University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I am very happy to write this report, because before I went to Halifax – the reports of the former SMU students helped me a lot and maybe I can give one or the other a few tips. Check jibin123.com to see 10 reasons to study in turkey. I studied one semester at the SMU, from September to December 2009. I would like to anticipate one thing – it was a great time that I wouldn’t want to miss!
At this point – many thanks to MicroEdu, because the whole registration procedure went smoothly and very easily! The colleagues from MicroEdu send all the necessary documents and information. I filled out the registration forms and after 3 weeks I received the letter of admission from the university. If you are applying for an international student loan, I recommend submitting the student loan application to the Studentenwerk Thüringen no later than 4-5 months before your departure (MicroEdu will provide you with the necessary student loan forms). Then you have to apply for travel health insurance abroad (tip: ADAC has a good price/performance ratio). If you don’t apply for insurance in Germany – you can pay 900 CAD on site. I booked the outward flight with Condor – they fly non-stop from Frankfurt to Halifax from May to mid-October. the ticket prices are relatively cheap, the service is quite okay! At this point I recommend booking the return flight on site, because the dates for the final exams will not be announced until the beginning of the semester. Anyone who goes to the SMU for a semester does not need a visa!
Halifax is not a big city and the distances are accordingly manageable. The city center is rather small and if you want to go on a shopping spree, you should either go to the Halifax Shopping Center or to the Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth. Speaking of driving: the transport connection is very good, there are countless bus lines. The bus ticket is included in the tuition fees, so you are very mobile. Halifax itself can be visited in one day, the tourist highlights are the Waterfront, Pier 21, Citadel, Maritime Museum, Spring Garden Road. There is a beautiful park near the university called Point Pleasant Park – with lots of squirrels. But what makes the city so unique (for me) is the people! Do an experiment: stand on any street downtown with the city map and act as if you are looking for a street – after 2 minutes at the latest you will have a Canadian at your side who will explain the city map to you, show you the necessary street and a small talk of 10 minutes! The people are more than friendly and are very accommodating. Whether in the supermarket, at the gas station, at the university – the people are very courteous and very friendly!
The question arises for every student: on- or off-campus? I chose the first alternative and stayed in a senior suite at the Loyola Residence, which I have absolutely no regrets about! Living on-campus has several advantages: from the shower to the classroom it takes max. 5 minutes and the cool thing is – you don’t even have to go outside, because the campus buildings are connected to each other underground. In the residence you will of course meet a lot of Canadians and other international students with whom you can hang out. I lived in my senior suite with 2 Canadians and an Arabic colleague. We had a shared kitchen and two washrooms, with bath/toilet. Everyone had their own room. If you stay in the Senior Suite, you don’t have to use the meal plan – I had a dinner card that you can load with dollars, like a kind of prepaid card, and then you can eat anywhere on campus. The food in the canteen was described here in the reviews as not being that good – for my part I can say that I really liked the canteen. You only pay once per meal and you can eat as much as you want (all you can eat)! Pizza, pasta, Asian, salads, soups, sweets, drinks… the selection is very large and everyone will find something to their taste ! It is a bit cheaper to look for an apartment off-campus, but the search for an apartment or shared flat is not always easy and you should plan some time. For those who arrive earlier, I recommend the hostel on Barrington Street, near the Westin Hotel.
Small, compact and cozy! That’s how I would describe the SMU. The groups are very small, comparable to our schools. You have a direct line to the professors, who, by the way, are all very nice and motivated. The level of the courses is on average lower than at German universities, but the effort is a lot greater! Not a week goes by without assignments, papers, presentations… you have to be prepared for that! But if you work a little hard and do something for the university between parties – you’ll go home with A’s and B’s. I had 3 courses: Management Information Systems (interesting!), Comparative Economic Systems (very good!), Financial Institutions (only financial math and the professor left a lot to be desired)!
There is a huge selection for all sports freaks at the SMU – from football to squash to hockey! The gym is in the SMU Tower, with a sauna (all free of charge!). There is a large library where you can study in peace, as well as a 24-hour PC library where more students sit at night than during the day! The atmosphere on campus is generally very relaxed and at home, you see each other, you know each other and you identify with the university, which you can see from the SMU shirts and sweaters of the students! Compared to Germany, help is available on every corner here, no matter what questions or problems you have. Terms such as stress and pressure are not known here!
A FEW TIPPS:
- Cell Phone: The cheapest option is a cell phone bundle from PC (Presidents Choice) available at the Atlantic Superstore. It is a mobile phone with an integrated SIM card. Compared to other providers, you only pay for outgoing calls here. Calls within Canada cost 20c/min and an SMS to Germany costs 25 Canadian cents! The mobile phone costs $50 once, including starting credit (the cheapest model)!
- Nova Scotia ID: ID is required in any pub or club. If you are not from Canada, you should carry two photo IDs OR apply for a Nova Scotia ID. This fun costs about $15 and you can get it at Halifax Shoppings Center – that makes you an official citizen of the province of Nova Scotia and has no problem going out!
- Travel/rental car: I drove over 20,000km in 4 months (Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec, New York, Boston, PEI, Cape Breton, all of Nova Scotia) and can recommend Alamo as a rental car company. If you have an ISIC card, you can rent cars very cheaply through the Alamo!
- Travel: travel as much as you can because there is a lot to see! If you have questions about specific goals – write me!
- Bank: Deutsche Bank customers withdraw money from Scotiabank ATMs for free, a VISA or Mastercard is a MUST!