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Thread: An American in Canada

  1. #1
    Member
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    An American in Canada

    Hi all. I posted a thread a bit ago looking for information about McGill. I love Montreal and would really dig living there for a couple of years while getting a Masters in planning. I've also been looking at UBC as a possibility.

    I think a big part of me would just like to live outside the US for a bit. However, I don't want to hinder my career at all in the process (say, by employers and planners who aren't familiar with Canadian schools). Any Americans here who have received a Canadian education? What were your experiences with tuition, accreditation, and employment? If you returned to the US, did you find that a degree from a Canadian school helped or hindered your career and rep?

    Oh and I don't mean to limit myself to working in the US. I could see myself working Canada as well. But I'd just like to keep my options open (plus, working in Montreal without being able to speak French could be slightly problematic).

    Thanks all.
    Last edited by colonelkurtz; 10 Nov 2009 at 11:05 AM.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hmm.....

    I opened this thread thinking it would be a story about an American student in Canada that get's bitten by a strange dog....then goes through a wild transformation into a werewolf and eats his best friend.....alas....just a simple question about Canada......

    I spent a semester at the U. of Calgary....does that count? I wouldn't worry about any of it, do what you want and go forth and be confident in the future

    It could always be worse....you could end up in TEXAS

    The One ducks and runs from his texas friends
    Skilled Adoxographer

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Montannie's avatar
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    UBC experience

    Hi -

    I did my first two years in Vancouver at UBC (not in planning) but then finished my degree in the states (because i realized i wanted a planning degree and they didn't offer one at the BA level). So I'm not sure whether or not the whole, learning in Canada thing would be a negative consideration if you were applying for government jobs (a boring regulation is a boring regulation in my mind and it usually doesn't take that long to figure out your way around a new one once you've done it before).

    BUT (to offer something helpful), I would say that the only response I've gotten from people when they found out I studied in Canada, was "ooooh, Vancouver! I've heard that's a nice place! How fun!" I think that somehow the exotic factor outmeasures the learning difference - even though it is only Canada! heh heh heh.

    Seriously though, a PAB-accredited program is a PAB-accredited program. I would say that if McGill's accredited than it shouldn't be so difficult a transition. Unless they focus on a lot of Canadian policy.

  4. #4
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    Well, the problem is that McGill is not accredited in the States. Which I find to be odd, especially considering that the University of Montreal is. Admittedly I'm not familiar with the accreditation process in general, but I wonder if it will be an issue. I have a feeling that it won't, but not a lot of people in the States have heard of McGill. Though I did have a professor at Dalhousie assure me that Canadian schools are well regarded in the States overall, and this I believe.

    But it's a little discouraging that when I post threads asking about McGill, I only get one or two responses. In fact, it's difficult to get any information about McGill in general. Many of the American planners I've spoken too aren't familiar, none of the Canadian schools replied to Planetizen's guide, for example, and there's even a bit of an information shortage here on Cyburbia. There is a bit more information in the ACSP guide, but it's not all that much more (and the guide overall isn't as comprehensive as Planetizen's).

    In any case, I think that if it comes down to a decision between, say UIC and McGill, it will definitely be a toss up. Chicago and Montreal are both fantastic cities, and as I'm currently a Chicago resident, tuition at UIC would be the same as McGill. So we'll see what happens. Thanks to those who have replied.

  5. #5
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    BUMP PLEASE!!!

  6. #6
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    I'm applying to McGill, and it is my preferred program. I'm from the U.S. and have done research on programs throughout north america, europe and australia. I believe staying in north america, possibly throw in the u.k., it shouldn't matter much. You will still have to take post education exams depending what you want to do. two awesome resources are the ACSP 2012 guide book, and AICP exam pass rates - both easily found in google, and both highly relevant to your question.

    hope this helps

  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    But McGill is accredited in Canada, and CIP and AICP have membership reciprocity.. it'll cost a little more money and a small amount of time the first time around, but getting a McGill degree, getting registered as a planner in Canada and then using reciprocity to get certified in the US should work.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by colonelkurtz View post
    Well, the problem is that McGill is not accredited in the States. Which I find to be odd, especially considering that the University of Montreal is. Admittedly I'm not familiar with the accreditation process in general, but I wonder if it will be an issue.
    Quote Originally posted by Cismontane
    But McGill is accredited in Canada, and CIP and AICP have membership reciprocity.. it'll cost a little more money and a small amount of time the first time around, but getting a McGill degree, getting registered as a planner in Canada and then using reciprocity to get certified in the US should work.
    Yeah, I made that mistake back in the day. There are two Canadian schools accredited by PAB, but the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) is the one that handles planning accreditation in Canada. Planning accreditation by PAB reduces the amount of professional planning experience required before being eligible to sit the AICP exam by one year. That's about the only benefit. While it's good to have a consistent curriculum being taught so everyone has the same foundation, most of what we do is learnt while on the job because planning practices are regional and conform to state and local law. The whole accreditation vs. non-accreditation debate is not as important as the quality of the school overall IMHO (with the understanding the high quality schools will aim to obtain and maintain accreditation for all their programs).
    The content contrarian

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Vancity's avatar
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    Being from Vancouver I can just let you know that UBC's masters program is highly competitive. I am aiming for that right now, currently half way through my BA at a different university. I believe they admit 30 people per year. They receive around 200 applications per year for those spots. It could be worse, but it could be better as well. I don't know anything about McGill's program, but I imagine it would have similar stats. There are plenty of anglophone areas in Montreal but I think getting government work without French over there would pose a challenge. No French requirements on the West Coast though . Oh and the cost of living in Montreal is A LOT cheaper than the cost of living in Vancouver. I believe we are the most expensive place to live in the country.

    UBC has this on their website with regards to the Planning Program:
    "Between 2004 and 2011, the exam pass rate for SCARP master’s graduates who attempted the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) exam was 100%.
    According to our most recent alumni survey (2012), 86% of SCARP master’s graduates who sought employment were working in a professional planning or planning-related job within 1 year of graduation."

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