Shelby '15, Intern at Cafa Corporate Finance International BusinessMontreal — Fall Semester 2013
I frequently hear "Montreal? That's not abroad; it's less than two hours away from Burlington!" But I think that is what makes studying abroad in Montreal such an incredible experience. A whole, unique culture is situated only two hours away from Burlington. Why wouldn't you take advantage of that? Montreal sits at a unique crossroads of cultures. Bilingualism amazed me on almost a daily basis-perhaps I was just jealous I was unable to grow up in such a unique place. The city has distinct Canadian, French and American influences, but also hosts many international students and communities creating a global city. Montreal and the Quebecois are truly unique. The staff and faculty in Montreal were great. Everyone knew your name and knew you. They were always open to suggestions for activities. It seemed like we were hardly ever in the classroom learning. The city was our classroom. But, that's what study abroad is about. What is the point of going to school somewhere else if you're not going to embrace and indulge in the culture? If we saw an advertisement for an art gallery, a piece of theatre, a science exhibit, you name it, and we mentioned it to the activities coordinator, she would try her hardest to get us there. While I was abroad, I had the pleasure of interning for Cafa Corporate Finance, a private investment banking firm. Cafa specializes in mergers and acquisitions, corporate financing and restructuring. It seems like a mouthful and that it encompasses a lot. And it does! Cafa works with a multitude of clients in a multitude of industries. One would also think that Cafa is a large firm; however, there are only five employees. Everyone has made me feel welcomed from my very first day and are enthusiastic in helping my education.
I'm not the stereotypical image of an intern- I never had administrative work to do. Because I wasn't stuck in the copy room, I assisted in meaningful ways to both the company and my own education.
Although I accomplished a few different tasks, I usually conducted research. In general, I quite enjoy the research process for projects and papers. For course work, a quick Google search usually provides you with enough information for each particular aspect of the paper. Although that paper has the purpose of educating yourself either on the research process itself, or on a particular subject, there is no further application of the information collected. At Cafa, my research is used to make real-world decisions. At first it was intimidating that millionaires and billionaires would be basing some of their decisions on some facts and figures I had uncovered. But I soon learned where to find the data needed and what exactly were the important figures to include. A quick Google search didn't cut it here. One day I was able to access a market report through the online databases available to us through the Champlain Library which the employee I was working with was not able to locate.
I have learned so much at this internship. With their strict open door policy, I could turn to anyone to ask for assistance or further information. One of the owners even hosted an informal information session for another employee and I on financial statements. Although I learned about these statements in classroom settings before, this was a more applied approach. He kept telling us to "think in terms of Excel," as that's where these statements are created. Sure, I can know what accounts go where on paper, but he offered tips on where to look when things don't balance as there could just be a mistake of how you've linked the cells.
A combination of the small firm and open door policy has also allowed me to get to know everyone on a more personal level. It's been interesting learning about the Canadian culture through them. As a conversation inevitably ended up about hockey, we got to talking about other sports. Being from Massachusetts, the Red Sox came up and one guy exclaimed, "you don't find baseball boring?!"
Internships are always learning experiences. You're able to take what you've learned in the classroom and see it applied and used in daily life. Not only are you learning how to do a particular job or task, you're also learning how to operate in an office environment. Any field of study can benefit from an internship and even more so, one abroad! Today's world is becoming increasingly globalized and it's important to see business outside of an American perspective. So, even if an internship isn't on your curriculum for the semester you're studying abroad, I highly recommend talking to your academic or study abroad adviser about fitting one in. You won't regret it!
Lucas '12,Game Art & AnimationMontreal 2010-2011 Academic Year
The two semesters that I spent in Montreal were two of the greatest experiences I've had in my life. As an artist trying to break into the game industry, the city itself is full of wonderful opportunities. Vermont has been my home, but going to Montreal took my dreams and helped me get on the right track to making them a reality. Nothing can compare to actually meeting people in the game industry, touring studios that I'm interested in working for, or spending time at the GameArtisans gallery and becoming friends with Fredrik Hultqvist, the founder of the studio and organizer of the Dominance War.
Three other Champlain students and I participated in Dominance War V, a massive 3-D art event in which students and professionals compete between 3D art forms to create the most awe-inspiring characters they can in about two months. I like projects that have specific limitations, as it really forces you to find creative solutions, and Dominance War was my best experience with that. You have specific technical restraints, and you're required to post your work-in-progress and receive comments and criticism. Your progress becomes a reference for others who might be doing something similar. It was great to be part of such a large community of artists and to get the feedback of professionals in the field and students at other schools.
I can honestly say that, had I not gone to Montreal, I wouldn't have created the quality of work that landed me my summer internship at Codename Games in LA in 2011, and I probably wouldn't have landed a full-time job in Toronto as a 3D environmental artist for Torn Banner Studios.
Kelsey '14, Intern- Nomad IndustriesFilmmakingMontreal- Spring Semester '13
While abroad, I had a great opportunity to intern at Nomad Industries, a trans-media production company that creates content for a number of different outlets, from the web and television, to events and installations. Nomad aims to explore new media frontiers throughout the world. It is located in a building deemed Nomad Nation, situated in the Montreal Mile-End. Nomad Nation is a two-story building, with both a production and recording studio on the first floor, and office space for artists on the second floor. Here, video artists, animators, editors, graphic designers and the like gather to create. Nomad Industries founder, Jason Rodi was my site mentor throughout the semester. After climbing Mt. Everest with his father, he created a documentary entitled Eye of the Son. He is also an award-winning experimentalist, and created a docu-fiction entitled 99¢ dreams which was filmed on seven continents. One of my goals for the semester was to step outside my comfort zone and to take risks, so I was very excited and eager to work with someone like Jason. At Nomad, I was always working on a project, from a series entitled Intersection, to a group of interviews for the World Anti-Doping Agency, which features past and current Olympians. As so, my technical editing ability has grown immensely. I also filmed a concert with Jason downtown at a venue called Petit Campus, and I am now more prepared to film live events. This semester I had the opportunity to interact with film professionals on a daily basis. I was able to converse with them about their projects, their views on video and storytelling, and my outlook on the world of professional filmmaking has expanded. Ultimately, I look back on my semester with so much gratitude. Studying in Montreal was by far the best choice I could have ever made, career-wise, and I have decided to take a paid internship for the summer at Nomad. I am very excited for what new opportunities this summer will give me, and I cannot wait to advance in this field. All that I've been working towards over the past few years is culminating into something real. My dreams are resting in my hands and Montreal is a place where I can turn them into a reality.
Cara '12Business AdministrationMontreal — Fall Semester 2010
Coming from small town Vermont, Montreal was the best experience for me in terms of personal growth. I learned that I can conquer almost any challenge including the big city! Most importantly, I learned to conquer my fear of change.
I feel as though I would not have graduated the person I am now if it was not for the amazing experiences I had living in Montreal. I look back on photos often and think about how fall, 2010 was one of the greatest times of my college education and that I got to share it with an amazing group of students, many who have become friends for a lifetime.
I will cherish the memories, forever.
In Memory of Wesnide Labissierre, Montreal Head Resident, 2010
Zach '14, Intern- Minority Media Inc. Marketing - Game DesignMontreal- Spring Semester '13
As a Champlain College student, I have had the unique opportunity to design and tailor my major to suit my skills and interests around game design and marketing. This past semester I interned at Minority Media Inc., an independent game developer based in Montreal, Canada. It was founded in 2010 by Vander Caballero, the former Design Director at EA Montreal. Vander started Minority out of a passion for creating alternatives to generic shooter/action games. His vision was to deliver a deep, emotional experience that is rich in content and texture. He recruited like-minded staff from companies like Enix and Ubisoft. From the moment I met the Minority Team, I knew it was a perfect fit. I became Minority's "Marketing Coordinator." Minority's most recent release, Papo & Yo is based on Caballero's relationship with his alcoholic father. It tells the story of a young boy, Quico, who has a friend, Monster. He loves Monster, and Monster loves him, but Monster has a dangerous addiction to poisonous frogs. When he eats one, he becomes enraged, lashing out at anything that gets too close - even Quico. The two must journey through the mystical favelas to find a cure. As the Marketing Coordinator, I was given the freedom to create and execute my ideas in support of Minority. I worked on a number of projects, but my favorite experience was contributing to the marketing plan for Papo & Yo. I was given responsibility for redesigning the game's website and helping to publish the game on several online stores. I also created the concept and designed the online merchandise store. I generated marketing buzz when I coordinated a Reddit 'Ask Me Anything' event. It worked so well, I earned the nickname, "Genius Intern" which I was proud to answer to.
Jess '11, Interned at Hunt RefrigerationInternational BusinessMontreal, Spring Semester 2011
Montreal has it all; it's not far from home, but still far enough. Plus it's a city and a completely different culture in a different country. I came here not knowing a single person, so that should not deter anyone else from coming here. It is a small group of people that you instantly become close. My one recommendation for anyone coming to study in Montreal is to find an internship. It will be worth your time and you will make connections that will last forever. It will always look good to future employers that you worked in a different country.
Montreal definitely made me grow as a person. For me, Montreal was a break from what was happening in my life. I needed to realize that I am an independent person and Montreal did that for me. Being able to live in a city definitely taught me some life lessons. I only have one semester of college left and this semester prepared me to be able to handle the real world because I was on my own. I had such a positive experience being in Montreal and I miss it dearly.
So good luck to future students coming up to Montreal, you will not regret it!
Patrick '15, Intern at Vandal GamesManagement of Creative MediaGame Management SpecializationMontreal — Fall 2013
Studying abroad is such a great experience. I wish I could study abroad again. I experienced what Montreal was like and I could always find a new part to explore. I never ran out of things to do because the city was huge.
Academically, I definitely liked my Small Group Communications class because I learned how to effectively communicate within a group, and how to make everyone within the group feel efficient and comfortable, which is really important for my major. The course paralleled my internship at Vandal Games, and I was able to apply what I was learning in the classroom at work.
During my internship, I helped with a variety of tasks around Big Story, Little Heroes, which is a multiplayer online battle arena game for Facebook with a capture the flag objective. I basically kept track of the team's deliverables throughout the week. For instance, if we wanted to get a certain skin for a character in the game, I'd have to keep track of when the team started working on it, their progress throughout the week and keep my boss up-to-date. But I switched on a bunch of different projects, including compiling research about successful and failed Kickstarters when the company was starting a campaign.
I had learned through one of my other courses to always try to find a mentor wherever I work. For my internship, that was pretty obvious: I looked up to my boss. I observed how he led the team and always put a positive spin on a negative situation. He made things seem like they weren't a big deal so the staff didn't have that pressure. He gave me pointers and important advice, too. He told me to not be afraid to do something or try something because there's a potential for failure. He also helped me learn that you can't do something well until you've done something really badly a couple of times, which really resonated with me.
After my experience, I'd encourage anyone to try their hardest to go abroad. I'm even working on moving up to Montreal for the summer and getting another internship.
Ryan '14, Intern- Origin Design and CommunicationsMarketingMontreal -Spring Semester '13
My semester abroad in Montreal provided me an amazing opportunity to intern with Origin Design and Communications. They are a strategic and creative group of mountain resort, action sports and tourism marketing experts located in Canada. Their headquarters are in Whistler, British Columbia, with a second office in Montreal.
My learning objectives for this internship were to gain valuable business experiences, acquire strong insights into Origin Design and Communications and the industry as a whole, and make career-building contacts to further my occupational search in the progress. I can honestly say that this experience was invaluable and more than exceeded my hopes and expectations.
The duties I performed included everything from marketing research and recommendations on proposals to blog posts. I researched a number of clients including the key retailer accounts, The North Face and Salomon Outerwear brand stores, and independent retailers. I was also required to research competitive clients and prepare detailed competitive analysis documents in Keynote, as well as review and upload content for websites via a content management system.
Half of my internship was spent composing the competitive analysis documents and researching potential advertising space for the key clients. The other half of the time, I researched exemplary showrooms, client's Facebook trends, valuable resources for Origin's records, mobile video trends and special events.
I now understand the pieces of a marketing plan and I helped developed tactical ideas to meet the objectives. For instance, I was not only able to provide strategic thought into The North Face retail marketing research plan, Arc'terxy event proposal ideas and research, and Salomon marketing research for store locations across North America, but I looked for ideas, researched pricing and suggested the best tactics. My initial ideas were the foundation for the Arc'teryx proposal to the client. For Salomon Outerwear, my job was to research potential space for out-of-home advertising. It was exciting to learn that all of the work I did, word for word, was in Origin's final proposal.
I also had the opportunity to sit in on meetings with Origin's biggest clients, Jay Peak Resort and The North Face Brand. I can honestly say that observing these meetings in action was the most educational experience I have had pertaining to my major. Being part of this creative process was an incredible opportunity to truly experiencing the industry and the people that make it happen.
Kayleigh '12Professional WritingMontreal — Fall Semester 2010
I am now and forever in love with Montreal and the study abroad lifestyle. Taking a semester at Champlain du Montreal was one of the best decisions I've ever made. Besides the convenience of the country only being two hours away from Burlington, it's a port for culture, language, and diversity; it contains the most polite city-people I've ever met; it is bursting with opportunities just waiting to be seized; and it was the catalyst for me meeting some of my best friends. I joined an improv troupe; saw plays, concerts, and comedy shows; witnessed my first hockey games; ate cultural food I'd never tried; spoke a few words of French; and made friends from all over the world.
In addition to exploring the city, my study abroad experience gave me a worldlier prospective through classes unique to Canada. The topics that came up in my classes were so different than anything I've ever studied before. Nowhere else could I take a class in Canadian Culture or Canadian-American relations. The best part though was that at least once a week we left the classroom to explore Montreal's history, museums, culture, people, food, and all that the city has to offer.
After just a day or two into my study abroad experience I never wanted to leave Montreal. Upon returning to Champlain's Burlington campus I immediately planned my next trip back to Montreal and fantasized about moving there post-graduation. For my self and my career I'm glad I studied in Montreal.
John '13,Intern — ÉcorceMarketingMontreal — Fall Semester '11
My internship was amazing and I felt that it was a perfect fit. I loved the atmosphere, my coworkers, and the relevant experience I received. Rather than making coffee runs and copying documents, I truly was a member of the Écorce team and directly contributed to campaigns for Écorce clients.
On my second day of work, the founder of Écorce introduced me to the rest of the employees as "Marketing intern...and Vice President of English." I was the only person at the agency whose primary language was English. My unique status as a native Anglophone provided me with the opportunity to work on a variety of client projects across various media: editing a booklet for an indie film festival, writing copy for a newly rebranded bilingual website, and even creating a presentation for a multinational company that included a step-by-step guide to leveraging web and social media for B2B services.
While the days at Écorce were busy, we still found time to have fun. I "modeled" a retro one-piece ski suit at a photo shoot for the annual electronic music festival Igloofest and attended a swanky launch party for the aforementioned film festival. When the team needed to blow off steam at the end of a long day, we would hold fiercely competitive matches at the agency's bébéfoot (foosball) table.
By the end of my time in Montreal I had worked on some great projects for big-name companies and events, made new friends and professional connections, and even picked up un petit peu de français from the Québécois employees and French interns. My experience in "la belle province" was so great that I have even considered moving to la plus belle ville au Canada after graduation.
Ross '14, Intern- HololabsGame DesignMontreal- Spring Semester 2013
My experience at Hololabs was exciting and amazing! From the first day to the last, I was contributing to the overall concepts and design of the project Papercade. I began developing during the conceptual phase and was able to see it all the way through into pre-production. We developed several playtest demos and mechanics/systems that allowed us to test user experiences and document the feedback to further improve upon Papercade's design. This process gave me a glimpse into the real-world production cycle of a small indie-game studio.
Furthermore, I learned a lot of tools through first-hand learning and experimentation. I was tasked with developing multiple game systems using the tools they provided and this helped me not only learn some important features of Unity3D and new tools, but also how to learn, adapt to and implement unknown technology quickly.
Working at Hololabs gave me a taste of what the game industry is all about, and I am craving more! It was exciting and fast-paced while doing things that I truly enjoyed. I looked forward to going in everyday to tackle whatever problem the guys threw at me or develop whatever new gameplay system they desired.
I believe that the internship helped me focus my skills as a game designer while obtaining real-world experiences. Not only that, but now I have a gaming internship on my resume with actual experience and connections within the industry! I believe that this internship is just the beginning of a fun and exciting career in the game industry and that it will truly open doors for me.
Nathan '12, Interned at Concordia's TAG Lab Game DesignMontreal - Spring & Summer 2011
Of all my experiences at Champlain College, the best of them were in Montreal. I gained so much both personally and professionally that it's hard to remember what life was like before I went to Montreal.
I began the semester knowing only a few people but ended it with many good friends and a lot of great memories. We had a blast hanging out and exploring the city, which by itself has an amazing amount of things to do. Fortunately for us, the staff at Champlain Montreal did an amazing job of planning activities covering everything from laser tag to snow shoeing. We even got to visit Ottawa and Quebec City, both of which were unforgettable.During the year even the professors took advantage of the city's vibrance and history with many field trips to museums, historical sites and cultural centers.
I learned far more than I expected to, and gained a lot of insight from professionals doing the very things I'm working so hard at learning toward now. My experiences there have been a springboard for greater things, as the connections I made during the year landed me back in Montreal over the summer making games and taking advice from professionals who really know their stuff. When it comes down to it, my experiences in Montreal were only positive, and I would go back in a second.
Steven '11, Interned at EidosGame ProgrammingMontreal - Fall Semester 2010
My experience in Montreal was one I constantly makes it into discussions of mine with other people. It doesn't really matter what the topic is, I am very frequently reminded of something I experienced or learned during my time in Montreal. I spent a semester at Champlain Montreal and that out of that I was able to land an internship at one of the companies there that summer.
Aside from being able to think of things in different ways I was also able to enjoy a lot of what Montreal had to offer. I went to places that I would have never thought I would have gone to. I was definitely out of my comfort zone but I really didn't care. In many cases it is what made it so memorable. I remember going out for Nuit Blanche and to Quebec City for Carnival. While at Carnival on our way out, two of my friends and I decided to wait in the huge line to go down this very long ice slide. It was freezing and I couldn't feel my feet or fingers. We just had the chance to talk and enjoy the moment. We are thinking that wow this slide must be awesome and we are expecting this amazing trip down the hill. Then I got on the sled and started down, it turned out to be nothing really special and we all said as we were walking back that the ride was kind of a flop. But during the wait we had taken pictures and I can now look back on them all and remember what it was like there.
The academics there were very challenging for me. I was in the Canadian and American relations class. It was probably one of the most interesting history classes I have ever had. We learned about the history between the two countries in new ways. I remember the day we went over the war of 1812, something I had covered before in other classes. We were at war with England and as part of the process we attacked their colonies in the North America. From a Canadian view, this meant that during the war of 1812 we invaded Canada. It was something so simple and obvious if you think about it, but I had never really had the occasion to think about it. It is one of the things that will stick with me from that class.
Between my three major related classes there I had one awesome experience. I was in Production II so I got to make a game that I will never forget. It was something I am very proud of when I look back on it. I was spending hours and hours on it every week and in the end I had something I was happy to show off and talk about. My graphics class pushed me to my limits learning all kinds of math and information on how graphics work. I was able to use this knowledge in my internships. I looked at large chunks of code and knew what was going on with them. The class was very difficult but in the end it really gave me some of the basics of how graphics work and engraved them into my mind.
My Montreal experience made me a stronger student and more well rounded individual in general. I think that Champlain Montreal is one of the best choices I have ever made. I would encourage everyone to take advantage of the Champlain Abroad program.
Lindsey '14, Intern -EyeSteelFilmGraphic Design & Digital MediaMontreal- Spring Semester 2013
EyeSteelFilm is a documentary film and interactive media company using cinema as a catalyst for social and political change, and their films are meant to empower those who are ignored by mainstream media. My role at the company was the graphic design intern, where I created various print projects, which was fitting as I aspire to be a print designer. On my first day, I was asked to create a poster for the film Forest of the Dancing Spirits. Naturally, I was extremely nervous, as I had never done a project of that nature before. At the end of the project, in addition to my pride that I had completed the project on time and efficiently, I was definitely excited to hear that all of the posters had been ripped down by spectators at the festival because they were in such high demand!
After that first project, I worked on informational posters for the same film, a DVD cover for the film China Heavyweight, a newspaper advertisement for La Tribune for the film Barbara, a newspaper advertisement for Voir for the film Leviathan, a DVD cover for the film Fortunate Son, a poster for the film Atanasoff, and a poster for the film Volcano. For each project, I would look through reference folders, collect logos, fonts, laurels, and other materials, and then work on the design.
From my experience at EyeSteelFilm, I learned a lot of new things, was challenged and kept very busy, was allowed to express my creativity, improved my French skills and my technical skills in the Adobe Creative Suite programs, became more assertive and more efficient than ever in shorter amounts of time, learned things I couldn't in the classroom, and improved my skills on formally pitching ideas. I also learned how much I like working in film. I enhanced my skills in creating more complex visual identities through powerful visual entities by watching films before designing for them.
I greatly enjoyed the welcoming atmosphere, cohesive employees, and creative workspace at EyeSteelFilm. My time at my internship was beneficial to both parties. The connections and progress I've made at EyeSteelFilm have been invaluable to me, and I've learned so much about myself both as a designer and a person through this internship.
Jordan '15 Computer Networking & Information Security MajorMontreal — Fall Semester 2013
Most people in my major (Computer Networking & Information Security) don't choose Montréal as their study abroad destination, but I was different. I didn't care if I was able to take technical classes or not — I was going for the "abroad" part of the study abroad experience. Abroad, not across an ocean, but to a new city filled with new experiences.
While I was in Montréal, I spent my time adventuring. I tried new things, did stuff out of my comfort zone and took advantage of all the activities and opportunities Champlain Abroad Montreal gave me. Along with my trusty OPUS card (student métro pass) and an eagerness for adventure, I explored the city of Montréal. One of my favorite spots was Marché Jean-Talon, the largest open air market in North America. I went at least once a week — some weeks I went more! Jean-Talon is located in Montréal's "Little Italy" district, which isn't a very touristy spot, so going to the market was my chance to experience the real culture, and, more specifically, food culture in Montréal. Living in Montréal is very different than visiting for the weekend - you have more time to experience the city itself.
In Montréal I was able to relax and enjoy four months of living in a new place, surrounded by new people and experiencing a new culture. Don't dismiss the idea of studying abroad in Montréal just because it's close to Vermont—you never know what types of experiences you will have. For me, the experience was amazing, and I wouldn't change it for anything.