University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: Political Science, Linguistics and Cultural Studies
Study type: semester abroad
Late August: In a truly comfortable van (provided by Halifax International Airport’s Ground Transportation Service by pre-registering online with SMU International Orientation Service with the kind assistance of Ysaac Rodriguez) from the airport to Downtown Halifax. The weather is unexpectedly warm and sunny, revealing the city as a friendly, colorful place with no two houses alike. It’s a ten-minute walk from the university to downtown, and a little closer to the nearest Sobeys or Atlantic Superstore, the two most visited supermarkets by Canadian students alongside Walmart and the $1 store. But if you don’t want to walk with your shopping bags or just want to drive to the next larger shopping center, simply take one of the four bus lines. Check existingcountries.com to see 10 best medical schools in Europe.
The beautiful public parks and the dreamy view of the ocean are always good for the spirit. The view is best admired from the 16th floor of the Rice dorm right on the campus of Saint Mary’s University, where it was a good idea to apply a year in advance. Once the accommodation has been secured, you can really study and live carefree. But even if you arrive without a place in one of the three clean and spacious halls of residence on the Halifax campus, you are far from lost, but usually find a wonderful host family or host parents within the first two weeks, who are willing to offer around 500 CDN $ per month (including telephone and TV in your own room, electricity, gas and water and of course three warm meals plus snacks and packed lunches) will take care of you warmly and caringly. My homestay was of course a stroke of luck and I learned about them from other international students who had spent three months or more with this lovely couple and now wanted to find “next tenants” out of gratitude. The fact that I needed a homestay at all, when I was actually housed on campus, is thanks to the small print on the contract with the residence department of the university, which stipulated that every resident of the residence had to vacate the room within 24 hours after the last exam, but no later than December 18, because from this date there will officially be no more exams in the fall semester and the university will be closed for the Christmas holidays. You could stay in the dormitory during the holidays for an extra charge, where which international specialties are best and cheapest to prepare, and of course these nice people can also help you find an apartment. Hence my stay with the host family until Christmas, which was traditionally celebrated festively and warmly as always and with best wishes and the invitation to drop by again, then off to Vancouver Island on the west coast, where I spent the rest of the year peacefully with friends. Flying on public holidays is generally bad and stressful, but since the prices with the big providers like Air Canada or Westjet drop correspondingly low, it was worth considering, as in my case. You could always find what you were looking for on the internet, but the Student Travel travel agency on campus also had cheap offers from time to time. A tip for payment:
No order in these memoirs, but a fairly clear reminder of the orderly conduct of the courses at the university, all of which were enriching personal experiences, and despite the inevitably high International Differential Fees (Internationals always pay double the amount per Canadian compared to Canadians). course) had invaluable personal learning value, because the high costs may have created a completely different learning atmosphere in the seminars and the teaching staff was always available to each of the maximum of 20-25 seminar participants, often in a friendly manner, with advice and action, even outside of the classroom Office hours and sometimes even with invitations to your home to talk about a variety of things over coffee and pumpkin pie.
The SMU International Center did not skimp on invitations and events for international students either, which used emails to draw attention to this and that festival or activity, which you could usually take part in free of charge, such as the bus trip to Canada’s most famous lighthouse, Peggy’s Cove, or to the Annapolis Valley for free apple picking. Also on Thanksgiving, which is celebrated in Canada just like in the USA with a lot of effort, lights, pumpkins, sweets and decorations on people and houses, the university has worked hard for the international students and prepared a huge warm buffet – with turkey and cranberry sauce and of course the much-vaunted pumpkin pie and other goodies.
I also admired the sincere effort that the students themselves put into the public charitable activities of their associations. Fundraising for NGO projects took place almost every week, mostly in the popular Gorsebrook Pub on campus, where bands were invited and toasted to the famous Alexander Keith and his 100-year-old beer, while donations flowed and discussions about improving the need in the world flared up. For example, a course leader (she herself was UN ambassador to three African countries at the time) invited us to such a fundraising event (as an additional improvement to our grade). So the course organized the entire event to support orphanages for HIV-infected children in Africa.
In another course, as part of an experiment, we were given the opportunity to take part in anthropological field work throughout the semester. All experiences that are worth their weight in gold.
The fact that we got into the desired courses was also thanks in large part to the coordinator in the registrar office, Paul Dixon, with whom we had also emailed months before through MicroEdu. And it was also possible to talk to really everyone from the teaching staff, and special crediting options under the different conditions for our home universities were also regulated from person to person. There is also a general “trial period” for all students until the date the tuition is due, around 10 days after the courses start, so that until then you can drop the superfluous courses from all the courses you have attended without having to pay.
As far as the official transcript at the end is concerned, it is advisable (if you are writing term papers instead of exams, as in my case) to comply with the submission deadlines (personally agreed extensions are common here), because the creation of this transcript takes a few working days, However, the university is already closing its doors on December 22nd and will only continue working next year. If you want to get your hands on these official transcripts personally at the Registrar Office, go there early and apply for one for a $5 creation fee and take it home with you. Sending the transcript from SMU directly to our home universities would cost us an additional $40. Otherwise, Paul Dixon always helps.
The weekly panel discussions with international guests, such as the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, take place in the university’s older McNally complex. In addition, more than 30 computers with internet and printers are available 24/7 in the computer lab. All of these premises can be reached without being exposed to the winter weather as these buildings are connected by corridors. On the way from one complex to the next, even to the dry accessible library, there are always vending machines with drinks and snacks and indeed the ever popular Tim Hortons Cafe with muffins, coffee…
Not only in hindsight, Halifax is a friendly, traditionally Nova Scotian seaside city with students from all over Canada and abroad, where every day you get something unforgettable to see, especially for the privacy of your studies. You just mingle openly with the crowd.