University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I decided quite spontaneously to do a semester abroad. I became aware of Brock University because some of my fellow students had already applied for it. I researched other universities as well, but I especially liked the location of Brock University, as I planned to travel as much as possible from the start. The costs for a semester abroad are also much lower than at other universities. The Brock International Office and MicroEdu were very helpful with the application and course registration. You could always turn to them during the semester and they always helped as best they could. Check act-test-centers.com to see study opportunities in Norway.
Like most people, before I came to Canada I was looking for an apartment with a friend who also wanted to do a semester abroad at Brock. However, this made finding an apartment a little more difficult. However, we only started looking 2 weeks beforehand. We then found an apartment, which initially shocked us a lot. Unfortunately, the landlady didn’t tell us that it was in the basement. However, we then learned from other German students abroad that our apartment was okay, unlike others that they looked at on site. We then settled in very quickly and in the end we were very sad that we had to get out of our basement again.
In any case, you should look for an apartment near a bus stop where more than one bus passes if possible. You are then simply more mobile and it can happen that a bus simply does not come. Even if that was very rare. Ideally, it would be near the bus terminal, as almost all buses start there and most also end again.
For the transfer from the airport to St Catharines, we booked seats in the Niagara Airbus from Germany via the Internet. He brings you right to the front door, which is very convenient with all your luggage. We also used this for our return flight, since of course it also picks you up in front of the front door.
St. Catharines in itself is not a special place. There are some good celebration options, almost all of which are close together. Since St. Catharines is quite large and spread out, one is dependent on the buses. However, these usually only run until midnight in the evening, so we often had to order a taxi. The buses run almost every half hour, except in winter the bus to the university runs every 15 minutes in the morning. You can actually always get where you want to go once you have gotten through the bus timetable. Most of the important stations, such as the university or the Pen Center (large shopping mall), are served directly by the buses. The big advantage is that there are also many buses from St Catharines to big cities such as Toronto, Montreal or New York. You can also fly very cheaply to many places from Toronto or Buffalo. We mostly did it by renting a car with several people. That was always a lot of fun and you can spontaneously extend your trip or change your travel plan.
The lectures at the university were no more demanding than in Germany. The professors are usually very nice and understanding towards exchange students. Especially when it comes to compulsory attendance (which is in most lectures), they turn a blind eye when you tell them that you’re absent twice more than allowed because you’re on the road. However, you have to reckon with the fact that you have to buy expensive books for most of the lectures, which you can sell again at the end of the semester, but of course in most cases you only get back a fraction of what you paid for. But sometimes you’re lucky and the professors give you an older edition as a gift.
I would recommend not taking more than 3 courses, otherwise the workload is too high and you don’t have enough time to enjoy your stay abroad and to experience something.
I can recommend a semester abroad at Brock University, but only for people who can handle not living in a big city. Because even if St Catharines has many inhabitants, it is more “village”. The staff at the university were always very nice and helpful. However, I also have to say that without the funny and nice people I met there, the time would only have been half as nice.