University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: psychology
Study type: semester abroad
Studying in St. Catharines- Studying in a small town can be so nice…
Right from the start of my studies, it was clear to me that I would like to do a semester abroad. Since I was also interested in improving my English skills, Canada was at the top of my list. With the help of MicroEdu.com I researched where in Canada you could study psychology and the positive testimonials from Brock University and the location of St. Catharines (as a good starting point for weekend trips and travel) convinced me immediately. Check act-test-centers.com to see Turkey higher education.
The application worked without any problems thanks to the instructions from MicroEdu.com and just a few days after I had submitted all my documents, I had the acceptance from Brock University in my hands and was looking forward to my semester abroad in Canada. This joy was only somewhat spoiled by a very cumbersome course registration. It quickly turned out that the psychology courses at the university were in great demand and it would be difficult to get a place in the courses I wanted. I was on several waiting lists, but it was already becoming apparent that waiting wouldn’t do much good. Since I took a leave of absence from my home university and didn’t have to collect any credits in Canada, I decided without further ado to simply do without psychology courses and to choose courses from other departments. This turned out to be a good decision. I really liked the non-specialist courses and it was fun to deal with something other than psychology.
I flew to Canada 14 days before the start of university (ie in late August) to look for an apartment there. Like many others, I would strongly advise against renting overpriced and heavily monitored dorm rooms unless you enjoy being admonished by the 18-year-old dorm wardens for playing too “loud” music. I would also advise against renting without an on-site visit. The standard of living in the Canadian student houses is well below the German standard and therefore it is best to decide on the spot whether the room meets your own requirements or not. The average monthly rate for a room is 400 Canadian dollars. This means that the rental price is below that of other Canadian cities such as Halifax, Ottawa or Montreal. So in St. Catharines you can really save money;)
My recommended areas to live in are the streets around the PEN Center (St. Catharines Shopping Mall) such as Jacobson Ave and the streets around Glenridge and Glendale Ave. I would rather advise against going downtown because the way to the university is relatively far and most students only go downtown to party. In addition, there are quite a lot of crazy people on the street in downtown;) Thorold wouldn’t be my first choice either: There are very nice houses here, but the travel times are not without it. Location to a convenient bus stop is badly needed as the city’s bus system is really terrible. Not that the buses only run infrequently (sometimes, once an hour), many of them, for example, no longer run at all on weekends or in the evening. If you don’t have nice roommates with a car,
Even though my grades weren’t that relevant to me because I was on a semester off and also taking courses in other subjects, I enjoyed spending my time at the university. In summer the campus is very green and in winter you can study comfortably in the library and the numerous other community spaces. If you don’t feel like studying, you can also drink coffee and chat with your fellow students in a relaxed atmosphere at the Brock. The fact that 90% of Canadians come to university in sweatpants and slippers alone proves that the campus is an extension of the living room and that you can have a good time here. Okay, some of the jogging pants wearers have certainly actually done sports.
I took three courses at Brock University and I didn’t find it too much or too little. Unlike in Germany, where the work intensity usually only increases during the exam period, in Canada you have more to do during the semester: Book chapters (really) have to be read, essays written, homework done and presentations and group projects prepared. That eats up one or two afternoons, but in my opinion it is very manageable for a German student with average performance, since the quality requirements are, in my opinion, below German standards. Proper learning is primarily for the midterms (intermediate exams in October) and the final exams (in December), but the same applies here: you don’t have to be afraid, passing is definitely within the realm of possibility. But I definitely took a lot of knowledge with me from the numerous discussions in my smaller courses! Still, I wouldn’t say the academic gain was the best. Brock is also (except in the business area) not necessarily the most renowned university in Canada (unofficial slogan: If you can walk and talk, go to Brock). You should be aware of that. If you are primarily interested in the academic side, you might be better off at another university. If you can walk and talk, go to Brock). You should be aware of that. If you are primarily interested in the academic side, you might be better off at another university. If you can walk and talk, go to Brock). You should be aware of that. If you are primarily interested in the academic side, you might be better off at another university.
Celebrations at St. Catharines
When I looked at St. Catharines on Google Street View for the first time after my application, I was shocked: This stinking, boring small town should be the place where you can spend a brilliant semester abroad? I wasn’t sure about that… But the previous speakers’ positive reports weren’t lies. St. Catharines is a place where you can have fun!
Since Brock University has 17,000 students, there are always dorm and flat parties, and downtown there are several good clubs (recommendations: Mansion House, L3, Chili Peppers) and pubs (high recommendations: Gords, Merchant Ale House). On Thursday, all of St. Catharines meets in Kahuna-Ville (club in the mall (PEN-Center)). There are also parties on campus. But be careful here. The “All Ages” parties often mean that there are mainly 17-18 year old teenagers and there are only non-alcoholic drinks. Be prepared for a little culture shock. In Canada people drink and dance differently than in Germany. Whether that’s positive or negative is up to you : )
Traveling from St. Catharines
First of all, there is plenty to do in and around St. Catahrines itself. Be sure to check out Decew Falls (falls about a 15 minute walk from the Brock, a breakneck descent but a swim in the falls is a dream), relax on the beach at Port Dalhousie and drive to Niagara Falls at least once every season.
Also, St. Catharines is an AWESOME base for touring Canada and the US. There is also a Reading Week at Brock University. This one free week in October should actually be used for exam preparation, but is also perfect for a longer trip.
I traveled mostly by bus (Megabus, Coach Canada and Greyhound). If you book in good time, you can drive through Canada for several hours at utopian low prices. The buses are comfortable (comfortable seats, power sockets, WIFI) and quite reliable. Of course, I went by bus several times to Toronto (it takes about 1.5 hours from St. Catharines, so day trips are great), Hamilton, Ottawa, Montreal and Buffalo. Chicago, Washington and New York are also accessible by bus. I’ve personally flown a few times, including to Halifax and Miami (cheap from Buffalo in the winter and very relaxing to go swimming while it’s already snowing in Canada).
In addition to the city trips, I would definitely recommend visiting one of the national parks in Canada. Especially in autumn, when the leaves are changing color, these are great for canoe tours, horseback rides or hiking tours. I went to Algonquin Park (about 4 hours north of Toronto) with friends and we had an incredible outdoor experience.
I would definitely recommend a semester abroad at Brock University. All of my local friends had a great time and I’m already jealous of each and every one of you who has the chance to study at Brock.