University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The application process for the SMU looks relatively simple. All you have to do is fill out a short application form and have a letter of permission issued by the foreign representative at your home university, which shouldn’t usually be a problem. You don’t have to take a language test (which is also quite pleasant;). Check ehuacom.com to see study opportunities in Slovakia.
I went to Sobey School of Business and majored in International Business Management, Marketing Management, Human Resource Management and Industrial Relations. You have to register in advance for this. You will also receive an email from MicroEdu explaining exactly how it works. It is important that you do this as quickly as possible, because the popular courses are gone very quickly. For internationals or visiting students, a course costs $1116 plus some fees.
I have to say about the courses, the level is much lower than in Germany. So if you study normally, it’s easy to write As and Bs. However, the workload is much higher than in Germany, which should not be underestimated. If you want to have free time, I would recommend 3. I did 4, it’s still okay, but it gets pretty stressful at certain peaks, like during the midterms and towards the end, when all the group projects have to be handed in and the finals are just around the corner. The professors are really nice and you can always approach them if you have problems. However, they also assume good English, but there is also a center where you can have your essays corrected. And the structure of the courses basically looks like this:
And you should pay attention to which professors you go to. Some Chinese, Spanish or Indian don’t have very good English and it can be difficult to follow the lessons. Examples are Chankon Kim (Consumer Behaviour) and the Prof of International Marketing (I think his name is Perez). This need not be. For example, I found IBM from the Koilpillai quite good.
The International Center takes care of you on site. The university can pick you up directly from the airport. And with course matters you can contact the professors at any time. They always help, or at least try to, and are very friendly.
For accommodation, it is easiest to live on campus, although a room in the Senior Suites is recommended. However, this is comparatively very expensive (about 700 $ for a 12m² room) and without a real kitchen. The highest of feelings is a refrigerator. There’s a meal plan for that, but it’s not the best…unless you like to eat burgers and pizza non-stop.
That’s why I personally looked for something of my own, which was quite difficult. The problem was that most of them only take people for at least one year and everyone is really looking for something, especially at the beginning of the semester. Prices start from $350 (for basement room), I paid $485. It is very important to pay attention to where you are looking for something!! Because that’s where I really fell for at the beginning, because I had heard that Halifax is very safe… so it’s better not to move to Dartmouth and definitely not to the area between Barrington Street and the harbor or around Gottingen Street ( will also called “Gun street” and a month after I arrived someone was shot there).
Leisure and excursion possibilities:
The International Center of the SMU organizes an orientation week before the beginning of the semester and numerous excursions (e.g. to Peggy’s Cove and McNabb’s Island) and events (e.g. Thanksgiving Dinner) – some of them free of charge or for a small surcharge. Otherwise, there is a free gym right on campus and various sports teams that you can join or just watch games – personally I was at the first football game of the Huskies (the SMU team). You should definitely take it with you. There is also a pub and the good thing if you live out of town is that the Husky Patrol will drive you home for free until 12.30pm, except on Saturdays.
Of course, there is also a lot to experience outside of the university. There are malls (one in Halifax, one in Dartmouth), sports facilities (many go jogging at Point Pleasant Park and the sea views are amazing), a harbor market, boat tours, restaurants and plenty of pubs. The Haligonians are particularly proud of them and there is basically a promotion with happy hour or special prices almost every evening somewhere. There aren’t that many good ones there and you have to get used to the fact that the nights don’t get too long (pubs usually close at 1, even if there’s still a lot going on). And you always have to remember to take at least one or better two pieces of ID with you (Perso, Uni-ID-card…), otherwise you can get past the bouncers yourself.
If you have the opportunity to rent a car, Cape Breton (a national park about 300 or 400 km from Halifax) is definitely recommended, but only in summer. I was there at the end of September and it was so windy that I couldn’t even get out and go hiking properly. Or you drive to Lunenburg, a former German settlement, the coast on the way there is really fantastic.
General Do’s & Don’ts:
In general, you can say that you should always be as friendly as possible, because Germans are already known there for their directness. You just have to get used to the fact that Canadians have a completely different mentality. They are much more relaxed and open than Germans, but this can also have the effect that important group presentations tend to be improvised or only finished 10 minutes before the lecture, or that people often come to group meetings too late or not at all.
It is recommended to organize a private international health insurance, because the one from the university is far too expensive and you can cancel it right at the beginning of the semester on site.
Flights should be researched well, because Condor only flies directly to Halifax in summer and the return flight costs quite a lot. It is best to choose a combination with a return flight.
In order to save bank fees when withdrawing money, you should set up a so-called “young” account, which you can do for free at Scotia Bank.
What you are not allowed to do is drink in public (i.e. on the street), you can even go to prison for that.