University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, Political Science
Study type: semester abroad
During the preparations for my stay abroad, the International Office (IO) at my university and the host university ( Brock University ) were the first points of contact for everything.
Compulsory health insurance from Brock University (UHIP) must be taken out during the semester abroad. An exemption is not possible (e.g. if you already have your own insurance abroad). It should be noted that this health insurance only covers the period of the official semester. If you plan to arrive a few days before the start of the semester or to leave a few days after the end of the semester, you should take out additional international health insurance. In my case, the foreign protection provided by the ADAC was a very cheap and sufficient option. Check act-test-centers.com to see United Kingdom or England understand the difference.
During the preparation I could choose between two types of accommodation – on-campus or off-campus. I have chosen to live on campus. The application for a dormitory place went smoothly and the accommodation was thus secured before departure. I was therefore able to avoid any uncertainties regarding finding an apartment on site. Even if this uncertainty was unfounded in hindsight. All exchange students who first looked for accommodation outside the campus could also easily choose from a wide range of accommodation (in this respect, this is a difference to the housing situation in most German student cities). Contra dormitories: Price at least twice as high as a room in a shared flat.
I would like to mention, however, that I changed my accommodation halfway through. I decided to live off-campus after all. Some of my friends have had good luck with the dorm and roommates. However, the roommates are mostly very young and away from home for the first time (tidying up etc. were therefore foreign words for them). You should decide for yourself what is more important to you.
Tip: You can move out of the dormitory at any time. You will then be refunded the amount that you overpaid. So you can move into the dormitory for the first 2-3 weeks and then have a look around at your leisure. In my case, a “move” was done with 2 Uber rides and a lot of fun.
2. Local situation
For better orientation, I traveled to Canada a week before the semester started. During the orientation week for first semester students before the start of the course, an IO program was offered to us exchange students (e.g. various orientation events, information on course selection /changes, or excursions). This program is particularly suitable for making initial contacts and facilitating the start in Canada.
I chose 3 courses. This leaves enough time to travel around. The course level is much easier (especially in the 2nd-3rd year courses). The lecturers try very hard to actually teach the students something and to pass it on. You can always talk to her and the relationship is relatively relaxed. Be prepared for mid-terms, assignments, groupwork and finals. With a very relaxed learning effort, good grades can also be achieved here (80% + is not a great difficulty).
Tip: If you choose your courses in advance, choose enough alternatives. It can always happen that some courses are not offered at short notice or are already full. Also discuss the creditability with your university in Germany.
University life Brock University
At Brock University, everyday university life and free time take place on campus. The university is more than just a place of learning here. Numerous sports facilities (including its own fitness studio, swimming pool, sports halls) and student initiatives offer students numerous opportunities to spend their free time on campus (it should be mentioned that the leisure opportunities in the city of St. Catharines – typically Canadian for such a city – tend to be are limited). However, these extracurricular activities have made it possible to get to know Canadian life better and to make contact with Canadian students. This was particularly helpful for improving language skills.
St. Catharines also offers a few clubs and bars. With the right people you can go out there too. Otherwise, during the week there is still the opportunity to go out on campus or near the university (or classic house parties).
With other exchange students from all over the world, I was also able to take weekend trips to Niagara Falls, which is only 15 minutes away, or to national parks in the vicinity. In any case, these were unique impressions.
Trips to New York over the weekend, to Montreal or Quebec were also easy to organize.
Cost of living
The cost of living is slightly higher than in Germany. Supermarket shopping quickly becomes a bit more expensive (meat, etc.). Recreational activities may also be more expensive. After all, the exchange rate means that the prices appear a little lower. For a semester, this is also a manageable period of time, so that you get used to the prices.
My semester at Brock was a great semester abroad. If you are not necessarily looking for a big city life or a renowned university such as Toronto or Vancouver, Brock is the place for you. Real Canadian student life with a nice atmosphere to study in. I can recommend the Brock.
If you have any questions, look for the MicroEdu Facebook group.
I received a small fee for this report. Nevertheless, the report only reflects my own personal experience and should help you in your decision-making. The experience reports helped me a lot in my choice of university.