University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I spent a semester abroad at Brock University in Canada from September-December 2011 with the help of MicroEdu. I chose Brock University because it offered me many interesting courses and because of its proximity to the USA it was also a good location for travelling. Check act-test-centers.com to see 8 best universities in South Korea.
I really enjoyed the semester in Canada and I can recommend it to everyone!
I became aware of MicroEdu through a tip from a friend who also organized a semester abroad through MicroEdu. If you had any questions, you were always helped promptly and in detail! The support provided by MicroEdu was really worth its weight in gold.
As soon as you have the confirmation from Brock University, an employee of the International Office will contact you by email and you will receive a lot of additional information and help with choosing a course.
The International Office organizes many events and excursions, especially during the first week, where you have the opportunity to get to know your new international fellow students.
Among other things, a day trip to Toronto and Niagara Falls was organized. In addition, the International Office organized a film afternoon, “Tea Social” – an afternoon where you could get to know the other international students over tea, coffee and snacks, a pub crawl through St. Catharines and other events.
During the current semester, the International Office organizes excursions or joint dinners from time to time.
Since St. Catharines is located in the heart of the Canadian wine-growing region, an excursion to visit a winery with wine tasting was organized, for example. With the exception of the trip to Toronto and the Pub Crawl, most of the trips and events were free.
Brock University offers a variety of interesting programs and courses. In general, studying here is a bit different than what I am used to at my German university. The system is very reminiscent of school days. Depending on the subject, one or more exams are written during the semester. In addition, I had to submit a term paper in each subject and write a final exam at the end of the semester. In some courses, oral participation is also counted and attendance is compulsory. But that always depends on the course and will be explained to you in detail in the first lecture. With a little diligence, however, all of this can be mastered well and the fun doesn’t have to suffer as a result.
Canadians typically take 5 courses per semester. I had chosen 4 courses that semester at Brock. I personally thought that was spot on with the amount of work.
There is also a good range of leisure activities at the university. As a student, you can use the university’s own swimming pool free of charge. The university also has several sports halls, a fitness studio, an indoor running track and offers various sports courses such as kickboxing, dancing, fitness courses, etc.
The university has various food courts. There is something for every taste among the numerous food options. However, the food on campus is not exactly cheap.
In general, groceries are more expensive in Canada than in Germany. Discounters, like Lidl or Aldi, are not known there. Dairy products in particular seemed more expensive to me. However, finished products such as frozen pizza and fast food are cheaper.
St. Catharines itself is a rather unspectacular place. Apart from a few good places to go out, there is very little downtown. Good shopping opportunities can be found in the PenCenter. There is also a cinema there. In addition to the PenCenter, St. Catharines has another, smaller shopping mall – the Fairview Mall.
Nevertheless, you can celebrate very well in St. Catharines. Moose & Goose in Thorold is very popular on Wednesdays. Thursdays is always a party at Issac’s, Brock’s own bar, which is located right on campus. However, it takes some getting used to the fact that all the bars and clubs close at 2: 00 a.m.
However, St. Catharines is in a great location for exploring Eastern Canada and the US East Coast.
Toronto is about 1.5 hours by bus and Niagara Falls is a half hour by bus! Greyhound and Coach Canada go there from the Downtown Terminal. If you live closer to Fairview Mall, it’s also worth taking the GO!Bus/train.
With Greyhound and Coach Canada you can also reach more remote destinations. For example, you can take a Greyhound from St. Catharines directly to New York City. The practical thing is that the bus runs overnight and you don’t have to change trains. So you can sleep on the bus and wake up the next morning in New York.
Due to its proximity to the USA, you can also get cheap flights from Buffalo to all corners of the USA. Reading Week can easily be relocated to the beach in Miami.
I can only recommend booking early and comparing the prices! Especially if you want to travel with Greyhound or Coach Canada, it is worth booking early as the tickets get more expensive the closer the departure date gets.
Incidentally, as a German citizen, entering the USA is uncomplicated. The Visa Waiver Program allows you to stay in the United States for up to 90 days without a visa. At the border you will be asked a few questions, fingerprinted and a photo taken. You pay $6 and get a small green card stapled into your passport with an expiry date or the latest date you can leave the country. If the 90 days are over and you want to travel to the USA again, you simply go through the whole procedure again at customs and you will receive a green card again. However, you should make sure that you hand in the first card at customs when the expiry date is approaching and you are leaving the USA.
I can particularly recommend a trip to Algonquin Provincial Park, about 4 hours by car from St. Catharines. Located north of Toronto, the park is the oldest natural park in Ontario. The park is great for hiking and canoeing. With a bit of luck you can also see moose and bears there.
I lived off campus. I found my room on the Brock Off-Campus website and rented it from Germany. I was really lucky with my room. I really enjoyed living there. My landlords were a young married couple who lived in the house next door. The landlords were just great and really tried to offer me a good home.
The house was well maintained and very nicely furnished. The description on the internet was exactly right.
If you are looking for your room on the Internet, you simply have to listen to your gut feeling.
I had several rooms to choose from, but some landlords seemed somehow unreliable when I contacted them by email. Questions were only partially answered or not answered at all, or answers only came days or weeks later, or pictures I asked for were not sent at all.
Of course, you can also arrive earlier and then look for your accommodation on site. Some of the students did the same. I deliberately didn’t do it that way because I found it somehow nicer and less stressful to look for my room from Germany and it was a good feeling to know that you already have accommodation in Canada when you arrive.
When looking for an apartment, you should make sure that you live close to a bus stop and that shopping facilities are not that far away. A bus ticket is included in the tuition fees. You can ride the bus as much and as often as you want.
The bus connection in St. Catharines is not the best, but it is sufficient to be mobile during the day. The buses run every half hour. Buses run every 15 minutes from the downtown terminal to the university and back.
What I really liked is that the buses at the downtown terminal all arrive in such a way that changing trains is completely easy and you don’t have to wait long. You can find out more about bus connections and timetables in advance at www.yourbus.com.
The buses run until around 11: 30 p.m. Then you have to change to a taxi. Most taxis offer a student rate; for about $10 you can get from Brock to downtown. If four people share the taxi, a taxi ride is no more expensive than a bus ride!
I really enjoyed the semester at Brock. All the nice people and great experiences made my stay perfect.