% at
restaurants or taxis when you receive service at the table. If you received an awful service
you could tip less than 11%.;
If you cross the street on a red light for pedestrians you can get a fine, you could also get a
fine if you don’t cross the street on the crosswalk.;
Mail Service – Canada Post
Canada Post is the federal postal service of Canada. Post offices are located all over the
city, sometimes inside pharmacies, dépanneurs (corner stores), and office buildings. You can mail
letters at a post office, or if you are sure of the postage required, you can mail letters directly in a
mail box. If you are sending a package, you must go to a post office and they will weigh it for the
correct postage. They also sell boxes and padded envelopes that you can buy to package your
Please note we do not receive mail at the school for our students. Please give your friends
and family your home address here in Canada.
These are addresses of Canada Post that are close to school, please check online for their
opening hours. You can also download Canada Post’s app on your phone to track objects, know
different addresses or learn more about rates.
Visit for more information.
Voltage, Frequency and Plug/Outlet Type in Canada
Electricity in Canada is 120 Volts at 60 Hertz.
There are two main types of voltage converters:
1) Resistor-network converters usually support 50-1600 Watts. They are light-weight and
support high-wattage electrical appliances like hair dryers and irons. However, they can
only be used for short periods of time and are not ideal for digital devices.
2) Transformers have a much lower maximum Watt rating, usually 50 or 100. Transformers
can often be used continuously and provide better electricity for low wattage appliances
like battery chargers, radios, laptop computers, cameras, mp3 players and camcorders.
However, they are heavy because they contain large iron rods and lots of copper wire.
Some companies sell combination converters that include both a resistor network and a
transformer in the same package.
Canada Plug Adapters and Outlet Shapes
If your appliances plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter.
Holidays in Canada and in Quebec
Apart from national holidays each province of Canada has its own festive dates. Here is a list of
holidays celebrated in Quebec:
English Name
French Name
January 1
New Year's Day
Nouvel an (Jour de l'an)
Friday before Easter Sunday
Good Friday
vendredi saint
Monday on or before May 24 Victoria Day
fête de la Reine
July 1
Canada Day
fête du Canada
First Monday in September
Labour Day
fête du travail
Second Monday in October
action de grâce
November 11
Remembrance Day jour du souvenir
December 25
Time Zones
Montreal, Canada lies in the Eastern Standard Time (EST) zone. We experience “daylight
savings time” in fall/winter, when we turn our clocks back one hour. This happens every year on
the second Sunday in March. During this period, we are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). We put
our clocks forward one hour (as they were before) at the end of EDT on the first Sunday in
The population in Canada is 31,612,897 (data from May, 2006). The 2006 Census also
enumerated 6,186,950 individuals who were born outside of Canada. They represented one in five
of the total population. Here is a chart of where the Canadian immigrants usually come from:
Also in 2006, 98% of the population can speak one or both official languages. In addition,
English or French is spoken at least regularly at home by 94% of Canadians and most often at
home for 89% of the population, sometimes in combination with a non-official language.
If you need to reach the consulate of your country, here are the addresses, phone and fax
numbers of some:
General Consulate of Brazil
1 Westmount Square, Suite 1700
Montreal, QC, H3Z 2P9
Phone: (+1) 514 499 0968
Fax: (+1) 514 499 3963
General Consulate of Colombia
1010 Sherbrooke West, Office 420
Montreal, QC, H3A 2R7
Phone: (+1) 514 849 4852
Fax: (+1) 514 849 4324
General Consulate of France
1501 Av McGill College
Montreal, QC, H3B 2E7
Phone: 514 878 4385
Fax :514 878 3981
General Consulate of Germany
1250, boul. René-Lévesque West, suite 4315
Montréal, QC
H3B 4W8
Phone: (001) 514 931 2277
Fax: (001) 514 931 7239
General Consulate of Italy
3489 Drummond,
Montreal, QC, H3G 1X6
Phone: +1 514-849-8351
Fax: +1 514-499-9471
General Consulate of Japan
600 de la Gauchetière West, Suite 2120
Montreal, Quebec
H3B 4L8
Phone: (+1) (514) 866-3429
Fax: (+1)(514) 395-6000
Website :
Consulate of Mexico
2055 rue Peel, Suite 1000
Montreal, QC, H3A 1V4
Phone: (+1) 514 288 2502
Fax: (+1) 514 288 8287
General Consulate of Portugal
2020 University
Montreal, QC
Phone: 514 499 0359
Fax:514 499 0366
General Consulate of Russia
3655, Avenue du Musée, Montréal, Québec
H3G 2E1
Phone: 514-843-5901
Fax: 514-842-2012
General Consulate of South Korea
1, Place Ville-Marie, Suite 2015
Montreal, QC, H3B 2C4
Phone: (+1) 514 845 2555
Fax: (+1) 514 845 1119
General Consulate of Spain
Westmount Square. Suite 1456
Montreal, Quebec H3Z 2P9
Phone: +1.514.935.5235
Fax: +1.514.935.4655
General Consulate of Switzerland
1572 Doctor Penfield Avenue,
Montréal, Quebec H3G 1C4
Phone: 514 932 7181
Fax: 514 932 9028
General Consulate of Venezuela
2055 rue Peel, bureau 400
Montreal, QC, H3A 1V4
Phone: (+1) 514 842 3417
Fax: (+1) 514 287 7101
Emergencies Phone Numbers
911 – General Urgences
311 – Reseau Accès Montreal
811 – Info-Santé
*It is important to remember that ALI has no partnership with any gyms, banks, clothing stores
or any website shown in this kit. The information provided is not merchandising.*