University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: English / American Studies
Study type: semester abroad
I am studying to become a high school teacher and spent my semester abroad at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax from the beginning of September to the end of December 2011. The first few days I slept in the Hi-Hostel, which is recommended. Then I moved into the residence of the university. Since the people in Canada are incredibly nice and many internationals also spend their semester abroad at Smu, it was easy to make friends and the early days were made a lot easier. Check jibin123.com to see how do I get a New Zealand student visa.
The support from MicroEdu was great. After I decided to apply to Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, the entire application process went smoothly thanks to MicroEdu. The team was always available for questions of any kind. E-mails were answered promptly and the advice on the phone was also very helpful. I would choose again and again to plan my semester abroad with MicroEdu.
I stayed in one of the three residences during my stay. These are directly on campus and all connected to each other. When it was raining it was even possible to walk to lectures without leaving the house;)
I stayed in the Vanier Residence in a single room. The facility contains everything you need and you usually share a bathroom with 5 others. Those staying in the Vanier Residence must purchase the Meal Plan, just like the residents of the Loyola Residence. Those who prefer to cook for themselves are better off in the Rice Residence, as there is a kitchen shared with the floormates.
The food in the canteen (“Dockside”) is ok. In the long run, of course, the dishes are repeated, but since there is quite a lot to choose from, it shouldn’t be a problem to put up with the Dockside for 4 months.
Since I’m studying to become a teacher of English and physical education and physical education wasn’t offered, I’ve only attended English courses. I took three courses in total, which I think was a good choice. The system of the university differs from our German universities. Here the exams are not written at the end of the semester, but the workload is spread over the entire semester. For example, in one course I had a short quiz, 2 written assignments, a presentation and an exam at the end, which only accounted for 20 percent of the overall grade. The result of this system is that although you have a fairly high workload, you can still get good grades with a little diligence.
At the beginning of the semester there is an introductory week for internationals. I found this to be very helpful because you got to know a lot of different people from different countries at the same time, with whom you did a lot during your stay. The entire staff of the university is incredibly nice and if you had any questions, you could always turn to the professors.
Halifax is a small but beautiful city. I particularly liked it because it is right by the sea. There are many small shops in the city center and a little bit outside (about 20 minutes by bus) there is a shopping center with quite a large selection.
We often went to one of the clubs at the weekend. During the week it is a good idea to visit the pubs and bars, where live music is often played.
Since the university is in a very central location and the city is not too big, as already mentioned, you can reach a lot on foot. Alternatively, the bus is also available.
If you visit Canada, you absolutely have to visit at least one national park. A park that is very close to Halifax is Kejimkujik National Park. There you can go canoeing and of course hiking. Another travel tip is Capre Breton Island and Prince Edward Island. We also went to Digby for whale watching. In addition to these smaller trips, I flew to Newfoundland for five days (flight time approx. 1.5 hours). If you love nature and would like to see moose or, with a bit of luck, bears, you’ve come to the right place!;) After the semester abroad, we flew to Miami.
All in all, I spent four incredible months in Halifax. I would choose Canada over and over again and I’m sure you will have an equally unforgettable time in Halifax if you choose SMU.