University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Towards the end of 2009 I was already considering doing a semester abroad, but I didn’t get a place at our partner universities. That’s why I had to go on my own search at very short notice. I heard about MicroEdu from friends and decided to give it a try. I chose Brock University in Canada because the location is good and mostly because everything went pretty smoothly and you don’t need a TOEFL test, which I didn’t have time to do. In addition, I was able to put together my course plan perfectly from all courses. Check ehuacom.com to see Finland higher education.
Arrival/ apartment search:
I can’t say too much about this, since ideally I was picked up at the airport by another student and with whom I then also lived. So I didn’t have to worry about that much anymore.
But I noticed that there are a lot of bad and also overpriced apartments in St. Catharines. So you should be well informed and certainly not rent apartments on the Internet without having seen them. It is best to arrive a few days in advance and then start looking.
You should also know in advance that the rents are a bit higher than in Germany and that the on-campus apartments in particular are quite overpriced.
Brock University seems pretty big at first, but you actually figure out pretty quickly where you need to go and what’s important to you. You will always be helped (e.g. by the International Office). The choice of course worked perfectly and changing was not a problem. Here you are often in contact with the International Office. The employees are very nice and help you in every situation and give you tips on everyday things.
You should be prepared in advance that Canadians have a more continuous learning system than we do. You have to complete a lot of homework, tests and project work in addition to the final exams. But it is still possible to do everything and you get help from all sides.
Most of the lectures were very good and always very clear due to the small number of participants. The professors were always available for the students.
As an introduction, there were a number of parties, events and even a concert during the orientation week.
Otherwise you can use the gymnasium, running track or swimming pool all the time and you often meet in the PC pools.
As for the city itself, it has to be said that it really isn’t the metropolis itself. It’s true that there are 130,000 inhabitants, but you don’t really notice that and you live more in student circles. The city offers everything you need for the normal supply (shopping center, cinema, restaurants, bars and smaller clubs). You can also take the bus to Port Dalhousie, where there is a small beach. You can also get to Niagara Falls for free with the semester ticket.
Otherwise, one has to say that the bus system (apart from during the day) is a disaster at night and especially at the weekend.
As a little tip, I recommend a trip to Decew Falls. A small waterfall on the edge of St. Catharines.
Since St. Catharines is close to Toronto and also close to the US/Buffalo border, you can plan your trips perfectly. Here you should always check out the flights and extremely cheap buses early.
I can recommend Montréal, Toronto, New York City, Washington DC and Philadelphia as travel destinations. But you can also find good flights to eg Las Vegas, San Francisco or Los Angeles.
Of course, it is always a good idea to book these trips together with others, because then you can usually split the costs very well and it is of course much more fun to explore the cities in a group.
In summary, I can say that everyone should take the opportunity to spend a semester abroad. In general, it doesn’t really matter where you do it, because ultimately it’s the people you get to know and with whom you do everything that count. I was also told this by many other students from other universities that I met during my stay.
While St. Catharines isn’t the best city right now, you can have an extremely good time there and at Brock University. I have no regrets and would do it again and again. It’s just a unique experience and you get to meet a lot of good people.