Day One

Day One

In the first day of the program, there are a number of typical activities that have to happen to get the program going. These activities will be scheduled for each class or group by the coordinator. Please pay close attention to the scheduling and instructions to make sure the logistics go smoothly and we can minimize waiting times for students.

Although getting the administrative tasks done is the most important, try to meet and interact with all the students. Your impressions about their level of proficiency and personalities is important information to help the teachers finalize the class monitor groups on the second day.

Student Cards

Thor McGill ID cardAt Client Services on the 11th floor, on the righthand side, there is camera set up for making student cards. When your turn comes, get your group to line up down the hall so as not to block or interfere with the other operations at Client Services. When they are in line, circulate and chat, but please keep the noise level down – there are people working nearby. One monitor should stay at the front to help facilitate with the names on the list and the signatures and instructions for the photo.

Blue Cross CardIf they the students have their Blue Cross card with them, it has their name and student ID number on it, so they can hand it to the person taking the photos to speed things up.

When they are done, they can wait in an empty classroomnearby (1151 or 1161)or down the hall so as not to block traffic at Client Services.

Lab Orientation

Most immersion programs include non-credit transcript courses, so the students have a McGill ID, email address and can use McGill Wifi. To access these IT services, they need to initialize their Minerva account. This process is complex, so we reserve computer labs on the 12th floor to help the students through it.

Students doing lab orientationTo get lab access, a pass card can be borrowed from the office in 1181 (however, they are usually opened by staff on the day when the programs have to use them). At the lab orientation, students must go through the entire Minerva PIN process. There is a handout that explains all the steps, but some will need help, especially with the Minerva PIN (6 characters, including a letter and a number) and McGill Username password (8 characters, including a letter and a number). Sometimes, the temporary Minerva PIN doesn’t work, and that is likely caused by an incorrectly entered birthdate in the registration process. See the program coordinator or administrative coordinator to get the PIN reset.

Also, verify if there are incorrectly spelled names in the email address.

Make sure they know how to get into MyCourses through their Athena portal and their McGill email (via Office 365), and get everyone connected to McGill wifi ( on their mobile devices. If a student is having problems with a particular device, the ICS walk in service desk on the 2nd floor (285) is very fast and efficient, but you should accompany the student. It is important to get all this sorted out the first day, the teacher may be assigning homework assuming the students can access MyCourses.

Underground City Tour

Exploring of the underground city is important in the early days for a couple of reasons. First, we want the students to be familiar with where they can buy certain things nearby school, and we want to help them to be comfortable navigating between the school and the metro. Click here for simple map of the underground city. There is another map here. On that first walking/shopping tour, please make sure they know where these stores are:

  • The Jean Coutu drug store – give them a chance to buy something they may need because they just arrived a couple of days earlier, and may not feel comfortable asking their host family for something yet. It is good idea to point out the organization of the store (i.e. where things are). Remember, the brands are often very different and the products may look very different). There is also a Jean Coutu on the corner of Parc and Sherbrooke W.
  • Souvenir Shops – there are lots of these in different shopping centres, but point out they have a few weeks to buy things, and there are lots of places in the city. They will be thinking about small gifts for friends and family back home.
  • The Dollarama Store – they will find it interesting, and when they have their School Visit project, they will need to know where it is
  • The Omer de Serres store – this may also be needed for a project
  • La Baie ( in winter show them where they can buy long underwear, gloves and hats, and other winter gear, for both men and women, if they want to)
  • Simons or Sports Experts – or similar, for winter gear, like La Baie
  • The Banque Scotia cinemas
  • Any other shops you or they think are interesting or pertinent

In Winter programs, please show the connecting downtown shopping centres and how they relate to Peel and McGill stations, and walk down to Place Ville Marie or even further, depending on how your group is doing. This is to help the students prepare for the Amazing Underground Race activity that will take place in Week 4. They have will have a scavenger hunt to do in the underground city around Place-des-Arts, McGill and Peel stations, going as far as Central Station. When you are leading your group around, please point out landmarks and navigation markers so they will be able to find their way around independently later.

Campus Tour

On the first or second day, you will take your group on a tour of the McGill campus.

If you aren’t familiar with McGill campus, don’t worry. We will be providing you with a map and a PDF self-tour guide. Additionally, we will be briefly discussing what and where to visit with the students. Click here for an online interactive copy of the map.

The essential highlights:

  • The Roddick Gates
  • The James McGill Statue
  • the Hochelaga Stone – commemorating the St. Lawrence Iroquoian village visited by Jacques Cartier in 1535
  • the McLennan-Redpath Library (which they can use, and they can borrow books)
  • Redpath Museum – go in to the main lobby and encourage them to come back another time
  • Playing field or outdoor hockey rink
  • Leacock 132 (largest classroom)
  • Arts Building lobby
  • James McGill tomb
  • Birks Building, including the chapel
  • Other “Harry Potter” buildings depending on time and weather
  • Favourite spots of yours

students enjoying the sun in front of the Redpath Museum on McGill Campus

Red Bags

Red McGill bagMost groups receive a red McGill bag on their first day. These normally contain:

  • a McGill SCS folder
  • a small metro/underground city map
  • a large STM map of Montreal
  • a Montreal tourist guide
  • a souvenir McGill pen
  • a Hilroy “Canada" notebook
  • a Parliament of Canada book (if applicable)
  • a red 1" McGill binder with coursepack (if applicable)

The red bags can be useful to identifying program participants in a crowd and when going on day trips like to Quebec City or Ottawa.

Getting To Know The Students

On the first afternoon, doing student cards, lab orientation and other activities, you have an opportunity to talk to some students. Make note of who is more fluent as a speaker, who speaks up and answers, who is shy and quiet, etc.

Later that afternoon, send an email with your observations to the morning teacher. She or he will be finalizing the monitor groups the following morning to make them by proficiency level or personality.

On the second afternoon, your group will be official yours.