You’ll never walk alone: Valuable resources for graduate students at McGill

One aspect of our graduate student life at McGill that truly stands out as exemplary to me is the sheer number of resources in place to buttress our burgeoning professional careers. I am amazed that, even as a senior PhD student, I am constantly finding out about organizations, workshops and tools that I did not know of the year before. We are blessed to have such an incredible framework of support at our university, and to have a wealth of information and support right at our fingertips. I’ve compiled a list of valuable resources for students who currently are or soon will be enrolled in a graduate program at McGill. In here is basic information I found out about when I first arrived, as well as information I found out about just last week! I hope that many of you will benefit from this information and will know where to turn when in need of more.


Études Internationales Près de Chez Vous

Joyeux nouvel an Chinois!  (source:

Joyeux nouvel an Chinois!

Tout d’abord: n’ajustez pas votre écran. Ce que vous lisez est bien en Français.

Après toutes ces années ‘French is back on the blog’!

Aujourd’hui, je veux parler de la richesse culturelle que l’on trouve à McGill. Pourquoi étudier à l’étranger quand le monde peut venir à vous?

Les débats culturels contemporains sonnent toujours étranges à mes oreilles; à chaque fois que je rencontre des personnes de pays lointains j’en sors plus riche. Leurs différences débutent des conversations passionantes.


Growing smaller

All days are numbered. Days left until the weekend, days left until you see someone again, days left until an important date comes around, or until an important deadline stares you right in the face, days elapsed since the beginning of a new relationship, a new baby or your PhD, days until you leave, days until you return. All days are numbered, but you realize it most blatantly when you are forced to count them.

89 days in Italy. That’s what I filled out on all my Italian paperwork, and that’s what I told the Immigration Officer when he asked me how long I would stay. For the next three months, my apartment is in a small town called Rovereto in northern Italy, in the province of Trentino. My new office door unlocks with a long iron key that looks like something you would find at an antique store, and my new lab-mates are people who were strangers to me only a handful of days ago.  For the next three months, getting to my street will involve turning left at the vineyard instead of turning left at the Metro station, and instead of hearing traffic and snowplows, I will hear lots and lots of church bells.

Photo by Kristina Kasparian


Photo by Kristina Kasparian

Photo by Kristina Kasparian

Why did I suddenly transplant myself to Italy? Besides my long-standing love for this country and culture, the purpose of my stay is academic: my mission for the next three months is to collect data for my PhD project, while collaborating with a research team that is interested in the same topics and methodology as I am.

Although I haven’t moved to Italy for that long a time, the process of leaving and the feelings that arise when dealing with all that is new and uncertain are probably largely the same whether you leave for three months or three years. I remember how similar it felt when I left for Europe for two years for my Master’s degree. I am writing this post for international students or for people who find themselves moving to a new place for their studies or their jobs and who, at some point or another, may have shared these experiences or thoughts.


On sirens and safe-rooms: A letter to all those affected

History always felt to me like something of the remote past, something significant that others have lived and that we learn about years and decades later. Growing up, I always saw myself as living in a time where nothing “historical” happened – no World Wars, no “walls” being built, no worldwide economic crash. Learning about history in school, I perceived life – mine, my family’s and my country’s – as calm and historically uneventful. History was, to me, very distinct from the present. I think it was when 9/11 occurred, during my early teenage years, when I first fully grasped that history and the present are very much intertwined. Since then, I would often ask myself, “Will my kids one day read about this in their history textbooks?“, and would try to imagine events of my timeline as “history” for people to come.


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