University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The application process at the SMU was quite simple. All you have to do is fill out an application form over several pages. There are also precise instructions from MicroEdu, so it was no problem at all to fill out the form in English. I was also supported by MicroEdu with all other questions in advance. Katharina in particular takes care of the Canadian students and she was able to help me with any request. Check iamaccepted.com to see South Africa higher education.
Studies & Courses
The courses are chosen in advance. So there was less stress on site. I had to choose four courses to get the credit points I needed at my German university. I didn’t have any restrictions when it came to choosing a course, but since I’m studying retail management, I decided on four courses in the business area: Atlantic Economy, International Economic Issues, Marketing Research and Strategic Management.
I chose Atlantic Economy because I found it interesting not only to take the usual business courses, but also to learn more about the Canadian economy. The lecturer was an older gentleman with a lot of experience, so he was able to tell a lot. I liked going to this lecture because it was really interesting and, above all, quite funny with him. The nice thing about this course was that there was no final. We only had to prepare three assignments and a few short presentations. The topics were always announced two to three weeks in advance, so that there was still enough time. I found that very pleasant and, in my opinion, it is quite easy to get good grades in this subject, provided you also do the research work.
International Economic Issues has a very strong focus on economics. Accordingly, it was very theoretical. I already knew a lot from my micro and macro lectures. The lecturer preferred using slides and writing down all the important notes throughout the lecture. However, if you didn’t take notes, you didn’t have any notes. Overall, we only received three handouts that should summarize the most important things. In this subject we had to write four assignments. The tasks were always given out on time. The good thing was that you could work together in groups of up to three people. Since I took the course with two other German girls, we were able to form a group and divided the work between us. The group then gets an overall grade. We also wrote a midterm and a final. Overall, I found this course rather boring, especially compared to my other courses. In this subject you should buy a book, which costs just $200 as the latest edition. But since the book is not used at all in the lecture, I ordered an older version for only $50 from Amazon. It was really helpful for learning.
Since I am interested in market research and wanted to delve deeper into this topic, I chose Marketing Research. In itself, the course was quite interesting, since various market research methods are explained at the beginning and at the end the test design and implementation are detailed, right through to evaluation with the help of a program. The lecturer was very nice, however, he uses rather outdated examples and judges quite strictly. For this reason I would rather advise against this course. It will certainly not be the case in general, but I also had difficulties with my group in this course. A project has to be processed in two steps. The first report served more as background information and the second part was a further, more detailed elaboration, on the basis of which a presentation should also be made at the end, which also had to be presented with the whole group. My group almost always did everything at the last minute, communication wasn’t always easy and agreements weren’t always kept. A book should also be purchased here, which again was quite expensive. There is also a book group on Facebook where students sell their used books. So I got an older version here for only $20. So before you make an expensive purchase, be sure to take a look there first.
Strategic Management, on the other hand, I found super exciting again. However, this is a 4th year course so may not be suitable/eligible for everyone. The lecturer was rather younger in comparison, rich in knowledge and super motivated. For this lecture you needed a specially made course book, which you could only get in the bookstore of the SMU. Fortunately, this only cost $20. In addition, I had to register with TopHat, which also cost about $30 again, because the lecturer used it to determine attendance and to conduct various question and answer sessions and evaluations with it. The first part of the lecture was always used for the theoretical basis of the different models. A few practical examples have also been used here. In the second half there was always a group presentation, which referred to a specific practice company. The case studies could all be found in the course book. The groups were assigned directly in the first lecture. Everyone had to read the case and the groups that didn’t have to present had the task of asking three questions about each example, which were put to the group at the end of the presentation. In addition to the case studies, two short tests of around 15 minutes and a final were written. So the course was quite demanding, but still very exciting.
I didn’t really have a specific request, so I needed help urgently, but the student center is responsible for international students and is happy to help.
Since I found the rooms in the residence quite expensive, but didn’t really want to share an apartment with other Germans so that I could improve my English and get in touch with other students more quickly, I looked for a room on Airbnb. I had tried it first via kijiji.ca. But many rooms here were unfurnished or I didn’t get any feedback at all. With Airbnb I quickly found a pretty nice room downtown. So I was very close to the port, had lots of clubs, restaurants, the supermarket and the bus stop nearby, but it also only took me 20 minutes to walk to SMU. This was my first Airbnb experience, but it’s a very positive one. I had two other Canadian roommates in the house. I had to share the bathroom with my roommate and the kitchen was shared with the whole house. I always did something with my Canadian roommate. So I was able to get a closer look at Canadian culture, which I thought was really cool.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
The SMU and the student center offer many events.At the beginning there was lunch with the President (By the way, Rob is very nice and is very interested in his international students) and the acceptance into the SMU community was also done very nicely. Every Wednesday there is a pub night in Groosebrook, the campus pub, and on certain occasions there is also a special party, e.g. semester opening, St Patrick’s Day or semester closing. Most events can also be found on Facebook. Be sure to check out the Facebook events in Halifax anyway, as there’s a lot going on. In Halifax itself there are many pubs, live music is often played there and it’s really good. The Lower Deck at the harbor is always very popular on Sundays. However, many clubs close at 2 a.m. Only Cheers/Dome and Toothy Moose stay open until 4am.
Nova Scotia itself also offers many attractions and nice spots to relax. If you’re a small group, ideally renting a car is a good idea, as bus connections aren’t that great outside of Halifax.
- In Halifax itself you should check out the Harbour, Public Garden, Citadel Hill and Point Pleasent Park. If you are interested in museums, the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic at the harbor and the Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 would also be interesting for you.
- Dartmouth is just across the harbor from Halifax City. On a nice day you can take the ferry over there and enjoy the skyline.
- Rainbow Heaven Beach, Lawrencetown Beach or Crystal Crescent Beach are pretty good for a day at the beach.
- Peggy’s Cove is not that far from Halifax and is great for a day trip. The lighthouse there is almost the trademark.
- Cape Breton has a great landscape and especially on the Carbot Trail you have super nice views.
- Sugar Moon Farm is practically on the way to Cape Breton. The world-famous Maple Syrup is made there. On the one hand you can have a great breakfast there and on the other hand you can also register for a guided tour.
- No Wegbier, because it costs!
- If you rent a car, stick to the speed limit;)