University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: Primary school teacher, mathematics
Study type: semester abroad
Already at the beginning of my studies I knew that I would like to go abroad for a semester to get to know new impressions of teaching styles, to explore other cultures and to be able to speak another language. In 2017 I decided to go to Canadawith my boyfriend, because the landscape in pictures has always appealed to me and it is also said about Canadians that they are very friendly, polite and courteous, which I can confirm afterwards. Check ehuacom.com to see Slovenia higher education.
Choice of university
I first found out about partner universities for Canada at my university. When I was told there were no partner universities in Canada, my friend and I decided to go to Canada as a free mover with the help of MicroEdu. Since Brock University did quite well in a ranking and also had very good ratings, we decided to do a semester abroad in St. Catharines, Ontario.
I found out about MicroEdu from my friend because he had already spent a semester in California and really appreciated the mentoring.
In March 2018 we applied to the university with the help of MicroEdu. My contact person kept asking if there were any unanswered questions. Since my English wasn’t that good at the beginning, I was very happy to have had someone who could help me with all the formalities.
After I applied to Brock University with the help of MicroEdu , I received an acceptance email about two weeks later. Then I also met my supervisor at Brock University from the International Office. I now received regular emails with information about finding accommodation, registering for courses and what the university offers for international students to make their semester particularly eventful.
Using Kijiji and craigslist, my boyfriend and I were looking for a place to stay that would become our new home for four months. After looking at some advertisements online, we had a Skype call with an elderly lady, who we then moved into the basement apartment full of anticipation.
Basement apartments or rooms are very common in Canada and small windows allow enough light into the apartment. We lived near the Fairview Mall (shopping mall for groceries, clothes, thrift stores, books and so on) which is about 15 minutes from the city center – called Downtown. However, it took about 45 minutes to get to the university and as the buses in St. Catharines are not always reliable when it comes to punctuality, you should plan a little more time. However, my boyfriend and I bought a used car in Canada because we wanted to travel around North America after our semester abroad. It took us about 15 minutes to get to the university by car.
When we finally arrived in Canada in August after much preparation and great anticipation, we still had about two weeks to get used to the Canadian lifestyle, to meet people and to explore our new home. Since we got contacts from MicroEdu from people from Germany who also applied to Brock University through this organization, we all decided to get to know each other before studying and met in Toronto.
The staff at Brock University’s International Office have also put a lot of effort into making our start as pleasant as possible. At the beginning there was the orientation week, where various events took place. You could also take a campus tour which I would recommend to anyone as the university seems huge to begin with. A trip to Niagara Falls and a wine tour to Niagara on the Lake were also planned.
During the semester, there were always events that brought us closer to the Canadian way of life, such as a Thanksgiving meal or going to an amusement park on Halloween.
The International Office and MicroEdu also gave us advice when it came to course registration. In Germany, I’m studying primary school mathematics, which is why I chose two Child and Youth Studies courses: CHYS 3P12 Emotions in Children and Youth and CHYS 3P30 Embodiment. As a third course I attended a mathematics course: MATH 1P98 Practical Statistics.
I would highly recommend anyone wanting to take courses in Child and Youth Studies to take courses with Maureen Conolly. She goes to a lot of trouble to explain the material using everyday problems and also likes to talk about her own experiences. I can also recommend the mathematics course to everyone. The lecturers are very careful that you understand everything and explain the material in easy-to-understand English. I would not take the CHYS 3P12 course again because it was relatively monotonous. In addition, I unfortunately never received any feedback on this course as to what was good or bad about my essays.
Unlike in Germany, the grade is calculated from several partial performances. At the beginning of the semester you get a plan of what you have to submit and when, and more precise descriptions of how the lecturer would like it are clarified again in the meetings. At first I was a bit overwhelmed because in Germany I tend to be the type of person who starts learning relatively late. But I have to say that I like the system with partial performance better than in Germany, because you study throughout the semester and it’s harder not to pass the course. In addition, something really sticks to the fabric.
In general, I really liked the university. There were several food courts, two Tim Hortons where you can buy your coffee if you’re still a bit tired, a cozy library for studying and also sports activities such as a swimming pool, a running track, a gym or courses are offered.
All in all, I can say that I really enjoyed my semester abroad, that I met a lot of nice people from different countries and that I was also able to improve my English. St. Catharines also has something to offer for everyone. You can quickly reach Lake Ontario, Niagara Falls, Toronto or the USA.