University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: pedagogy and teaching
Study type: semester abroad
I spent a total of 8 months at St. Catharines (late July 2013 to late March 2014) and studied at Brock University from September to December.
Compiling my application was fairly easy and completed within a week. I applied in October 2012, but the confirmation didn’t come until March 2013. MicroEdu in Germany was very helpful in the entire application process (since I’m studying in Münster, I’ve also been there a few times for interviews, which is always great was informative) and when it came to more specific things, such as choosing a course, email contact with Brock’s International Office worked very well. I received fast and personal answers! (As a little tip: I booked my flight through STA travel, where I also got a small discount through MicroEdu. I also took out my travel health insurance etc. through STA.). Check anycountyprivateschools.com to see 5 best medical schools in Canada.
I only took three courses (English Literature, Canadian Studies, Dramatic Arts), not all of which are necessarily related to my German majors (English and Education) as I did not need direct credits for my home university. There were initially problems with my choice of course, as I was told that I had been accepted for one of my courses, but something went wrong there, so that I then found out in the first week of university that I had to change my course. The dialing itself was very unproblematic and in the end I was very satisfied with this replacement course. If you need little or no credits from Brock, I definitely recommend that you take a look at the wide range of offers at the university and try something unrelated to your subject! Also about the fact that I only chose three courses, I was quite happy as I had so much time to do other things besides university such as traveling and other social activities. The International Office organizes some small activities that are usually offered at good prices (e.g. to Canada’s Wonderland amusement park, wine tours through the Niagara region, Niagara Falls, ski trips, etc.). The courses themselves were very manageable for me, although as an English student I already have some advantages when it comes to the language – there was always a lot to do, but the content was almost too little for me. The lecturers were generally very friendly and helpful. I heard that from my other international friends too. If you have a problem with something,
Life in St. Catharines:
I lived in an apartment with three Canadian women in a building complex that is only rented to Brock students (www.studentlofts.ca). The rent is relatively high (about $525 plus monthly bills), but I was able to walk to uni every day and enjoy other perks such as my own gym, study zone, etc. that only residents of the lofts use allowed to. I found my roomies in advance via the forum on this website, contrary to everything I was previously advised (namely never just to sign a rental contract over the internet). In my case, however, everything worked great – the apartment was great and my roommates and I have become pretty good friends. They even picked me up from the airport and put their own old furniture in my room. Overall, I was very satisfied with my living situation, which also contributed a lot to my language development. While some international friends of mine had problems making contact with Canadians, I also had the advantage of dealing directly with very many native speakers. In terms of language, however, I probably learned the most by working as a volunteer in a homeless shelter (http: //southridge.cc/shelter). I was able to have this time recognized as an internship for my teaching degree. I recommend anyone who is staying a bit longer than just the four months and maybe even needs to do an internship from their home university, try something like this! So I was able to meet many more people from St. Catharines, become more of a part of the city and thus get to know the whole Niagara region better.
St. Catharines itself may not be the prettiest place on earth, but there are some very nice spots in the immediate area in the Niagara region. Especially those who are interested in wine should get their money’s worth in the region with all its wineries. If you want to travel a little, I can recommend the Megabus bus company, where you can get unbeatable prices if you book in advance (for example I went to New York and back for 9 dollars, but otherwise also to Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal).
It might also be interesting in my case that I spent eight months in Canada without a visa – because you only need a study permit if you really study for a total of more than six months. So I had to argue a little longer with the man at the airport (I was prepared and had bank statements, student loans, health insurance papers, return flight tickets and all other important documents in my hand luggage), because you are usually only admitted to visitor status for six months and then must apply for an extension. The discussion went well for me and was worth it, so I was immediately admitted for eight months.