University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
I chose Brock University because the university makes a very good overall impression and it is very easy to travel from St. Catharines. Even if the distances were still quite long; many big cities like Toronto, Montreal, New York etc. are within easy reach. From Buffalo you can fly quickly and cheaply to other corners of the states. Check anycountyprivateschools.com to see study opportunities in Czech Republic.
In general, applying to the university is quite easy. All you have to do is fill out a few forms and write a short letter of motivation.
But what you should consider when applying for foreign student loans:
The student loan office only supports semesters and not trimesters. However, the information about Brock University states that only trimesters are offered. This can cause some confusion. The trimesters offered at Brock correspond to the normal semesters. There is no difference in time. When I asked the university, I received a certificate from the International Office that the trimesters are equivalent to semesters. I was then able to present this to the Bafög office.
For transport from the airport in Toronto, the normal bus is a cheaper alternative to the Niagara Airbus. A shuttle service runs from the airport to downtown Toronto. At the bus terminal in the center you can then transfer to the Coach Canada or Greyhound bus, which takes you directly to St. Catharines. In an emergency, you can always ask the bus driver. They are very friendly and always happy to help. The ride costs around $35 in total.
I got my room through the Brock International Office. The International Service sometimes sends housing adverts directly to all international students.
I lived in Thorold. This is actually a city in its own right, but somehow still belongs to St. Catharines, as it is right on the city limits. The university is located in the southern part of St. Catharines. So it wasn’t far from Thorold to the Brock.
There were also plenty of bus services so I had no trouble getting out of there.
In general, you should make sure that you live in an area with good bus connections. Distances are long in Canada and you can’t get far without a bus or car. In order to familiarize yourself with the bus network beforehand, here is the link to the bus map:
You can use the connections to find out where the best residential areas are. At the weekend or during the week after 10 p.m. you have to change to a taxi anyway.
The university has a huge campus and above all offers many sports facilities. In the building there is a gym, a swimming pool (free for students), an indoor running track and a very wide range of courses.
The university also offers a very wide range of courses. I had no problems finding suitable courses, all of which I could get credit for in Germany.
I really enjoyed the lesson. It was more effort than in Germany, but therefore easier to claim. The professors are very nice, helpful and open to international students.
There are many workplaces on campus, such as a huge computer room and the library. However, it is sometimes always very crowded and quite restless. If you need a quieter corner to study, the best place to go is the Plaza Building.
Tips for the time on site:
St. Catharines does not have as much to offer in terms of leisure as other large cities; but there are a few opportunities. There is the Pen Centre, a large shopping centre. There is also a cinema next door. Unfortunately, there is not that much going on in the city center during the day. Port Dalhousie is very pretty in Spring/Summer. There is a beach and a wonderful view of Lake Ontario. In good weather you can even look over to Toronto and see the skyline. Port Dalhousie also has many restaurants and a few clubs. Unfortunately, since I was there in the winter semester, I didn’t get much out of it because everything was closed in winter.
The best place to get an original North American breakfast of pancakes and French toast and all that goes with it is Early Bird on Merrit Street in Thorold.
For sushi I can recommend “Real Sushi” directly at the Downtown Terminal. This has also always been a popular meeting place for the international students.
It is also worth purchasing the SPC card. With this card you get a 10% discount in many shops and chains when you present the card and a student ID. I was able to use the card a lot and saved a lot of money.
Here is more information about the card and where to buy it: http: //www.spccard.ca/
Trips to Montreal, Toronto, New York, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia are recommended for travel. These cities can be easily reached by bus or rental car. Greyhound and Coach Canada offer regular trips. The cheaper alternative is Megabus. Then you only have to reserve your ticket a few weeks in advance on the Internet and cannot book it spontaneously like with Greyhound and Coach Canada.
I can also highly recommend the Algonquin National Park in northern Ontario as another destination!
From Buffalo Airport you can travel around the USA very well and cheaply. Domestic flights are relatively cheap.
If you enter the USA and have not previously applied for an extra visa for the USA, you will receive a 90-day tourist visa at the border. If the 90-day visa has expired and you would like to enter the USA again, you will receive a new 90-day visa. The old visitor visa cannot be extended.
You should also get an international driver’s license beforehand, as some car rental companies require one.
All in all, I really enjoyed my semester abroad in Canada and I can only recommend it to everyone to live abroad for a while!