University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business Informatics
Study type: semester abroad
Here I would like to tell you a little bit about my stay in Halifax. I was at SMU for a semester from September to December and applying via MicroEdu was very quick and easy. As far as I know everyone has been accepted at SMU so don’t worry. Check existingcountries.com to see vocational training in Sweden.
Since the bachelor’s degree at SMU takes 4 years, I was fortunate as a master’s student to be able to take courses from the 7th and 8th bachelor’s semester and have them recognised. I did Human Resource Management, Marketing Management and Business Consultancy courses (which is an MBA course though). Human resource management was not really demanding with a somewhat crazy but very nice lecturer and like marketing management. Business Consultancy consisted only of group work and capturing a market study for a real client based in USA and Canada. The course was about carrying out a project as a consultant on a real customer. Unfortunately, because I had very incompetent and lazy group members, I did relatively poorly on the course. I wouldn’t recommend him either
The university in Canada is very different, e.g. in class size or entitlement. Lessons are taught like in school with 20-30 people, whereby the lecturer usually knows you by name. The level cannot be compared to my university either. The material covered was very simple and although it was one of the last courses in marketing, I did the basics there, which I already covered in my first lecture in the bachelor’s degree. Unfortunately, like in school, you have to do a lot for the university. You have to hand in weekly assignments and homework, read books and take tests. Unfortunately, this takes a lot of time, although the material itself is not difficult.
The SMU is very nice, well located (close to the park and the sea) and easy to reach by bus. The whole university is very new, well equipped, has its own gym (where you can train for free) and its own football field, where the huskies play regularly.
I stayed at the AST, which at $400 was very cheap for Halifax. The room was ok in size (about 10 square meters), but you share a bathroom and the kitchen with the other residents and everything is very old (1960s) and shabby. That’s why it was unfortunately very often dirty, especially the kitchens, which was one reason why I avoided elaborate cooking.
There were also mice in the accommodation, which was probably “normal” because it was autumn and they were now looking for warm places inside. But the accommodation is in a very nice location. If you’re lucky you’ll get a sea view room and it’s only 800 meters from SMU. The whole area around the SMU is very beautiful, lots of very big houses and very green. Clearly one of the best places to live in Halifax. I didn’t have a meal plan, which wasn’t worth it. The dishes are typically North American. A lot of fried and it happened that three out of four daily specials were burgers. Since you could have lunch there for $10 even without a meal plan, I used it for long unit days, which was enough for the whole day thanks to the all-you-can-eat concept.
Halifax is a beautiful city. Relatively cozy and small, but always something going on. There were plenty of opportunities to celebrate and there were specials for students almost every day. Of course there is alcohol and entry only after what feels like three passes with different IDs, but you get used to that. But be sure to get a Nova Scotia ID, the official ID of Nova Scotia and valid nationwide. Because otherwise you always have to show your passport at the Unipub and take it with you and it is guaranteed not to survive 4 months.
The costs for the semester were quite high. The rent there is quite expensive, but so is alcohol and entrance fees. However, food is also very expensive and of course of good North American “quality”. You also pay twice as much per course as the locals, but as an international you are also offered a lot and you have very, very good support. Also, books averaging $150 “have to” be added to each course. In one subject I really needed the book, in the other I didn’t even look into it and therefore spent money there for nothing. At least you can sell the books to the SMU university bookshop for half the price.
The university had a lot of international students. A lot of Asians were there, but unfortunately also a lot of Germans. So think carefully about whether you want to go to the SMU just to learn English, because when there are Germans there, you speak German. Of course, my English has improved, but unfortunately not as much as I had hoped. Despite all that, I can only recommend Halifax. The city is great, the country anyway and I’ve met some very good friends with whom I’m still in touch because they’re also German. I don’t want to miss the time and would do it again and again and can only encourage everyone to do a semester abroad. Preferably at the SMU and for a year, of course, because then the time won’t go by so quickly : 0)