University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: business Informatics
Study type: semester abroad
In order to prepare myself for the time abroad, I made an effort particularly early on. Getting the scholarship seemed very unrealistic to me at the time, since I had already started preparing in the first semester. That’s why I didn’t rely on it and worked out a plan B. I was able to apply a lot of things from my studies in practice. This consisted of the following items:
Before I could really start planning, I had to choose a country that made the most sense for me. That was one of the hardest decisions in the whole process. Every country has its advantages and disadvantages and you have to be aware of them. I spoke to many friends, relatives, lecturers and fellow students about this. After all the discussions, Canada has emerged. This includes, among other things, that it is similar to the USA, but behaves much better in the following points:
- The visa formalities
- The price for:
- standard of living
In addition, my cousin lived there for years, which influenced my decision significantly. He enlightened me a lot about the country, life and the opportunities after my studies and cleared my last doubts. He also advised me when I was looking for a suitable university and also recommended Brock University, which has a very good reputation in the field of business. Check anycountyprivateschools.com to see 3 best universities in Washington DC.
Save, save, save…
Staying in another country can be very expensive. It was the same with Canada, since the expenses for studies, food and services are usually more expensive than here in Germany. Since, among other things, I had to live alone for the first time, I couldn’t estimate the costs exactly and decided to save up as much as possible so as not to be negatively surprised.
When I applied to the university, I had to pay a fee of $100. That’s how I noticed how good things are here in Germany. Transferring the amount was very expensive, as I had to pay an additional fee of around 20 euros at my bank and it was difficult for me to fill out the relevant transfer form.
When it came to the tuition fees, I was lucky that I found out about the Transferwise company myself. These can offer money in most countries with low fees and good exchange rates. In addition, the entire process is super easy and works very quickly. For me it was around €8500, of which an additional €300 would go to the bank without Transferwise.
What surprised me positively, however, was that you can decide whether to pay for many additional costs. For example, you could save the contribution to the Brock Student Union (BUSU). I think that’s very fair, because the respective institution is under pressure to take care of the students.
A semester in Canada is less than 6 months, so I could save myself a student visa and use the ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization). However, one should be careful when applying, as many companies pose as the Canadian government and charge an additional fee of $80-$100 to submit this application. I would have almost fallen for that if I hadn’t approached the whole thing suspiciously from the start. A proper application for an ETA costs 7 dollars, which is around 5 euros.
Getting there and arriving in Canada
Even before I got any feedback, I arranged a flight because the risk was less than the savings. The confirmation came a few days later, which made me very happy. This has allowed me to increase my overall efficiency by giving up flexibility. My cousin was also able to take early leave and pick me up, which helped me tremendously. On the one hand I could be picked up directly from the airport and after the strenuous flight I had peace and quiet in the quiet and much more spacious car.
In order to study at an international university, I used the service provider MicroEdu because my university recommended it to me. MicroEdu helped me a lot as I had no experience of the whole process. My supervisor competently answered what felt like a thousand questions, for which I am grateful. Luckily I didn’t have to pay anything for these, as they are probably paid for by the universities. With their help, I successfully applied. Since I had a big disadvantage that this university did not have a partnership with mine, I had to pay the usual tuition fees there. What struck me is that most of the partner universities are private universities.
At least at the university it seemed to me that I was an exotic person. I haven’t met anyone who goes to university without a partnership and doesn’t study an entire program. This made it difficult for me to explain it to someone because I didn’t understand how studying there works.
Studying at Brock University is very similar to studying at a university. There is a lot of homework, so you have to stay on the ball during the semester. There’s just one big difference that I didn’t like that much. Every submission, group work or similar will be graded. So for me, who generally aims to understand something and deal with the topics, it is difficult to get a very good grade, since a bad submission is enough to no longer be able to achieve the best grade. In addition, especially as a freshman, if you don’t quite understand what the level is, you can well underestimate the first charges. The advantage of all this, however, is that as a slightly weaker student it is difficult to fail because there are many ways to save your grade.
Because I studied the economic part of my business informatics degree there, I can’t give any precise information about an informatics degree.
The subject of corporate finance I was able to master it very well, although the legal situation is different from here. However, it was annoying that I was forced to buy online access from a book manufacturer for a quiz on which 20% of my overall grade was dependent. Fortunately, the book on which the tasks were based was embellished with many practical examples, which became too much for me. It often took me several days just to read a chapter with concentration, and then to do the exercises for it also took one to two whole days. A quiz every week is still manageable at the beginning, but shortly before the exam phase it becomes much more strenuous. Especially since it is also common in Canada to take two exams per subject (midterm and final exam).
Class sizes vary widely, from huge classrooms that can hold hundreds of students to small rooms that can hold just ten students. Unfortunately, I always had lectures with hundreds of fellow students, which, as usual, become scarce as the semester progresses. Since students from different majors can take the same course, the discussions are much more interesting. It often happens that you are surprised by completely different points of view and can question your own position with good arguments.
Fellow students and leisure activities
I am known as a very extroverted person and I rarely have problems making friends. In Canada, people are much more open and impartial, so it was easy for me to make friends and build relationships. In my free time, I went to university events where I learned a lot, since most events are based on imparting knowledge through fun. For example, they demonstrated the dangers of dorm fires by burning a mock room in an open area. Before, during and after the fire, further information was given by a firefighter. None of these events were compulsory, but they were still very well attended. At such events there were oftenGood opportunities for networking, as most of the time food was provided and you often got into conversation with the person sitting next to you while eating.
Without food there is no movement and at the Brock the food in the canteen is sometimes healthy and delicious. There is a wide range of different foods (mostly fast food) and a salad bar. In the “AStA” building there are several franchises such as Subway or Harveys. So you can at least eat varied. If it’s still not enough for you, there is a canteen in one of the dormitories on campus and another small canteen with Pizza Pizza and Pita Pit at the other end of the university. Because I was very active in sports, the food was just too expensive for me. On average, I only had to spend €15 for lunch. In addition, you got it in plastic utensils, which I, as an environmentally conscious person, didn’t like at all. So I decided to prepare my own culinary delicacies.
On the one hand, that was fun for me, on the other hand, it was a good way to simply switch off. Since time was sometimes tight, I tried to cook for the whole week. The problem was that it usually didn’t last for a week. On average, however, I was able to get through the week with two cooking sessions.
I first applied for a room on campus and got it. But later I noticed that the rooms are very small, very expensive and that food is compulsory at the university. So I decided against it. The rent, the food and the tuition fees were also due before the start of the course. I couldn’t pay this amount myself at once and it wasn’t worth the effort of asking relatives or the bank. So I applied for a room in the city and was lucky enough to get one, since I applied relatively late.
For this I turned to all the landlords who have published ads on two websites. Of these 30 or so, four got in touch and only one accepted, the rest only wanted female tenants. My landlord was incredibly nice and understanding, so we get along great and maintain good contact with each other. My house, which I share with four other students, was very well equipped so that we could live comfortably there and with a rent of €300 a month it was very cheap.