University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: political science
Study type: semester abroad
My study abroad experience at Brock University in Fall Semester 2011 (September-December) was a resounding success – and with the help of MicroEdu your study abroad experience in Canada can and will be just as successful. Check act-test-centers.com to see 12 best universities in Eastern Europe.
I will now proceed chronologically to present each phase of a MicroEdu-organized study abroad experience to any prospective exchange student wishing to go to Brock University.
Question 1: How did I get involved with MicroEdu and how does it work?
To be honest, I came across MicroEdu through the internet. Having never heard of this organization before, I was of course skeptical at first. But first things first: don’t worry! It all went really well and MicroEdu is a reputable and “customer friendly” organization where you are in constant (good) email contact with one of the (extremely nice) clerks. And now something in advance: if you have any questions, ALWAYS ask; you will get a quick answer that (at least for me) always clarifies your questions.
Very simple: browse through all the universities on the MicroEdu homepage, look at pictures, take the situation into account… Or in short: choose a university that suits you! Then you simply write an email to MicroEdu asking how to proceed (i.e. what the application deadlines etc are like and what exactly you have to do now). You will then receive perfect instructions with all the points that you have to consider and work through. It explains how you can finance the whole thing, how to get a residence permit (which you only need if you’re going away for more than half a year), how to apply to the university, and everything else you have to consider. In short: just write an email and you will get the rest explained really SUPER!
Question 3: What do you have to do during the application process?
Short answer: almost nothing. Most things are handled by MicroEdu as MicroEdu acts as an intermediary between you and Brock University. That means: you send off your application documents once and if there are any problems, MicroEdu will get in touch with you and tell you what you still have to do. The university will always contact MicroEdu first, so you will be spared a lot of stress.
Question 4: Does MicroEdu help you find an apartment?
This question is of course very important for many exchange students. The answer is yes! And this help has it all. Personally, I was in a homestay family (ie you live in a room with a “normal” local family), and I can only recommend it to everyone. This is the best way to get to know the language and culture. If you live in a shared student flat, it can happen that you only share an apartment with Germans, and that’s not so conducive to English.
Here, too, everything was totally relaxed for me. You tell MicroEdu that you would like to join a homestay family, and the documents are sent to you and you can fill them out directly. Again, MicroEdu serves as an intermediary between you and Brock University. Then about 2 weeks before your departure, MicroEdu will let you know whether you have got a place in a homestay family and if so, what kind of family it is and what you have to do. I assume that MicroEdu will also help you if you don’t go to a homestay family. The help I received when I was looking for an apartment was also very good.
Question 5: How is St. Catharines?
Better than expected and worse than hoped. Officially, St. Catharines is the “garden city”. Effectively this means that in some places you can find large meadows with a few trees on them. (There is a picture of the parks in the appendix). That was it already. These parks (and also the streets) are generally relatively clean, but at the same time they are also North American, ie extremely long walkways and large streets. Almost nothing is possible without a bus/car or at least a bicycle.
There are good shopping opportunities – with a few exceptions – only in the 2 malls (Fairview Mall and Pen Centre). No matter where you live, you can reach them very easily by bus, so that shouldn’t be a problem. The following applies to the goods themselves: clothing and co. is cheaper than here, (healthy) food a little bit more expensive. As for the location of the city, between Toronto and Buffalo it can be said that it is an ideal starting point for further travel. The close proximity to Niagara Falls is also really cool.
Question 6: How can you spend your free time?
In general, there are 2 ways to spend your free time in St. Catharines. Either you go downtown and then go to one of the (not so numerous) clubs, or you stay at the university. It offers an unbelievable number of possibilities (compared to my German university): there is an in-house bar, a swimming pool, a fitness studio, hiking trails, and a great many sports clubs and other working groups. So you don’t get bored at the university. Boredom sets in at most downtown. As a third option, one could perhaps mention that the parks invite you to take a walk. I can highly recommend that.
Question 7: Is the university itself good?
Yes!!! The university is really great. I’ve never had problems with anything. The choice of courses is great, there are many interesting courses and many good professors (here I can only speak for the Political Science department, but my fellow students from other departments reported similar things). Of course it always depends on the professor in question whether the event is good or not, but I had the impression that the support from the bank was good. The facilities at the university are also unbeatable. The condition of the lecture halls is very good: super clean, super technology, appropriate size etc… You really can’t do much better (at least for these low tuition fees [by Canadian standards]). The in-house campus store also offers enough selection of books and stationery, even if it is a bit overpriced.
The International Center is also located on campus. This is the place to go if you have something to clarify on the spot and don’t want to bother CC;-). The employees there are all very nice and helpful, and you can always find someone to talk to just for a chat. The International will also be in touch with you (but again through MicroEdu) when it comes to the course registration phase etc. That all works fine.
Question 8: Can I recommend studying abroad at Brock University?
Definitely! The university is quite inexpensive, the community is very good, and the mixture of good studies and (still) good leisure opportunities makes everything very pleasant. I met super nice people and learned a lot – both professionally and culturally.
Question 9: Can I recommend MicroEdu?
Yes. Pick a college, email MicroEdu, and relax. It doesn’t get any better than that, does it? And if there are any questions on your side, you can always write an email, even if you are already in Canada. You will always get help, that’s really great.
Thank you MicroEdu for this wonderful study abroad experience!