University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
After I had not been able to get a place through one of our partner universities, in January 2012 I slowly but surely had to think about how I could realize my firm intention of doing a semester abroad in the 5th semester. Check ehuacom.com to see 11 best fashion schools in Europe.
After some googling, I came across MicroEdu. Canada and Australia quickly emerged as destinations. The States didn’t bother me that much back then, it should be an English-speaking country and England wasn’t far enough away for me. After much back and forth between Canada and Australia, Canada, Brock University came out on top. In the end, only St. Marys University, Halifax (CA) and Griffith University, Brisbane (AUS) were left. For Brock and against St. Marys spoke: 1) Relative proximity to the east coast and many attractive cities 2) The diverse region itself with a cosmopolitan city of Toronto 3) A southern location on the level of Rome and the surrounding Great Lakes, which is just in the August weeks produced real holiday flair. 4) The enormous range of courses, even in the area of economics.
The cost factor spoke in favor of Brock and against Griffith, Australia would probably have cost me a few dollars more, which, in addition to the poorer range of courses in Brisbane, ultimately made the difference for me
The application process via MicroEdu is really idiot-proof, request documents, work through the catalog of documents that you get from MicroEdu for every university and, whoosh, the confirmation is on the table. For the Brock you needed btw. no TOEFL, but that was less important for me. The MicroEdu advice is great, my annoying calls and emails were always answered with pleasure and in a friendly manner.
Compared to Ingolstadt, the location was relatively comfortable and, above all, favorable. As a study-abroad student, you are usually forced to live off-campus, which in view of the rather modest and extremely expensive dormitories has almost nothing but advantages. You can use the Brock portal to get a lot of contacts before you arrive and, if necessary, make appointments to view the property. I arrived on August 22nd, most of the offers were almost only in the basement, but I was lucky and found a cozy place to stay with 5 other students, 2 Germans and 3 Canadians on the ground floor. The prices were roughly the same as in Ingolstadt, although Ingolstadt is, to put it simply, very expensive.
If you want to improve your English, you should probably avoid German roommates, otherwise you’ll hear the funniest stories from Canadian roommates, I was allowed / had to enjoy the weirdest things and constant entertainment every day.
The Brock is not as big as I thought it would be, our faculty in Ingolstadt is external and only holds about 800 students, the way from A to B is a maximum of 3 minutes for us, but at the Brock I didn’t have to anymore Plan on being 10-15 from one end to the other. The sports facilities are gigantic, 3 sports halls, several fitness centers, a large indoor swimming pool, several outdoor soccer and tennis courts and much more. There is no library for lending books in the German sense, you have to buy all the textbooks, I was at a comfortable $350 for 3 books. Most of the rooms are very well equipped and the classes are very small, although of course it always depends on what you are used to.
I found the courses in economics and statistics relatively easy, not nearly as quantitative and by no means as theory-heavy, practical examples were interspersed with me wherever possible. The only thing you have to get used to quickly is the constant, almost school-like amount of work, in which a partial exam or a paper has to be written every 3-4 weeks. If you get used to it quickly, there is not much standing in the way of good grades, as long as you not only get them counted, but also converted.
Incidentally, the lecturers are always looking forward to German exchange students, because they are always above average and are the best in their class, I would not have thought of that to such an extent beforehand.
After 3 weeks, I discovered the absolute hit course through a buddy, namely “Introduction to Wines”. Here you get theoretical knowledge about wines and can then put this knowledge to the test in an exercise with practical tasting. I’ve had a certain interest in wine for quite some time, but what I learned about wine in this course surprised even me, by the end of the course you’ll be able to match the right wine with almost every meal like the fist on the eye.
The whole thing is possible because the Niagara region is the largest and probably the best wine region in Canada and accordingly there is a wine science department. It has to be said that the Canadian wines are good, but they probably don’t quite keep up with the old European wines.
As far as life is concerned, opinions are probably divided at this point, but I’ll just describe my exclusively personal impressions. The biggest problem is the expensive life in every respect, otherwise it is actually quite good to live in this region once you have acclimatized to life.
2l milk $4, 1.5l OJ $3, 10 slices of sausage $4-5, a bottle of Sky $26, the cheapest wine starts at $10.
In short: groceries and most other things that a student needs cost on average 1.5-2 times as much (at an exchange rate of 1.30), with the exception of burgers, fries, cola and some other things without that a Canadian cannot live in American-influenced Ontario.
In clubs, shots/beer in St. Catherine’s itself cost up to $6, in Montreal or Toronto you can quickly reach $10.
For me, the expensive life is the only shortcoming of Canada, which of course also lowers my average rating.
Party (at St.Catharines/Brock University):
With the exception of French Canada and Vancouver, clubs and bars close at 2 a.m., from 3: 30 at the latest you have to look for an after-hours, but you get used to that faster than you think. I’ve already said a few things about prices, everything is a bit more expensive, the clubs in St. Catherine’s are still okay, but after the tenth time you’ll get tired of it, because at the end of the day there are only 2-3 left that are halfway decent. (For our clique it was Cache, Barracuda and, to a lesser extent, Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
In addition, we often went to Isaacs, especially at the beginning, it’s the bar/disco right next to the university, but you can only go there on Thursdays.
In my opinion, the Canadians can still learn a few things from our parties in terms of party technology, but that always depends on your own party inclination and party experience.
In my opinion, the Canadian beer is undrinkable with the exception of the beer in the Merchant’Ale house, but of course European beers are also shockingly expensive.
The women walk around quite freely in the evening, but you get used to it relatively quickly;)
Ontario in particular has a somewhat American touch due to its proximity to the US, which is particularly noticeable in the variety of food. Burgers, fries and other fast food can be found on every corner, but finding a true Asian whose credo isn’t just the greasier the merrier is a real challenge. The average pizza in Canada is also a little greasy and has an extra tier of cheese on average. Adequate restaurants are already available, but also a bit more expensive and not really gourmet-oriented, unless you are in the $25 and more range. So if you call yourself a gourmet, you have to dig much deeper into your pocket for the food.
This is probably what made my stay in Canada so incredible for me. There is an enormous variety of travel destinations, Toronto is 2 hours away, Great Lakes beaches 15 minutes (Lake Ontario) or 90 minutes (Chrystal Beach, Lake Erie, highly recommended!), NYC is 8 hours away by car or a good hour’s flight. French Canada, Washington, Chicago and Boston are also within a 1.5 hour flight radius. Extensive Canadian national parks can be reached in a good 5 hours by car, an absolute must, I’m still annoyed that I didn’t get that into my travel plan. Vancouver can be reached in a 4.5 hour flight and is absolutely amazing, especially if you can still manage to enjoy the view of Vancouver while night skiing on Vancouver’s local mountain,
My time at our faculty in Ingolstadt has been incredibly great so far, but Canada and the many different trips have been the crowning glory. The Canadians are so open and helpful, on the first day I had a beer with a bike rental company and they gave me a bike for free. Of course, the landlords will pick you up when you’re looking for an apartment and bring you back, all of course. In addition, you meet a wide variety of people from different nations on your travels, at the university and on the whole continent. In terms of clothing, the Canadians/Americans may still have some catching up to do, but every day you learn to appreciate your homeland anew.
The director of the IO said at first that one only learns to appreciate one’s homeland after a long absence. He’s absolutely right about that, but nonetheless the months have been terrific. I actually miss these extremes in Canada the most, the wide, beautiful country, the cosmopolitan cities, the people, the parties in NYC, Chicago or Montreal.
Do it and see for yourself, but plan enough financial buffers for the trips. I would go back to Brock at any time, even if St. Catherine’s itself was a bit too small at times. The travel, the wine country, the Great Lakes and all the new different people more than made up for it.
There are probably not many regions in the world where you can get so much variety and extremes at once.