Quebec (Université Laval)

Quebec (Université Laval)

The programme at Université Laval is incredibly flexible and will give you tons of hands-on lab experience. It's divided up into three semesters. The first semester, you will take 3 short lab rotations of 1 month each, during which you will focus on learning new techniques in neuroscience. You can pick any lab in you like, and generally almost all labs will be able to accommodate you. Then, for the next two semesters, you choose one of these three labs to stay and do your master's thesis. You don't have to decide in advance which lab you like best, you can decide after you've finished your lab rotations. During the second semester, you will mostly be able to focus on your research .You'll have to present your work at the university, and in order to get credits, you'll be attending the weekly journal club at your research institute. In your third and final semester, you present your work at the Neurasmus annual meeting, and write your thesis

Academics

Where can I find labs?
The two main research centers are CERVO and CHUL. There is no list of labs and projects, so you will have to take a look at the labs to see which ones fit your interest, and then simply talk to the coordinator, Katalin, to see if they have space for you. For CERVO, the wesite is https://cervo.ulaval.ca/fr/researchers , and for CHUL it is http://www.crchudequebec.ulaval.ca/#

When does the programme begin and end?
The autumn session starts beginning of september (e.g. 3rd of September 2018). You will attend the autumn session, winter session and summer session and end somewhere in august (e.g. 16th of August 2019).
You can find exact dates here https://www.ulaval.ca/les-etudes/programmes-cours-horaire/calendriers-universitaires.html

What courses will I be taking?
You don't really have to take any courses. There's a mandatory online ethics course during the first semester, and a mandatory presentation during the second semester. The other courses that you will have to register for are just informal courses that allow you to get credits for the research that you are doing in the lab. E.g., you'll get credits for learning techniques, carrying out lab rotations, attending journal clubs etc. If you want, there is the option to take one 3-credit course of your choice. You can take anything you want but it has to be useful for a neuroscientist.

French.

Quebec is a francophone province. France is the official language. It is not bilingual. At the research institute, everyone speaks English, but most Quebecois students are more comfortable speaking French. You will have to take a mandatory ethics course in french - but you will be able to pass if you do not speak any French. If you want to take a language course, you will have to organize this on your own.

Life in Quebec

Housing
You will be responsible for finding your own housing. As most of the labs are not located on the university campus, most people do not use the university housing. Instead, you can find a room or apartment in the private sector. The most helpful website is https://www.kijiji.ca/

Beer
The beer in Quebec is really awesome. They have tons of microbreweries (small, local breweries) so you'll be able to choose from 10 different beers in every pub and restaurant you go to. It's great. Wine is super expensive and generally quite bad.

How bad is the winter?
I thought I was going to die. I thought it would just physically hurt to be outside. But it's actually not that bad. Once you get to Quebec, you just have to spend roughly $600 on a winter coat (if you buy it new), $150 on snow boots, and buy some gloves and a hat. Then you'll be fine. When it gets below -25 degrees celsius, you probably won't want to be outside for too long, but it's not like you feel like you're dying when you go outside. If you live close to a metrobus (a busline with an 800 number, e.g. 801 or 807), you can get around pretty easily. It's just that in winter, it's harder to go out and do stuff after you finish work in the lab. You can go to a bar, but it's just a pain to ''saddle up'' in your enormous coats and then have to stash them in the pub. Summer on the other hand, is just awesome. There are tons of cheap concerts, the summer festival, lots of outdoor seating, and still great beer.

Finances

What are the costs of living in Quebec
Rent is relatively cheap. If you share a house with roommates, you can easily make it for under $400 dollars. Food is expensive. I think I spent about $250 a month. A phone + mobile internet plan will cost you about $40, and a monthly pass for the bus is $58. The university gym is $18 dollars a month. A beer is about $7 dollars. All in all, you can live off $1100 CAD a month, which is roughly €750.

Are there any scholarships available?
If you're registered at the university of Bordeaux, you can apply for IdEx through aquimob (http://www.aquimob.fr/IdEx-International.html). Florina and Agnes can give you more information.

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