University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
From September 2008 to December 2008 I spent a semester abroad at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax. To give you a little insight, I would like to report a little bit about my experiences. Check existingcountries.com to see New Zealand higher education.
From the beginning I knew that I wanted to spend a few months abroad. Then, by chance, I came across the MicroEdu homepage. After looking through the offers, I decided on the university in Halifax, as I had already read an interesting report about it. The semester should start in September 2008. I did not send off the application, which consisted of a short form, until May 2008. Despite the short period of time, the application phase went quickly and smoothly – thanks to MicroEdu.
MicroEdu provided me with all the necessary information and answered each of my emails in detail and with a lot of patience. I am very grateful for this help. Applying privately to a foreign university would certainly not have gone so smoothly and easily.
The course selection takes place online about 1-2 months before the start of the university. You can find out about the courses either online or with the help of the course book that College-Conact will send you. When I registered online for the courses, it said that you should be online in time for the activation of the registration in order to secure the courses you want. In my experience, fewer students rushed into the courses, so I was able to choose my courses in peace. Of course, this can vary from course to course, so I would advise not to take any risks and instead be online in time for activation.
You will find out the rest on site. The “Orientation
Week” for internationals at the beginning of the semester. If it is possible for you, I would definitely be there in time to make initial contacts and get to know the university and Halifax.
Otherwise, only the packed suitcase and the flight tickets are missing for the preparation! I wouldn’t pack too much…because I’ve had the experience myself that you shop far too much and therefore have to throw away a lot of your old things in Halifax because the suitcases just don’t want to close…J
Flight tickets can be booked cheaply through Condor, but Condor only flies in summer. It is best to book the outward flight and wait with the return flight until the exam dates are fixed. I had booked my return flight in Germany and then sat around in Halifax for 10 days “for nothing” while everyone around me slowly left the city in the direction of home or adventure.
I would advise booking the return flight via the USA, as it is cheaper than a direct flight.
You also have the opportunity to see New York.;)
There are three options for living in Halifax:
CAMPUS RESIDENCE: This is one of the most expensive alternatives. The rooms are very nice and clean, but often you have to buy the expensive “meal plan”. The food in the canteen is also not very healthy and also overpriced for what you get. Also, there is a lack of variety. If you get a single room, you are dependent on what the canteen has to offer, as there is no kitchen of your own.
The WGs, on the other hand, have a nice kitchen, but all Germans are often put together. This is not very helpful if you want to improve your English. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities to get to know Canadian students by living on campus or by participating in student organizations or sports groups. The proximity to the lecture rooms is very pleasant, especially in winter.
Since I had to wait a long time in vain for a reaction from the university regarding the dormitory on campus, I decided on the YMCA. Since I didn’t feel like looking for a place to live locally and preferred to make sure that I had a roof over my head, that was the easiest solution for me. The YMCA has its pros and cons. A big advantage is the location. It takes 10-15 minutes to walk to the university or 5 minutes by bus if it is on time.;) You live right next to the Public Garden and the main shopping street, Spring Garden Road. The central location is particularly advantageous after long nights of partying.;)
You can also use the fitness room, sauna, swimming pool and many sports courses as a resident of the YMCA.
Disadvantages are the kitchen, which you have to share with 20+ people, the small, sparsely furnished rooms and the lack of cleanliness.
When I first arrived I was pretty shocked. But with time you get used to everything and thanks to the many nice people you meet there, everything becomes more bearable. Mainly Germans lived in the YMCA, very few internationals and rarely Canadians.
Shared flat / host family
Some of the people I met in Canada were looking for a shared flat there and are often desperate when looking for one. In the end, however, everyone could find a place to stay. Anyone who chooses this path is probably also doing the best for their English.
The course level in Canada is mostly lower compared to Germany.
However, the effort is much higher. You have to reckon with many case studies, assignments and midterms as well as final exams.
I myself have taken courses in Financial Institutions, International Marketing and Monetary Economics.
I would not recommend Monetary Economics. It was a rather boring lecture, the professor often made mistakes and you don’t learn a lot from this course.
International Marketing was a rather undemanding course, but all the more complex. 3 tests, 4 case studies and a term project. However, if you make a little effort and don’t have too lazy group members, you can be sure of a good grade.
Financial Institutions was one of the most interesting courses with a very funny professor. If you are interested in finance and risk management, this course is highly recommended.
The high density of clubs, bars and restaurants will definitely not let you get bored. Shopping is nearby at MicMac Mall and Halifax Shopping Mall. In order to be able to enjoy the beautiful nature around Halifax, it is worth renting a car for a few weekends and visiting the national parks, Cape Breton and maybe even one or the other city (Montréal).
I really enjoyed my stay and have no regrets. Instead, I would always spend a semester abroad again. I also wish you many positive experiences and an unforgettable time.