University: Brock University
City: St Catherines
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The preparation for the semester abroad was very uncomplicated. MicroEdu listed exactly what was required for the application, checked everything again and then forwarded it to Brock University. MicroEdu also took care of course descriptions that I needed to get credit for the courses at my home university and forwarded them to me. You only need a visa if you want to stay in Canada for longer than 6 months, a language test is not necessary either, so after the acceptance from Brock University, all I had to do was register for the semester abroad at my home university. Check act-test-centers.com to see top 4 law schools in Canada.
I had read in the reports that many had looked for a room on the spot and had been very lucky. I myself looked for a room on the Brock University website and was not so lucky. The price was inappropriate for the facilities compared to how other students have stayed. In addition, my landlady, who lived in the same building, wasn’t particularly friendly, but my roommates were all the nicer! I don’t know where I could have stayed during the first few days at St. Catharines if I hadn’t already had a room. There is no hostel or anything like that and commuting from Niagara Falls would have been time consuming, expensive and exhausting. Those who were looking for something on site partly lived with acquaintances. But I didn’t have any acquaintances there. I think there are both pros and cons to looking for a room in advance or on the spot. It’s much more convenient to look for something beforehand, but you can’t have a look at the room before you agree. You have to weigh that for yourself.
Mobility in and out of St Catharines
Basically, St. Catharines has a pretty decent bus system. When looking for an apartment, you should look at the bus routes (at yourbus.com) to see if there is at least one bus line nearby, because unfortunately you can’t get anywhere on foot. This is not only because the distances are too far, but often there is no footpath at all. Canadians don’t walk much and you can see that in their urban planning. I only lived about 3 km from the university, but I could only walk there on the green strip next to the main road. Also check the bus times beforehand. I couldn’t get out of my neighborhood on a Saturday afternoon or late weekday evening without a taxi. But you get used to everything and the Canadians only know it that way and get along well with it;
What is also very nice is that the Greyhound Bus or Coach Canada stop in St. Catharines and you can get to Toronto almost every hour. It’s also easy to get to Buffalo or Buffalo Airport, if only twice a day and if you don’t mind an 11-hour bus ride, you can hop directly on the bus to New York City.
Brock University stands on a fairly large site on the outskirts of St. Catherine’s. The whole area is very well maintained and I felt very comfortable there from the start. The main building is the “Tower” which can be seen from afar. Most of the important contact points are located here, the library and the buses all stop in front of this main entrance. All buildings are connected to each other and you get your orientation quite quickly. Only the International Office is on the smaller campus across the street.
In addition to the usual facilities of a university (large library, computer rooms, seminar rooms, lecture halls), the university has a very well equipped sports complex. In addition to large sports halls and smaller squash halls, there is a well-equipped gym, swimming lanes, sauna and an indoor running track. In any case, sporting activities don’t have to be neglected on the Brock.
What the university definitely lacks is a real canteen! While there are plenty of places to eat, it’s more like a mall food court, with many small food stalls such as Subways. Unfortunately, you cannot eat at student-friendly prices at the university.
I only had three courses in my semester. This is the minimum required to be enrolled as a full-time student and since tuition is per course, many exchange students have also limited themselves to these three courses. I have to say that I had more to do with three courses than in Germany with 7 courses. This is not due to the difficult subject matter, but because you have to prepare assignments, presentations or project work right from the start and the midterm tests are due in October. The achievements are all included to a significant extent in the final grade. An example from me in the Supply Chain Management course: two assignments at 10% each, a midterm at 20%, a group project at 15%, a final exam at 45%. It’s pretty busy during the entire lecture period, at least if you’re aiming for reasonable grades;) In any case, I didn’t travel as much as I thought, especially since the distances for weekend trips are often simply too far. But there will definitely be time for leisure and to discover the country! You don’t need to worry about that.
I was mostly satisfied with my courses. I had the Fluency with Technology course which was basically a beginner computer science course, the Supply Chain Management course and the best course of all was Labor Economics. I have never had an economics professor who conveyed the material in such a comprehensible and motivating way as Prof. Martinello! Highly recommended if you want to take economics courses.
I don’t want to write so much about travel, everyone knows for themselves what they would like to see. Toronto is not far and if you have a few days, Ottawa and Montreal are also no problem. Algonquin Park is also accessible (only by car!) and I was then in New York City and Washington DC (but then you should fly there). You really shouldn’t underestimate the distances between the cities, especially since as a German you’re used to different speeds on the autobahn.
All in all
I had a great time in St. Catharines, but if you primarily want to travel I would choose a different region, as the coastal region has more scenery to offer and larger cities have better connections to other travel destinations. But the course and the people I got to know were great and I would definitely recommend the university itself.