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Switch to McGill or uOttawa

A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
I am in yet another dilemma.

I am currently a UofT student in linguistics in my 2nd year. I love linguistics so much, and I'm really good when it comes to learning languages. My goal was to become a linguist and polyglot. But I am starting to rethink my career path.

Like most people, I am worried about money. So much that I decided to postpone my 2nd year to stay in my home city (Ottawa) to work and save up to return. Toronto is too expensive for me, and I'm not exactly fond of it. The only reason I would return would be for university.

Recently, I've been reevaluating my education and reapplied to McGill's linguistics program. It's a great school, and Montreal is a world-class city. Being bilingual, I love it more than Ottawa. I would love to move there. Not to mention it's cheaper to live there than Toronto (though still more expensive than Ottawa).

I've all but ruled out returning to Toronto.

But now I'm even more confused. I want to have a good job, but linguistics doesn't guarantee me a well-paying job. I'd have to work at a university for a long time or work in speech-language pathology.

Lately, I've craved adventure and travel. I crave it so much that I would rather travel than go to school, which is surprising because I love school more than anything in the world. I've only ever travelled to some places in the U.S. (to visit relatives) and once in Spain 7 years ago. I see so many people travel and discuss other experiences, and yet many people travelling don't take interest in the culture, people or architecture. I won't get into it, but I am green with envy.

My friend is in International Relations at uOttawa, and I'm looking into it and it looks interesting. I haven't taken the classes or worked a job involving it, but it does look like an interesting and useful program. It offers a co-op to students, and I could get a job with the government. On top of having an understanding of linguistics, I speak English and French, and am pretty decent in Italian and Japanese. I want to learn other languages, all of which are skills beneficial for IR.

McGill has a joint honours program, and International Development studies. I could do joint honours in IDS and linguistics, but it would be incredibly intense to study them together. I couldn't get a job during school because I would need to focus on studying. Loans are only option Z.

Here is where I am torn. I don't know what I should do.

If I stay in Ottawa, I could go to school and work. My current job pays $20 an hour, and I could keep it if I stayed here. I'd be able to pay for my undergraduate degree with the money I earn during my gap year, with extra money to spend. I wouldn't even need a job! But keeping it means I have savings and can travel in the summer if I so wished. I'd be living with my parents, and I could get an apartment, which would be a lot cheaper. Financial, Ottawa is a better decision. But it is not my first choice. It's something I would be interested in and would provide me with the opportunity to get a better job (with the government) and even make a difference in the world.

If I went to McGill, I'd be going to a great school and living in a great city. I could do linguistics, no matter what. But I could do joint honours in 2 programs. I'd have to get another job, one that pays me minimum wage, and I may not be able to work during school. I probably won't be able to pay for school unless my mother helps me. She's taken more hours at the hospital in Emergency (she's a nurse in Geriatrics Assessment Unit). I wouldn't have any savings, would be paying rent, and need to meet new people in the city. It would be great for my education and becoming independent, but it would cost too much money.

I do not like the city of Toronto, and I would be in the same position as Montreal, but I'd be paying a lot more.

What should I do? Switch to another program I'm not 100% sure about but might get my good money and allow me to save and travel, or go to another city and university in my program, go to a phenomenal school in an amazing city but have no savings or be able to do much other than work and study?

Thank you, and sorry for this wall of text!

Edit: The savings I could put towards my graduate studies. I'd have money saved to move to another city or country(I've been told it's frowned upon if you get 2 degrees from the same institution). I'd love to study in England, France or Italy. If I went into IR, I would get a Master's degree, but wouldn't need to get a PhD. With linguistics, I pretty much need a PhD to get a good job.

I am not very good at money and didn't take the proper grade 12 math courses that would allow me to do other good programs. I'm not artistic also, so without math and art I can't to architecture, despite the fact that I would love to do it just as much as linguistics!
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4 replies
A photo of facethemusic facethemusic
I'm sorry I don't have much to say in regards to your question. I just wanted to know: what job do you have that pays $20.00 an hour? If you don't want to be specific, could you just mention the field you work in? That's a really good wage for someone still in university.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous

@facethemusic wrote
I'm sorry I don't have much to say in regards to your question. I just wanted to know: what job do you have that pays $20.00 an hour? If you don't want to be specific, could you just mention the field you work in? That's a really good wage for someone still in university.

I work in a hospital's food service/ dietetics. I "prepare" food for patients.
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A photo of Anonymous Anonymous
No advice?
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A photo of theboydetective theboydetective
You could take out a loan (unless that's totally out of the question), finish your degree at McGill, then teach English abroad to pay off the debt. Teaching English abroad, you'd get to put your linguistics skills to use, potentially learn a new language depending on where you're teaching, and you'd be scratching your traveling itch. The JET program, for example, pays $42k a year (I read); if you live off half of that, the other half could probably cover the debt.
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