University: Brock University
Continent: North America
Field of study: Economics, organization and leadership
Study type: semester abroad
With around 17,000 students, BrockU is one of the larger and more well-known universities in the area. It offers a wide range of different disciplines. In addition to economics and management, biology, geography, psychology and educational sciences are also available. The extensive sports facility with indoor pool, weight room and various sports fields and halls serves as a distraction. Check anycountyprivateschools.com to see exchange in Lisbon Portugal.
Technically, the BrockU is at the level of the UniSG, even if the pace has to be estimated lower. In any case, it is worthwhile to look for exciting courses on the Internet in advance, since the quality of the courses varies greatly. There are assignments in many subjects that you have to submit during the lecture period in order to improve your final grade. Often these homework-like problem sets are not too challenging and serve more as a recap of the material covered in the course. Another part of the final grade can, but does not have to be, participation/attendance in the course. For logistical reasons, however, it is not always easy for the professors to record who reports how often with 60 students, which is why ultimately only the attendance list is decisive. For me, however, this was only in one of three courses.
I would recommend the courses I took in descending order: ECON 3P03 Money and Banking; ECON 3P21 Advanced Microeconomics (creditable at the UniSG); MGMT 3P98 International Business.
Getting there from Pearson Airport near Toronto is rather complicated, which is why the university recently started offering a shuttle bus for exchange students (approx. $55). Otherwise it can be advantageous to fly to Buffalo and book a long-distance bus service (eg Megabus) for around $15. In terms of time, both take about the same amount of time.
It is only worthwhile to a limited extent to conduct a large search effort in advance. Most have checked into a nearby hotel or AirBnB and searched for accommodation locally. Most of the time this doesn’t take longer than 1-3 days. I had already rented something in advance, but had to change for various reasons, which was a bit inconvenient and uncomfortable.
Most (exchange) students live in Thorold or in the adjoining part of St Catharines. You are only a few minutes by bus from the university and the pen center. The latter is the largest shopping area in the city. The rent is usually around $500 per month including utilities.
About 130,000 people live in St. Catharines and the city is about 20 minutes away from Niagara Falls. However, it is much more sprawled than you know from Switzerland. It is therefore good that the bus ticket is included in the tuition fee. However, especially in the evenings or at weekends, getting around can be a problem due to the mediocre public transport system. You often have to use a taxi, which is not as expensive as in Switzerland, but still adds up. It is always advisable to agree a flat rate with the driver. However, not all companies allow this.
The proximity to the USA has its advantages and disadvantages. For example, it’s a good idea to take the night bus to NYC to spend a few days there. Flights to destinations in the USA from Buffalo are usually a lot cheaper than from Toronto. However, much of the American mentality and culture has also spilled over. So if you like fast food and gigantic 4x4s, you will definitely get your money’s worth.
I really enjoyed my time at BrockU and will always look back on it fondly. However, I can well imagine that the city and the Brock are not for everyone. In order to really benefit from the stay, you definitely need to rent/buy a car. Then nature in particular has a lot to offer around you. Besides a couple of clubs and 2 good bars there isn’t much to do in St. Catharines besides house parties. So it takes a certain amount of personal initiative and financial resources to fully exploit the possibilities.
It’s certainly a good idea to spend a few weekends in St. Catherine’s and spend more time in the surrounding national parks or in larger cities. Even in remote places, there is often the opportunity to rent something through Airbnb. Then you can make yourself comfortable with the newly made acquaintances far away from civilization and enjoy the classic Canadian life.