University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: economics
Study type: semester abroad
At the beginning of the semester there is an orientation week especially for foreign students. It’s for freshmen, though (and they’re usually 17 in Halifax). If you don’t go, you won’t really miss anything, because particularly general things that are important for your studies are explained. For example, it is explained that you always have to do your homework and that you can contact us if you have problems, which is certainly important for the young freshmen. And of course you get to know people. I only visited the first day with a few others and used the rest of the week for an excursion. It didn’t cause me any problems during my studies and I think that was fine. Check existingcountries.com to see Sweden higher education.
The lessons are designed a little differently than in Germany. Each course takes place twice a week for 75 minutes. Classes are very small, mostly 20-40 students, which makes learning very enjoyable. The courses are based heavily on quantity. And it starts in the first week of study. In each of my three courses I had to do 2 assignments and wrote two intermediate tests. Finally, there was a final test for each course. Since I only had three courses, the effort was of course limited. But you should plan three to four days a week for three courses. Canadians typically take five courses. Ultimately, the grades of the German students were very good. I was recognized for the 414 International Trade course for foreign trade.
However, it is difficult to get into the right courses. First of all, you register online. A week before the start of the course there is a kind of swap meet. If you want to go to a course that is full, sit in front of a screen and wait until the course is finally free. Then you run to register and hope that nobody is standing in front of you who also wants the course. The whole thing is quite annoying and can drag on for a whole week. I also tried to get into a course through a professor. But the professors have nothing to say about the courses, everything runs through the chairman of the department, who don’t take jokes and don’t take bribes (not that I would have tried). In the end, the courses worked out. Some only listen to the first lecture and then switch, so that places become free again. However, you then miss the first week of lectures. That’s why I recommend everyone to clarify before departure which courses may be recognized in order to have enough alternatives! A course cost 1050 CAN$. There were also a few fees, so I paid a total of 3300 CAN$ to the university.
The city of Halifax is very nice. The core has about 110,000 inhabitants. The parties are almost all downtown. There are a lot of pubs, some discotheques and of course private parties, so you won’t get bored in four months. The surrounding area also has a lot to offer. Don’t miss the Cape Breton National Park. There are also good offers for kayaking. You only have to drive fifteen minutes outside of the city. There is also another national park whose name I just forgot. The university always offers day trips, some of which are very nice.
That’s why you meet Germans everywhere at the university. At the beginning you are also happy to meet someone with whom you can speak German. For the language, however, it is not so conducive. Some Germans also had German roommates, so they hardly spoke English.
It is also very advisable to get an apartment before you leave. There can be absolutely no question of the indicated relaxed residential area in Halifax. It’s especially difficult if you’re only going to Halifax for a semester, as many landlords only rent for a year. The housing office of the university can’t really help you either. The ads are so old that the landlords no longer respond to e-mails and you can’t reach much on the phone, since most of them let an AB run. I got an answer to about ten inquiries after four weeks that the apartment was rented. In their distress, some Germans paid CAN$ 600 for the last room. Or they lived at the end of town so that the bus ride to the university took an hour. I would say, that the prices for the rents paid were between 400 and 600 CAN$. It’s best to arrange everything beforehand and only move in with Canadians!
Looking back, I have to say that the stay abroad was personally very beneficial for me.