University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
I spent a semester abroad at the SMU from August to December 2008 and would like to review this great time for you. Check jibin123.com to see cost of living in Barcelona.
I’m not usually the type to arrange everything well in advance. But this time it really paid off. Thanks to the wonderful support from MicroEdu, the application modalities run relatively smoothly – all important documents are exchanged almost without any problems and upcoming appointments are pointed out. Anyone who suspects that they are entitled to foreign student loans should hurry up. The whole thing can take forever and three days and some have had to wait a long time in Canada for the money.
The subject of “accommodation” is always hotly debated in advance of semesters abroad. Here, too, I advise the motto: the early bird catches the worm. I’ve often read here in experience reports: “Just come here, you’ll find something here!” In fact, the search turned out to be more complicated than expected for one or the other. The best thing is certainly to look for a flat share with locals, which a) is quite conducive to English and b) easily helps to establish contact with Canadians, which could otherwise be more difficult.
I personally have lived at the YMCA. And well, what can I say, it’s definitely not for everyone. Without a doubt, the hygiene requirements must be reduced. No wonder, contrary to all announcements, the bathroom is not cleaned every day. And I don’t have to describe what it looks like in a kitchen used by more than 30 people. The room isn’t exactly for claustrophobes either. You can just about stand next to the bed, cupboard and table. Unfortunately, at the beginning the internet kept failing and the “responsible persons” on site didn’t always live up to their descriptions. But, I don’t want to make the Y any worse than it is. In addition to the fitness room and swimming pool, there is another big advantage: Where else do you have more than 30 neighbors? It’s also right downtown. Just around the corner is Spring Garden Road, the beginning of Halifax’s nightlife. You walk to the university in a quarter of an hour or you take the bus if you have noted the departure times – you will look in vain for plans here.
Personally, I’ve always found studying at Saint Mary’s University quite enjoyable. I took three courses and if you don’t necessarily have to take more, I strongly advise against it! The effort is much higher compared to Germany. Working in groups is also welcome. And the mean Canadian student at SMU at times tends to get things done just before the close with a kind of “I’m not coming today, I’ll be there tomorrow” mentality. Attention all those interested in marketing: If at all possible, avoid the subject “International Marketing” – far too much effort, I tell you. Always some case studies or tests. But you save on the final exam.
Incidentally, as much German is spoken at the university as everyone here reports. I would also like to emphasize this again. It’s never really bothered me, but if you want to get to know other cultures by hook or by crook, you might be better off somewhere else, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible in Halifax.
HALIFAX AND SURROUNDINGS:
The city itself has always had something of its “own charm” for me. It’s not too big and not too small and I felt at home in Halifax right from the start. What you notice as the first difference to many German places is that many residents like to leave the front door with a smile. In general, the atmosphere is much friendlier – even if it suddenly starts to rain again.
But now to what is certainly of interest to most people. It’s wonderful to party in Hali, I won’t let any doubts arise about that. After a short time you have saved all the special offers and can enjoy the Pitcher beer for a smooth $6 on Thursdays at Peddlers or sip n Vodka-O every Wednesday and Sunday at the Palace for $1. The “largest bar density” in Canada can already be felt. However, for beer fans like me it’s a small change. Unfortunately, you have to make small compromises in quality, which you also have to accept with a higher price. But the city’s Keith’s is fine.
Of course, travel should also be on your agenda. And since you’ve grazed through all the sights in Halifax quite quickly, it’s worth taking a look beyond the city limits. Nova Scotia in general is a beautiful piece of land. First and foremost, of course, is Cape Bretone. It is best to plan in late September or early October to experience the Indian Summer. You will not regret it. Peggy’s Cove and Lunenburg are also worth a day trip. Of course, it’s also a good idea to head for one or the other big city in North America if you’re already there. For example, I was also in Montreal – again recommended! On the way back, maybe stop by the USA for a moment. By the way, you can get to New York from Boston quickly and cheaply by bus.
The time in Halifax was really worth it and I didn’t regret it for a second! So: do it!