University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
“In order to get to know your own country better, you have to have experienced other countries and cultures.” Check act-test-centers.com to see the best geography courses in the world.
These were the words of the director of Brock University in his welcoming address to all international students. I can only agree with him after my 5-month semester abroad in St. Catharines.
After I arrived in August 2012 and was a bit naïve to the Canada, as you know it from countless TV reports, with clothes that were much too warm, I was very surprised when I lay on the beach in my swimming trunks on the huge Lake Ontario. Canada has more to offer than I initially thought. St. Catharines is not the prettiest town in Canada, but I have no regrets living there. For me as a study abroad student the most important thing was to see as much of the country and people as possible, so St Catharines was perfect for my venture as its central location was perfect for weekend trips.
The best decision for me was to distance myself from the many other German students abroad and to make my circle of friends more international, because I wanted to improve my English skills right from the start. I was welcomed with open arms by my Canadian roommates and also by numerous international students such as from Saudi Arabia, India or Russia and experienced a level of hospitality that I had never experienced in Germany before. I and all those with whom I had spoken about this topic noticed this very often. People were always open and always willing to help. An important experience that I absolutely wanted to bring with me to Germany.
Thanks to St. Catharines’ central location, we often organized road trips and, after renting cars for relatively little money, drove to the neighboring Algonquin Park (a beautiful national park in the heart of Ontario) to camp (TIP: end of September, Indian Summer time ) or to Montréal and Quebec City. These two cities, located in the French part of Canada, are very European in terms of their architecture and have a beautiful old town. A trip later went to New York City, since by North American standards it is only a few hours’ drive away. If you’re ever in the area (St. Catharines is adjacent to upstate New York) this is an experience not to be missed. Providers such as ISX offer inexpensive and very exciting tours in the ”
Apart from the many exciting trips that can be made from St. Catharines, studying at Brock University also has its advantages. The modern university offers a huge campus with all sports and leisure activities that you can imagine. The courses I took (finance, economics, management) were also given by very good lecturers, who made the material very understandable and exciting. The examination system is different than at my German university. In contrast to the 100% weighted final exam in Germany, there are quizzes at Brock University that add up to 10-20% of the final grade several times per course, as well as assignments and mid-term tests that also count towards the overall grade. However, this did not have a negative impact on leisure time, on the contrary:
Close to St. Catharines is Canada’s largest city, Toronto. Buses go there several times a day for about $27 return. It takes about an hour and 20 minutes and gets off right in downtown Toronto at the CN Tower (second tallest tower in the world). It is a very lively city and always worth a visit. There was also an inexpensive trip to the metropolis from the university, of course with a guided tour of the city. Also, close by from Brock University, Niagara Falls is a must-see. Here you can take the Maid of the Mist boats very close to the falls in the summer. You get wet accordingly.
The Director concluded his welcome speech with the following words: “By a Staying abroad you learn to appreciate many more things about your home country and at the same time give yourself the opportunity to enrich and keep alive your own culture through new experiences.”
This sentence should definitely come true. In retrospect, I can only agree with it if I say that I can only bring positive things from my semester abroad to Germany. I would always recommend it.