Spend the summer studying and living in one of the world’s most international and vibrant cities, Montreal, Canada. Choose from many courses, including learning to speak French, developing your entrepreneurial and marketing skills with McGill’s School of Continuing Studies, designing your own 3D animation, learning to cook like a professional chef and boosting your creativity in our photography course. The exciting city of Montreal is renowned for being a student favorite. This Pre-College Enrichment summer program prepares you for the academic and personal challenges that come with entering college.
Located in the center of Montreal, McGill University gives you a glimpse of college life in a big city!
Eleven fascinating morning courses to choose from
Eleven engaging afternoon courses to choose from
The New Residence Hall at McGill is a hotel-like residence sure to impress!
Tools to prepare for college included in your tuition
Enjoy a complimentary membership to the McGill Athletic & Recreation Center with access to the fitness center, Olympic pool, basketball courts, tennis & more.
Enjoy city nights, a music festival, the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Montreal offers endless opportunities to have fun.
All classes are private and exclusive to Westcoast Connection students only. Morning courses meet from 10:00am to 12:00pm. Afternoon courses meet from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHOLOGY
This course is designed to give students an introduction to topics in psychology. The course takes an active learning approach, which is fun and makes the concepts come alive. Given the subject matter, students will also discover a lot more about themselves. Topics will include the scientific method, classical and operant conditioning, sensation and perception, emotions, mental illness, prejudice, positive psychology, memory and how to improve relationships.
Have you ever thought about starting your own business? You will learn the fundamental tools and techniques necessary to launch your own company. After you review all the steps to create and maintain your own business venture, you have the opportunity to try your new skills and will develop and present a professional business plan.
EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE & PROFESSIONAL COMMUNICATION SKILLS
What better way to prepare you for college and a future career than to improve your interpersonal and professional communication skills? This course allows you to develop those skills and increase your performance. Case studies include conflict management, nonverbal communication and effective listening through experiential exercises and discussions. Increase your understanding of emotional intelligence and use this ability to guide your thinking and behavior. Learn how to define personal goals and how to leverage your skills, knowledge and experience to create success in new situations.
You can make a real difference to local communities in Montreal. Projects may include working with youth and families, sorting through donations for families in need, as well as serving meals to the homeless. A letter of completion recognizing 22 hours of service and detailing the projects accomplished will be issued after the summer. Westcoast Connection is a Certifying Organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
COOKING WITH ATELIERS & SAVEURS
From learning basic knife skills to creating succulent dishes, if you are a foodie, this course is for you! Whether gourmet entrees or delicious desserts, expert chefs in a beautiful, professional kitchen will inspire and help you develop skills in a hands-on culinary experience. You even get a book full of mouth watering recipes you have helped prepare!
This course is designed for non-native English-speaking students interested in attending an English-speaking college or university and to help prepare for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Thousands of schools worldwide rely on TOEFL scores to assist in admission decisions. Imagine the possibilities this test opens up to you as it demonstrates you have the English language skills necessary for an academic classroom. Our instructors guide you and offer you test-taking strategies, help you familiarize yourself with the test, and allow you to practice all sections of the exam.
This course introduces the fascinating world of robotics. Learn about microprocessors and how to program them to make your robot complete a specific task. Get hands-on experience with a Sparkfun RedBot as you design and program advanced behaviors. Be inspired with a visit to a local robotics lab. Finish the course with a competition where your robot will go head-to-head against your classmates. No prior experience is required. Each student receives their own Sparkfun RedBot to use and take home at the completion of the course.
A supplementary fee of $195 applies for the Robotics course.
LEADERSHIP & GLOBAL AFFAIRS
As the world continues to grow more connected than ever, future leaders require both an understanding of the global environment and leadership skills that can beapplied on a transnational scale. This course will expose you to today’s most pressing global affairs and will help develop your critical thinking abilities all while introducing you to diverse perspectives through debates, research and Model UN simulations.
This comprehensive college preparatory program covers invaluable sessions on creating your college resume, writing the perfect college essay, what to look for on campus visits, selecting the best USA college that best fits you and navigating the application process. Additional lessons emphasize finding and applying for scholarships and aid, understanding the role of extracurricular activities, leadership and community service and making sure you are on the right track in high school. An experienced college advisor guides you on finding the school that best suits your academic, social and financial profile. For our 28-day students, this is all tied together as you receive a personalized roadmap through small group counseling and six guided Boston area college visits.
Do you have a passion for video games? The video game industry in Montreal is thriving and has attracted leading studios to the city, including EA Sports (Montreal), Warner Brothers Interactive, and Ubisoft. Visit a studio and explore the various steps of 3D Animation. You are introduced to illustration, sketching and animation techniques. You then create your own avatar and begin cartooning, so by the end of your course you have your own animated cartoon.
This course and workshops will allow you to develop your voice as an author. Learn to write effective narrative and create characters and settings that jump off the page. Through a mix of guided exercises, you will have an opportunity to experiment with style and structure, learn about plot development, and hone your critical skills while giving and receiving helpful feedback with your fellow writers. At the end of this course, which is offered in collaboration with the Quebec Writers’ Federation, you will return home with a portfolio that you will be excited to share.
CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION: CSI MONTREAL
Experience the multidisciplinary world of forensic science through hands-on training exercises and theoretical lessons. CSI procedures will be examined along with more advanced topics of forensic anthropology, biology and bloodstain pattern analysis. A major case scenario will be staged and you will work in investigative teams to identify, collect and interpret the evidence before acting as a forensic expert witness and testifying in a mock court setting.
MONTREAL CULTURE: BEHIND THE SCENES
A “field trip” around Montreal to learn about the French-Canadian culture that makes this city so unique. Explore the “Place des Festivals”, the historic Old Montreal with its 17th century cobblestone streets, and the city’s Mount Royal Park which was designed by the same designer as New York’s Central Park. Uncover multiple museums and artistic venues. Discover Montreal’s unique culinary experience and indulge in their famous poutine and smoked meat.
THE PRINCETON REVIEW SAT (AND ACT TOO!)
Improve your SAT performance by becoming a better test taker. Learn Princeton Review’s exclusive strategies. Your instructor will help you master the test through in-class practice, drills and test reviews. You will better understand math, critical reading and writing concepts tested on the exams and your instructor will teach proven test-taking techniques. In addition to your course, you get the following materials and extras:
A supplementary fee of $795 applies for the Princeton Review.
MONTREAL DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
This in-the-field course is for all levels, all you need is an interest in photography. Learn about shutter speed, aperture, ISO, camera modes and the basics of composition (lighting, exposure, framing, focus and blur) through workshops and assignments in different areas of the city. Capture the city of Montreal from behind the lens. Creativity mixes with practical skills and culminates in an individual photography project completed by the end of the course.
A DSLR or bridge camera with manual functions having at least a 12.0 megapixel sensor is required.
FRENCH LANGUAGE: BEGINNER TO ADVANCED
Did you know Montreal is the second largest primarily French speaking city in the world after Paris? What better place to learn this beautiful Romance language and improve your French language skills? Attention is given to grammar, vocabulary, reading and writing with the primary goal of enhancing your verbal skills. We don’t just want you to know Français, we want you to be able to use it and you will have many opportunities in this incredible city.
INTRODUCTION TO MODERN ART
Modern artists studied are known for a spirit of political revolt and artistic experimentation and include van Gogh, Picasso, Dalí and Warhol. Students visit the Museum of Fine Arts, the Museum of Contemporary Art and a number of modern galleries.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
We all use social media in our daily lives, but how effective is this tool for marketing? Explore the concepts behind social media marketing as well as the principles of online communication. Review the evolution of various platforms and evaluate their effectiveness as marketing tools.
WEB DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRAMMING
MASTERING PUBLIC SPEAKING
This hands-on course will help participants master the art of public speaking. Students will learn how to craft and deliver persuasive speeches, overcome barriers they experience when delivering a presentation on either a prepared or impromptu basis, and gain knowledge on how to play to their strengths, the audience and the material. Perfect for anyone preparing for college admission interviews, future career prep or looking to enhance their general public speaking skills.
MUSIC PRODUCTION AND MIXING
Picture yourself in a multitrack recording studio with professional equipment. In addition to learning the theoretical basic ideas, you enjoy access to creative tools at the cutting edge of technology. The course includes the use of music sequencing software, microphones and a professional studio mixing board. You will meet music industry experts who advise on how to distribute and promote your own musical works online. Learn something fun, express your creativity and add rhythm to your summer.
Enjoy access to McGill University’s Athletic and Recreation Center and incredible fitness facility. Plan a workout regimen including weight training, cardio, swimming or play basketball to help you meet your fitness goals.
INCLUDED IN YOUR TUITION
TWO COLLEGE WORKSHOPS
WORKSHOP #1 – CHOOSING THE RIGHT SCHOOL & COLLEGE APPLICATION PROCESS – Choosing the college that is the right fit for your academic and personal interests is the first step in the process and requires careful research and self-evaluation. This interactive workshop provides you with tools and resources to develop a list of criteria integral to choosing appropriate colleges to consider. Explore the basic elements of the college application and learn the ins and outs of the Common Application. Develop your academic/co-curricular profile, learn how to craft a high caliber application and set up your time line for completion of applications, supplements and essays.
WORKSHOP #2 – COLLEGE ESSAY WRITING – Explore different essay topics and strategies to write a proper admission essay that distinguishes you. As one of the top qualitative measures in the admissions process, your personal essay is an integral part of your application. As a critical aspect of your first impression to an admissions officer, the essay is an opportunity for you to share your stories, adding greater depth and dimension to your application. This workshop includes an overview of fundamental writing skills using real examples of college essays. The focus is on practical tips for writing a great college essay, including finding your voice, brainstorming essay ideas, understanding the prompts, focusing on a theme, and the importance of editing and proofreading.Complimentary
COLLEGE PREP IS AVAILABLE TO ALL STUDENTS AS A MORNING COURSE CHOICE
This comprehensive college preparatory program covers invaluable sessions on creating your college resume, writing the perfect college essay, what to look for on campus visits, selecting the best USA college that best fits you and navigating the application process. Additional lessons emphasize finding and applying for scholarships and aid, understanding the role of extracurricular activities, leadership and community service and making sure you are on the right track in high school. An experienced college advisor guides you on finding the school that best suits your academic, social and financial profile.
THE PRINCETON REVIEW SAT (AND ACT TOO!) IS AVAILABLE TO ALL STUDENTS AS AN AFTERNOON COURSE CHOICE
Become a better test taker through in-class practice, drills and test reviews. Review math, critical reading and writing concepts tested on the exams as your Princeton Review instructor teaches proven test-taking techniques and strategies. Lessons are focused on beating the SAT! The Princeton Review ACT live-online prep course is included with your SAT course.
A supplementary fee of $795 applies for Princeton Review.
Keep in shape with free weights, strength training, cardio machine workout area, Olympic-size pool, basketball courts, tennis courts, indoor jogging track, racquetball and squash courts.
Join in the games – Our Sports Coordinator organizes games of basketball, volleyball, ultimate Frisbee and more.
All included in your tuition!
MONTREAL EXCITING ACTIVITY HIGHLIGHTS
International Jazz Festival
A summer in Montreal is not complete without taking in this premiere event, featuring thousands of artists and hundreds of free outdoor performances. Join the rest of the city (and the world) in the celebration.
Explore the charming cobblestone streets and unique European flare of the city’s most famous landmark: the Old Port. From street performers and beautiful architecture to local cafes in hidden alleys, you will discover something new every visit.
La Ronde – Six Flags Amusement Park
Enjoy thrilling roller coasters and other exciting rides, including La Ronde’s famous Monster, the world’s tallest wooden double roller coaster. In the evening, you will delight in a breathtaking firework display.
View the Montreal skyline from your cruise along the St. Lawrence River – and get soaked! This exhilarating ride through the Lachine Rapids is more exciting than you could imagine.
“Just For Laughs” Comedy Festival
Laugh the night away at the world’s largest international comedy festival! This two-week event, featuring hundreds of artists and performances, will be a highlight of your summer.
A weekly impromptu weekly free festival in the middle of the city? Only in Montreal! “The Tams” is a colorful gathering of drummers, dancers, vendors and their admiring audiences that takes place every Sunday at the foot of Mount Royal.
Montreal bagels, smoked meat and their famous poutine! Understand for yourself what all the fuss is about. Everything else is just imitation.
Biodome & Planetarium
Both located in and around the 1976 Olympic Stadium, immerse yourself in these two institutions that are part of Montreal’s Space for Life. The Biodome actually allows you to walk through exquisite recreations of some of America’s most beautiful and diverse ecosystems. Then visit the brand new Planetarium, whose innovative technology will have you experiencing the universe like never before.
Atwater Market & Lachine Canal
Bike along the water of the Lachine Canal and wind your way through the city’s Old Port until you reach the Atwater Market, a farmers’ market offering the best of Montreal and Quebec delicacies.
Saint-Laurent & Sainte-Catherine
Each with its own personality, discover what makes these streets famous Montreal destinations. From one-of-a-kind shops and funky cafes with streetside terraces to multilevel street art murals, there’s something for everyone!
The heart and pride of Montreal, Mount Royal comes alive during the summer with the weekly “Tam-Tams”, hiking and biking trails, street vendors and food trucks. Choose to sunbathe, enjoy a picnic lunch or join a beach volleyball game.
International Fireworks Competition
The Montreal skyline is ablaze throughout the summer as teams from around the world contend for the top prize in the largest pyrotechnics competition of its kind. The “pyromusical” shows are some of the city’s most attended events.
Bell Centre Tour
Explore the home of the Montreal Canadiens and discover the ins and outs of the NHL’s most winning team.
Super Aqua Club Waterpark
With over 45 attractions, including a wave pool, lazy river and tons of water slides, you can easily splash away the day – there’s even a huge sandy beach!
McGill University Campus Tour
Founded in 1821, McGill has developed an international reputation for excellence and was rated 32nd in the QS World University Rankings in 2017. The public research institution offers degrees and diplomas in over 300 field of study.
Other fun activities include ice skating, laser tag and more!
MONT-TREMBLANT EXCITING ACTIVITY HIGHLIGHTS
Regardless of your experience or thrill boundaries, you are sure to love this gravity adventure ride, imported straight from New Zealand! You will reach speeds and thrills as you pass through the curves and enjoy the scenery of the Mont-Tremblant Resort on your descent.
In the Laurentian Mountains, this modern mountain village is a mirror of its West Coast affiliate, Whistler Blackcomb, and offers shops, luxury accommodations and amazing restaurants. No wonder it has been voted Best Ski Resort in eastern North America for 12 years from Ski Magazine. Make sure to sample some delicious crepes or “BeaverTails.”
International Blues Festival
Over 150 outstanding Jazz and Blues artists gather in Mont-Tremblant each summer for this exciting festival. Enjoy concerts at indoor and outdoor venues in this charming and picturesque village.
Chill on the sands of the Mont-Tremblant Beach Club. Take a dip, work on your tan or grab a bite to eat. However you choose to spend your time, you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated.
Forget your idea of a typical dorm; this hotel-like residence will blow you away! Your summer residence is New Residence Hall commonly referred to as “New Rez”, one of the most popular residences at McGill University. And what a location! The McGill campus sits at the foot of Mount Royal, tucked in between downtown Montreal on one side and leafy-green woods and trails on the other. You are steps away from chic cafés and restaurants in the popular Plateau Neighborhood, boutiques and parks. Each room has individual twin beds, AC, private bathroom, cable TV, a refrigerator and Wi-Fi. The residence provides 24-hour security, a laundry room, on-site cafeteria and is a short walking distance to all the classes and campus athletic facilities.
*This summer program for high school students is operated by Westcoast Connection. While students stay at a McGill University residence, use McGill classrooms, athletic facilities and have business courses taught by McGill School of Continuing Studies faculty, this program is not a McGill University program and responsibility for the program resides solely with Westcoast Connection.Visit Website
At Westcoast Connection nothing else comes first. From our extensive program planning department through our management team and our leaders, it is our single biggest priority! Safety procedures, equipment – we’ve got it covered. All Program Leaders and Directors are certified in First Aid and CPR. We are extremely proud of our safety record and welcome all questions you may have in this area. Please see more under Safety First.
As a participant on our Pre-College Enrichment: Montreal program, you may fly to Montreal and be greeted upon arrival and enjoy complimentary transfer (for flights in designated times) from the airport to our downtown residence. For those requiring, we are happy to assist you with arranging flights to and from the program. If you prefer, you may be dropped off directly at our McGill residence and meet your staff there. If you are driving to Montreal, it is approximately 5 hours from Boston and 6.5 hours from New York City.
For the 21-day program return from Montreal for flights in designated times, we provide airport transfer and our leaders help you to check in and remain in the airport until flights have departed. You may also arrange to be picked up at the McGill residence if you prefer.
Course offerings cover a diverse range of academic disciplines and interests so you can explore your passion, whether it’s business, photography, psychology or social media marketing to name a few. We work with highly qualified instructors so courses are taught by university faculty, graduate teaching instructors, secondary school teachers, local industry professionals and specialists. Students receive a letter of completion for courses taken. Westcoast Connection staff is pleased to write letters of recommendation. For those who choose community service options, a letter is issued for the hours completed.
Once you are on your program, you will have sensitive leaders that are caring, approachable and always there for you. Your Program Director and Program Leaders are people with incredible backgrounds including teachers, guitar players, IRONMAN triathletes, SCUBA divers, volunteers, and so much more.
Every staff member takes part in and must complete our extensive training weekends that review our philosophy and procedures to provide a well-supervised and fun-filled program.
Our Program Directors, the individuals responsible for overseeing each itinerary, take on the roles of teachers, coaches, camp counselors, mentors, concierges and hosts. They’ve been trained to provide individual attention and create an all-inclusive family atmosphere (our EACH & EVERY philosophy). There’s a definite art to building dynamic groups, and we’ve worked hard to master it! We want you smiling on day one right through to a teary goodbye at your farewell banquet.
Our leaders are non-smokers. To learn more about our staff, please visit our Summer Leaders section.
Our Pre-College Enrichment programs are designed to give you a taste of the excitement and independence you will experience in college. Just like in college, you will be part of a large group of students, live in a residence, be assigned a roommate and have your choice of classes. And like in college, you will enjoy a warm, family environment within your residence where you enjoy many opportunities to socialize with other students within your residence and classes. Our staff hiring and training emphasizes social safety and establishing an inclusive culture. We are extremely skilled at this. We take great care in crafting an environment that simulates and prepares you for life as a college student, both academically and socially.
8:00 AM – Wake Up
8:30 AM – 9:30 AM – Breakfast
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM – Morning Course
12:00 PM – 2:00 PM – Lunch
2:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Afternoon Course
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM – Student's Choice (Sports, Fitness Center, City Exploring, Free Time)
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Dinner
9:00 PM – 11:00 PM – Evening Activities (Group or Several Options)
11:30 PM – Curfew
Note the schedule above is “typical,” your personal schedule and lunch time may vary based on your course choices.
Talk about an incredible summer. This program is the perfect balance of study, cultural immersion, college preparation and touring highlights. You will have the unique opportunity to study while living in the heart of Montreal. While staying in a college residence, working out at the gym, going to class and utilizing public transportation, you will get a true taste of the college experience.
Getting a sneak peek at college life wouldn’t be complete without gaining some independence. Within structured daily schedules, our summer leaders provide guidance and supervision and are always available at designated meeting spots. This means that, together with your classmates, you’ll be able to navigate your way around campus, and explore neighboring sights, restaurants and cafes. Our tightly knit groups also come together for evening meals and activities, making it easy for our students to meet and build lasting friendships!
As you travel to new places and experience different cultures, your journey may challenge your ideas and preconceived notions. We recognize this and strive to provide an environment where you are free to question and learn. This is nurtured by our leaders’ open and non-judgmental guidance.
Our experience lends itself to trying new things and stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. While living, working and learning together, you are afforded the chance to interact with very different communities. Everybody grows in their social acceptance of others. Your perception will change as your understanding of and empathy for others grows. Whereas prior to your travels, you may have held stereotypes for some communities, your new first-hand experience will enable you to see we often share more in common with others than we may have known.
There really is a difference in how different summer programs operate! Motivated students going away with qualified leaders is a given. But what sets us apart is the depth of our qualified personnel that allow us to perform with the greatest consistency at the highest level.
Your Program Director and Program Leaders are with you throughout your program. They have daily contact with one of our two 24-hour Communication Centers and are in regular contact with our Company Directors. Our Company Directors are the most seasoned veterans who each oversee specific programs providing support to trip staff and to assist with any situations that may arise. Our Company Directors alternate between traveling to visit programs and being reached in the office. Program visits enable us to provide ongoing support and development to our Program Directors, allows trip staff to have a sounding board for their own progress in reaching trip goals, helps us to identify any challenging areas for improvement while it still has relevance to your summer rather than as a mention on your end-of-summer survey, and helps us to identify the future Directors from the current crop of all-star summer staff. These visits are by Company Directors along with our Regional Supervisors, who are former Program Directors with further experience out in the field. Collectively our planning and management team is an incredible resource with 420+ summers of combined teen travel experience. This way we can lend a hand wherever and whenever a little extra effort is called for. Last year we had 205 scheduled supervisory program visits to make sure all was running well, provide ongoing support to our staff in the field, and have fun! This investment in depth of personnel is unrivaled in teen travel and is a critical element to achieving consistent, excellent program quality and surpassing client expectations!
Included in the trip tuition are all activities and entertainment described, breakfast & dinner daily, lunches as indicated on your specific program, gratuities, taxes, land transportation, accommodations, and fanatical customer service from our full-time team and summer Communication Centers. This can add up to tremendous value!
With 36 years of experience creating perfectly-planned summer programs, students will also take in the sights, impressive weekend and day trips, all included in the program tuition. Considering travel as education in itself, students get to immerse themselves in a new city and culture for an overall enriching experience. This study - travel balance is unique as, when not in class, our groups can be seen enjoying Montreal’s most famous sights and simply having the summer of a lifetime!
A big part of your Pre-College Enrichment program’s success depends on how well you eat. We are proud of the fact that year after year we are complimented for our quality, quantity and choice of food! Enjoy a delicious breakfast with a healthy variety of hot and cold choices. For lunch, you enjoy the choice of eating in smaller groups and choosing from local cafés and small restaurants. For dinner, either the whole group goes to the same restaurant or we divide into smaller groups with staff to sample quainter places with a variety of cuisines. Food options are varied and plentiful. Montreal is known for its diverse and reputable food scene. Get ready to indulge from famous Montreal smoked meat and bagels to poutine and BeaverTails pastries.
We have satisfied the choosiest of eaters and gladly accommodate most special dietary requests including vegetarian, anaphylactic food allergies, lactose intolerance, celiac disease and kosher style. We welcome discussing your individual requirements with you and have extensive personal experience in this area.
Students may use public transit on some days, in small groups with other students while in communication with our staff. In the evenings, students are with staff on any public transportation. We want to make sure we’re giving you guidance and support at all times.
We hire private air-conditioned motor coaches with a professional driver for most exciting day and weekend excursions.
You only need to bring one week’s worth of clothing as outlined in our packing list as we have the opportunity to do laundry at your convenience in our residence hall.
While you’re out having the summer of your life, your parents should feel like they are in on the action as well. We post updates to our blog and Facebook page and e-mail photos approximately once a week so those at home can be in on the fun. Parents also have access to our dedicated office Program Monitors 24/7 for any questions and/or concerns. We’re as in touch as any program operator could possibly be via smartphones with e-mail and text. The goal is uncompromising safety and peace of mind, day after day, hour by hour, minute by minute. Participants may bring their personal cell phones.
In last summer’s surveys, 98% of responding teens and parents said they would recommend us to others. We must be doing something right!