If you are out with your group, your prime responsibility is their safety. When someone travels to a foreign country, their sense of danger and safety is sometimes distorted by the unfamiliar surroundings – they don’t have the “street smarts” that we take for granted, and it can take time to develop. Part of it is language. In Montreal, many warning signs are either in French or pictographic, and rarely are they universal – the signs in Japan or China and elsewhere are very different.
Remember, the students in your group will look to you to take the lead in an emergency. They are in a foreign country with limited capacity to communicate. They may not know that the emergency phone number in Canada is 911 (it is 119 for Fire and Ambulance, 110 for police in Japan and China).
In non-emergency situations, when a student asks to go to the hospital, it may mean they want to see a doctor in a clinic. Below are a couple of downtown clinics where they can consult a doctor on a drop-in basis. The cost will be $100 to $120 for the visit, of which Blue Cross will reimburse only $80.
There are private clinics open 7 days a week near our school:
Clinique Médicale de la Cité
(near Parc Avenue and Pine) Map
300 Léo Pariseau, #900
Monday-Friday: 8:30 AM to 9:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
Métro Médic Centre Ville
1538 Sherbrooke West (corner of Guy) Map
Monday to Friday: 8am to 8pm
Week-end and holidays: 9am to 5pm
Clinique Médicale Alpha Medic
1253 Guy (corner Ste. Catherine) Map
If you go to an emergency room at an MUHC hospital (the Montreal General, the Jewish General, the Royal Victoria, etc.) the McGill Blue Cross card allows for a cash-free treatment. Keep in mind that visiting an emergency room could require hours of waiting, and that in most cases a clinic is the more appropriate and convenient choice.
When you are out with your group, there are a few things you should have with you in case of emergencies:
1. your cellphone, fully charged and with texting or data available. Bring your charger if you can.
2. your OPUS card for transportation
3. emergency cash – $50 for taxis, to buy something at a drugstore, to buy food when waiting at a clinic – hopefully you won’t need it, but having some cash is essential. Keep receipts, and don’t forget to ask for one in a taxi. Receipts are essential, we’ll reimburse emergency spending.
If you are with your group and there is a situation we need to be informed about, contact someone in the LIC office. We can’t help if we don’t know what is going on.
Jaywalking and Traffic
More can be added, if any. Montrealers routinely cross against the light, but this is rare in Japan. When you are walking with your group, please respect pedestrian crossing lights, the students in your group will take their cue from you about when to cross. Also, keep in mind that it will take some Japanese students some time to get used to traffic on the right.
Japan is a country with extremely low crime rates, and people tend to be scrupulously honest when it comes to items that are lost or left-behind.
Consequently, Japanese students sometimes act what we would say carelessly with their personal property in public – leaving a purse open hanging on the back of a chair in the food court, or a passport in the classroom. We go to great pains to promote Montreal as a safe city, so please don’t make the students fearful, but keep an eye on them and their bags and other personal possessions.
Image courtesy Chisco 2 at Wikimedia Commons