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Ivy Gooch, this year’s Killam Fellow, is studying in Montréal

September 30, 2011

Originally posted: 2011

Ivy GoochAfter only three days in Montréal, I’d fallen in love with the city. After three months I remain just as enamored; although now I wear at least three layers at all times. Every day I am constantly struck by the diversity of Montréal. In the west customers are greeted with “hi,” in the center with “bonjour-hi,” and in the east with a proud “bonjour.”

At l’Université de Montréal, one of the largest francophone universities in the world, readings are frequently in English. While most residents’ first and strongest language is French, the accommodations made for English are large.

As a native of Seattle, I have always associated Vancouver, Victoria, and Whistler with Canada. I soon discovered that the differences between the eastern and western seaboards of the US are much less than those of Canada. The Québecois have their own distinct culture that involves almost fully state-funded universities and swearing with words like “tabernacle” and “chalice.” However, this does not prevent them from also defining themselves as Canadians. Now in Québec I more fully understand the plurality of Canada. I now have a much greater appreciation for the ability of our neighbor to run a peaceful, diverse and bilingual country.

The Killam Fellowships Program is a partnership between the Canadian Studies Center and the Killam Fellowships Program, Ottawa. The partnership provides up to two fellowships annually for University of Washington undergraduate students. In 2009-10 Ivy Gooch, Foster School of Business and Gregory Johnson, International Studies were awarded a Killam Fellowship.