Saint Mary's University Review (33)

Saint Mary’s University Review (33)

University: Saint Mary’s University

Country: Canada

Continent: North America

Field of study: Business

Study type: semester abroad


It was already clear to me at the beginning of my studies that I wanted to do a semester abroad in an English-speaking country. The motivation for this stems from the fact that nowadays it is almost a must for business graduates and economists to have spent at least one semester abroad. In addition, good to very good knowledge of English is required everywhere on the job market. Due to the fact that the winter semester in Canada runs from January to the end of April and you don’t miss much of the summer semester in Germany, it was n’t difficult for me to choose Canada as my host country. When choosing the host university What was particularly important to me was that the university had an excellent reputation, offered a wide range of courses and was located in an interesting and not too small town. With Saint Mary’s University I have found a renowned university that meets my search criteria. Check to see what do you need to work and study abroad opportunities.


The application turned out to be much easier than expected. All you had to do was submit a DAAD language certificate, a completed form, a language certificate that certifies at least English language skills at level B2, and a transcript of grades from the University of Marburg. I mailed all the necessary documents to MicroEdu. Two weeks after I sent off the application documents, I received the acceptance as a “visiting student” for the winter semester 2016 from Saint Mary’s University. MicroEdu then sent me a detailed information sheet regarding course selection, payment of tuition and Accommodation options available in Halifax. The choice of course also turned out to be extremely uncomplicated. Saint Mary’s University has a self-service platform (self-service banner) that you can use to register for courses long before the start of the semester, which you can then take with a very high probability. The so-called “course crashing”, as known from US universities, is therefore spared and you can get into the courses that you want to take.

Course fees for Business Administration / Economics courses are around $1200 CAD. If you choose 3 or 4 courses, however, these are usually covered completely or to a large extent by the foreign BAföG. A visa was not required for my stay in Canada, since as a German citizen you can stay in Canada for a maximum of 6 months without a visa (as of December 2015).

Accommodation / Insurance

Saint Mary ‘s University is a campus universityand offers rooms on campus. These are also rented out to exchange and guest students. However, I made a conscious decision not to have a room on campus. According to reviews, the rooms are not in very good condition and are also overpriced ($700-900 CAD). I decided to look for my accommodation on site first. At the beginning I stayed in a hostel while looking for rooms. There were a lot of interesting offers on the website. However, many landlords refused to rent their rooms for just 5 months. Rental costs in Halifax are significantly higher than in Marburg and Germany and range between $650-$900 CAD. I am lucky enough to meet a nice Canadian familythrough Kijiji.comcame across who was willing to take me in for 5 months. The rent was 600$ CAD (approx. 400 euros) per month and was even comparatively cheap. I had a bus stop right in front of the front door, so the connection to the university was very good.

Every guest student is obliged to take out health insurance (“health coverage”), which must be valid for the entire semester. The university offers comprehensive insurance, but it’s overpriced at around $600 CAD. Before I started my trip, I decided to take out health insurance with Hanse Merkur, which offers special health insurance for semesters abroad at student rates. The insurance has been recognized by Saint Mary’s University.

The host university

With almost 7200 students, Saint Mary’s University is a relatively small university, which is known nationwide for its economics department . The reception was very warm. Saint Mary’s University offers a free airport pick-up service. All you have to do is fill out an online form a week before you arrive in Canada. After arrival there was a two-day orientation phase. Students from Saint Mary’s University showed us the most important places on campusand there were also some get-to-know-you events on campus and in some downtown bars and restaurants. This was a very nice start, because you could get to know the city and your fellow students right from the start.

The majority of students at Saint Mary’s University are not originally from Canada. A large proportion of the foreign students come from China, India, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Mexico, which means that all possible languages ​​from Arabic to Mandarin to Spanish are omnipresent in the corridors and in the cafeteria of the university.

Regarding the course itself, it can be said that it is much more school-based than in Germany. The lectures take place in small rooms with mostly 40-60 students, which means that after a few weeks the professors know the names of all students. I have decided to take a total of four courses, which are described in more detail below. I found the workload at Saint Mary’s University to be much higher than in Germany. This is because almost every lecture tested you with a ten- to twenty-minute quiz, which required you to review each lecture and prepare properly for each lecture. Furthermore, there was significantly more group work and presentations than in Germany. However, this also gives yougot to know many fellow students, which made the course less anonymous. In addition, you also had to write a large number of assignments, which had to be prepared in a relatively short time and were more or less time-consuming depending on the subject. In addition, you write a total of two exams per course, a mid-term exam, which usually accounts for between 25 and 30 percent of the course grade, and a final exam, whose weight is between 30 and 45 percent. I cannot confirm the statement that one often reads in some experience reports that the level of the courses in Canada is consistently lower than in Germany. Rather, the level depends heavily on the professors, who have different demands on their students.

In Canada, professors tend to work with the latest editions of books, and it is essential for all students to acquire the latest editions in order to pass the courses. This is very costly as textbooks are very expensive in Canada. In my case, the books cost between $70 and $155 CAD. However, you could sell them to fellow students at the end of the semester.

Saint Mary ‘s University has a large and very well-equipped fitness studio, which can be used without additional fees. The dance and fitness classes offered at the gym are also included in the tuition. The university also has a large sports field where you can join soccer, rugby or American football courses at any time.


Introduction to Managerial Accounting ACCT 2242, Donna Gunn, CPA, CA

Quite a complex course with many assignments and quizzes. However, the exams were fair in terms of time and content

Microeconomics ECON 1201, Adam Ganim, PhD

By far the most demanding but at the same time most instructive course. There were a lot of unannounced quizzes that could only be passed with a very good understanding and a lot of practice. The two exams (mid-term and final exam) were also very demanding.

Computer Applications CISY 1225, Zeiying Wan, PhD

Course in which the handling of Excel and Access was taught in detail. All in all, a very instructive and useful course, as it is very practice-oriented. However, the final exam did not take place on the PC, but in paper form, which was very confusing and unusual.

Introduction to Marketing MKTG 2270, Miguel Morales, PhD

This was certainly the most complex course with a lot of assignments, group work and presentations. Very high reading effort. However, you have learned a lot about various Canadian industries here. The final exam was very easy, as only pure knowledge was required.

The city of Halifax

With around 350,000 inhabitants, Halifax is a medium-sized Canadian city and the capital of the province of Nova Scotia and at the same time the largest city in the province. The closest major cities are Montreal and Boston in the USA. Located on the Atlantic Ocean, Halifax is a port city. Halifax Harbor has a beautiful boardwalk that is great for strolling. Halifax Harbor also has a large number of restaurants offering fish and chips and especially the lobster that Halifax is known for throughout Canada. In addition to the port, Halifax also offers a nice and clean downtown (downtown) with numerous high-rise buildings, which makes Halifax feel like a big city despite its small size. Halifax also offers two very large shopping centers, many cinemas and a long street with bars, restaurants and clubs, which means that nightlife in Halifax has never been neglected.

If you want to enjoy the nature of Nova Scotia, you should definitely take a trip to nearby Cape Breton and Pegy’s Cove. Those who prefer to visit a large Canadian city should fly to Toronto or Montreal. Flights from Halifax to Toronto or Montreal cost around $300-$350 CAD when booked in advance. All in all, Halifax is a city where you meet a lot of young people, especially students, and where it never gets boring.

As for the climate, I can say in general that I imagined the winter in Halifax to be much worse. Between January and April there were only two severe blizzards with temperatures around -20 degrees and about one meter of snow. With such heavy snowfall, the university closes and in my case even an exam was postponed because of a blizzard. Otherwise there was occasional light snowfall and hardly any rain. The temperatures were mostly between 0 and -4 degrees, which made the winter not worse than in Germany.

Halifax is an extremely expensive city. This applies specifically to groceries, restaurant and bar visits, rental costs and public transport. However, the university gives you a bus pass that allows you to use public transport in Halifax, including the bus and ferry from Halifax to Darthmouth, free of charge. Only branded clothing is much cheaper than in Germany. My monthly expenses for rent, groceries and excursions averaged around $950 CAD and were therefore significantly higher than in Germany.

Overall appreciation of my stay abroad

I’m very satisfied with my semester abroad in Halifax and don’t regret for a second having studied in Halifax. Studying at Saint Mary’s University was very learning intensive, but at the same time I made many new friends with people from many different countries. I have learned to work in a group with people from different cultures, which will definitely benefit me later in my professional life. I was also able to acquire a great deal of specialist knowledge during this time and improve my business English significantly. Through the semester abroad in Canada, where very high tuition fees are charged, I have learned to appreciate the German fee-free study system. During my time in Canada I was able to get to know a beautiful and huge country with a very friendly and courteous population. I would recommend Saint Mary’s as a host university and Halifax as a place of study to anyone planning to study abroad. However, one should be aware that a semester abroad in Canada is anything but cheap.

Saint Mary's University Review (33)