University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The application process was very easy with the help of MicroEdu. You got all the necessary documents along with a lot of information online. If something was not clear, you could ask via email. The replies were always very quick and helpful. I can only recommend anyone who does not feel confident in English before their stay abroad to take advantage of the help of Collece Contact, as this way you can organize everything in German. The good thing about the Brock is that as a German citizen you don’t need a TOEFL test to be accepted at the Brock. Check anycountyprivateschools.com to see 7 best cities to do an internship in Germany.
Looking for an apartment is not easy over the distance. I’m also sorry to say that MicroEdu wasn’t much of a help. However, there is a good range of apartments on the Brock website. I simply wrote an email to every apparently suitable offer and also received a few offers. If you start looking for an apartment early enough (about 3 months before departure), you can find good accommodation. It should be noted that Canadians have a different sense of cleanliness. If you don’t want to compromise, you should look locally. A lot of people did that and they all found an apartment in the two weeks they had. But keep in mind that there are no hostels directly in St. Catharines. You can live in Niagara Falls but the bus ride is complicated during the holidays. You also get support from Brock if you can’t find an apartment at all.
I ended up living in a house with 5 other Canadians like most students in Canada. I have to say that I was very lucky. My flat share was pretty clean by Canadian standards and my roommates were very nice.
I could trust them, didn’t have to lock my door and could leave my laptop in the living room with a clear conscience. The house was in Thorold, a sort of suburb of St. Catharines. Lots of students live here and there are always house parties. The bus connection is okay. During the day there is a bus every half hour to Brock, which is about 2-3 km away. From there you can also easily get to the city. Unfortunately there are no more buses after 10 and on weekends only until 6. But that’s no different in St. Catharines. Taxis are reasonably affordable if you don’t drive alone.
One more thing: doesn’t live on campus. That sounds very nice, is practical and helps to meet people, but in the Brock exchange program, which you go through in the first week, you meet enough people. It’s not worth the price. Living on campus costs $900 a month, off campus around $420. Also, Brock has a meal plan for most of those who live on campus, and the food isn’t very varied, and it’s not that good either. Cooking is much cheaper and healthier.
Studying in Canada is very expensive. The tuition fees and the cost of living are high. I took the minimum of 3 courses and was fully utilized in addition to traveling. You have to hand in a lot during the semester and also give lectures. The program is definitely helpful for learning English. You always had a contact person at the Brock to whom you could go with all questions regarding the courses.
Yes, Brock also offered day trips throughout the semester. However, these were often stressful and too short. I’d rather organize something later myself. But take everything with you during O-week so that you can get to know people. After that it’s harder. The courses offered by Brock are good. I was very pleased. The exams are not difficult, but that’s a good thing if you have a language barrier. I have taken Ethics in Business, International Business and Supply Chain Management courses. I can recommend Ethic and SCM, although SCM was a bit unorganized and the Excel exercises went too fast for me. International business was partly interesting, but unfortunately 3 hours at a time from 7-10 p.m. Don’t take that course. You can neither concentrate nor participate. There are oral grades.
It all depends on what you want to see in Canada. If you choose St. Catharines, you have to be aware that you are more interested in city trips than admiring nature. The Niagara Falls are certainly not far and can also be easily reached by bus for little money or with the semester ticket it is free if you take the university bus.
St. Catharines has a very nice beach that doesn’t necessarily feel like Canada when the weather is good. Otherwise there is the possibility to see an ice hockey game of the Icedogs in St. Catharines. I can definitely recommend that. There are also plenty of nice pubs and clubs to go out. Otherwise, the city is not particularly beautiful. You definitely have to go to Decew Falls if you decide to do the Brock. This really is a little paradise. You climb to the falls and can even walk behind them and swim under them – A great place and not far from the Brock either (about 2km). So you can walk well.
St. Catharines is in a great location for traveling to the USA. You can reach the border in about 45 minutes by bus (Couch Canada or Greyhound – both leave from St. Catharines). You do not need a visa for a short trip in advance, as you can get a visitor visa at the border. This costs only 6 euros and is valid for 90 days. So you can enter the USA and back again several times. I can only recommend you to drive (or fly) to Washington. Domestic flights from Buffalo (just across the border) are available from as little as $38 if you book in advance. The city is beautiful and very cheap as entry is free. Many also went to the outlet in Buffalo to shop.
In Canada, I can recommend Toronto. The city is of course around the corner. Chinatown and Kensington Market are very nice to stroll around and the islands are very pretty. The transfer is also cheap.
I would also take a trip to Ottawa and French Canada (Montreal and Quebec City). Don’t be put off by the distances – this is Canada. Traveling always takes time and it’s worth it.
Don’t miss out on Algonquin Park!!! This is Canada and that’s why you go there. This nature park is beautiful. I recommend the campsite. You can rent all the equipment in the park. I was very happy with it. Everything was clean and whole.
You can hire cars in St. Catharines itself. This also works with the German driver’s license. However, under 25 you have to pay an extra fee per day.
If you like cities and wanted to go to the US, go to Brock. Unfortunately, nature experiences are hard to come by down there. There were also a lot of Germans. I was still able to improve my English enormously. Just make sure to live with Canadians and make friends with students from other countries.
Canadians are very friendly and helpful, unfortunately it’s hard to make closer friends with them.
All in all, I don’t regret my decision. The experience was great and I recommend everyone to do it themselves!