University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: geology
Study type: semester abroad
First of all, I can only say that a semester abroad is definitely worth it. For me, this was a great enrichment of my life experiences. It was very interesting to study in another country and get to know its culture. Check iamaccepted.com to see higher education in united states.
My experiences in Nova Scotia in particular have shown that Canadians are generally very friendly and helpful. So I was already taken at the airport by very nice Canadians to my accommodation.
I lived in the AST (Atlantic School of Theology). I organized my room from Germany via the Internet. The AST has plenty of accommodation for students from across Halifax, as well as professionals and families. If you prefer quiet living and also cooking your own food in a shared kitchen, this is exactly the right address, especially since the residence is located directly on the water of the Atlantic and in the immediate vicinity of the city’s largest park. For me, as a big city person from Berlin, the location of the accommodation was comparable to that of a holiday home. It is just a 7-10 minute walk to the SMU.
It is highly recommended to live off-campus. Two points in particular speak for themselves. On the one hand, you are not tied to the SMU’s meal plan, which is anything but satisfactory and disproportionately expensive. On the other hand, as a German student you are usually a few years older than the SMU residence residents, who are on average 18 years old.
Regarding the university itself, it can be said that the SMU is a relatively small, very manageable but nice and well-maintained Canadian university. The lecturers are all very nice and helpful and have always been very open and accommodating towards me as a foreign student.
The Environment Science course is highly recommended for all environmental scientists. The lecturer is very dedicated and competent. You also get a free LAB once a week. Excursions (e.g. to the drinking water treatment plant) and smaller laboratories are offered here.
The course sizes are generally almost family-like and therefore very pleasant. Most of the students are all very friendly, but probably because of their tight studies they are not very sociable when it comes to doing something privately. Joining student organizations is a great way to connect with Canadian students. I was lucky enough to meet the President of SMUES (SMU Environmental Society) in my Environment Science course, so I was able to make Canadian friends relatively quickly and was able to practice my English outside of the courses. This may sound like a matter of course, because after all English is spoken in Halifax, but the large number of German students makes this extremely difficult. Luckily, as an environmental engineering student, I was an oddity among the numerous German business administration students, so that I had no contact with Germans, at least in my courses, and was therefore forced to speak English in every respect. Therefore, my recommendation to all business administration students is: If you want to improve your English with the semester abroad in particular, only go to Halifax in the winter semester (Jan. – April) because then fewer Germans study in Halifax or rather study diligently for the TOEFL and look for yourself another university.
Good to very good grades are obtained relatively quickly and easily. In contrast to the German university system, however, you have to do your assignments every week and also prepare regularly for tests. Also quite a lot, for me it was about 100 pages per week, has to be read. But the regular tests are also comparatively simple.
In addition to the university, Halifax, as the pub capital of Canada, also has a lot to offer when it comes to going out.
The months of September and October are particularly good for weekend trips or longer trips in Nova Scotia. The Kejimkujik National Park and the Highlands in Cape Breton are highly recommended. The lecturers at the SMU are also very understanding if you, as a foreign guest student, want to take a few days off for this. Basically, a lot can be tailored to your needs with the lecturers.
After my time in Halifax, I can definitely recommend a semester abroad at SMU!