University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The semester abroad at Brock University was really a great experience. I met a lot of nice people and was able to improve my English. Since my home university only has a few partner universities in America and Canada, I researched how to plan a stay abroad on my own. That’s when I came across MicroEdu. After browsing the homepage I decided on Brock University in St. Catharines. 1. I didn’t need proof of English here, 2. It’s a very good university and also cheaper than American universities and 3. According to the field reports, there aren’t many Germans there. So I applied through MicroEdu and everything happened pretty quickly. I had my acceptance within a few weeks. I also have a lot of information. Check ehuacom.com to see study opportunities in Sweden.
Brock University offers very good study conditions. It has a large library, a large computer pool, a swimming pool, a gym and a good canteen. I chose 3 courses from the fields of business administration and economics, which were all distributed very differently in terms of effort. In general, you have to do a lot for the courses, since tests are constantly being written or homework is required. There are also presentations and midterm and final exams. However, the performance level is below the German level and therefore the learning before the final exams is not as time-consuming as in Germany.
St. Catherine’s isn’t a pretty town at all. However, during the semester it is very busy with the Brock students, especially in the evenings. The nightlife has a lot to offer there. Downtown consists almost entirely of bars and clubs. There’s even a cozy little brewery! You don’t find supermarkets very often and that’s why it can happen that you always have to take the bus to the nearest supermarket.
I lived with a Canadian, a Belgian and two Germans. Our house was right downtown, on a somewhat seedy street. The Canadian, Audrey, was also a student at Brock and was assigned to me through the university as a “buddy”, the local contact person. Since we exchanged emails before the semester abroad, I came to the house through her. She wanted to try living with international students. She then organized the house on site and also looked for the other three flatmates. I was really lucky with my roommates, we were all on the same page and had a lot of fun together.
When looking for an apartment, you should make sure that you live near a bus stop, as St. Catherine’s is very spacious. The best residential area is at Pen Center or Glenridge Avenue, the street is between downtown and the university and there is a bus stop about every 20 meters.
St.Catharines is a great base from which to travel. The four of us spent a weekend in Algonquin National Park just north of Toronto. The park is fantastically beautiful, especially in the Indian summer when the leaves turn yellow, red and purple. We camped there in the wilderness for 2 nights and canoeed during the day. If you’re lucky, you might even see bears and mooses!
Toronto is only a 1.5 hour bus ride from St. Catherine’s. The city is very manageable, but offers many shopping opportunities and some nice places. Other nearby destinations include Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec. Ottawa and Montreal are easily accessible by Greyhound Bus or Coach Canada. Renting a car is not that expensive either, but you should make sure that the driver is over 25 years old, as it is then considerably cheaper.
Other exchange students were also in New York, Boston or Chicago.
At the beginning of December I was in Miami with 2 friends for a week. If you fly from Buffalo, you can get cheap domestic flights within the US. I can only recommend the trip!
I can only recommend everyone to do the semester abroad at Brock University. Canadians are very nice and helpful. I was the only exchange student in two courses and therefore also had contact with Canadians. The professors were also helpful and always friendly. St.Catharines isn’t a big city per se, but you can’t complain about the party life. As far as the weather is concerned, it was the same as in Germany. It doesn’t get really cold until January. Canada is a beautiful country to travel to and you can also get to the USA very quickly. The groceries and cosmetics are very expensive though, so be prepared for that.