University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I made the decision to go to Saint Mary’s University Halifax fairly quickly. Firstly, I definitely wanted to go to an English-speaking country and since the UK and US often proved to be incredibly expensive, Canada presented itself as a comparatively inexpensive alternative. In addition, Canada has always been a country that fascinates me and that I really wanted to visit. The many positive reviews of the SMU in Halifax, as well as the fact that the university has a very good business administration faculty (Sobey’s School of Business) and the university does not have an expensive language test such as the TOEFL requirements quickly made SMU my favorite Canadian college. Although I had never heard of the Canadian city of Halifax before, after doing some research I immediately liked the town because of its location on the Atlantic Ocean, the many universities and its small-town charm. Check jibin123.com to see study opportunities in Serbia.
Thanks to the great support provided by MicroEdu, the application process was quick and uncomplicated. If I had any questions, I could always turn to my contact person at MicroEdu Katharina, who always answered quickly and was always able to help me. After receiving the approval, all I had to do was get my course choice approved by my German university and I was then able to book my flight to Halifax (Condor flies from Frankfurt to Halifax non-stop and at comparatively low prices).
After I heard that the places in the halls of residence are usually only given to students who stay at SMU for at least one year, I decided against applying for a place in the halls of residence. However, I also met many people who were lucky and got a place in a hall of residence despite a short stay. That’s why I can say today, just try it and apply if you would like to live in the dorm. Of course, the fact that you live directly on campus and you don’t have to step outside the door when the weather is bad, because the entire university is connected by covered passages, speaks in favor of the dormitory. However, it may well be that you have to share your room with other students and the university is not directly in the city center (especially in the evenings for partying, etc.).
In any case, I have never regretted my decision not to live on campus. I arrived in Halifax 10 days before Unistart and booked the first 7 days at the HI Hostel (highly recommended). Then it was time to start looking for a place to live. What seemed difficult at the beginning (an incredible number of international students looking for an apartment, high rents, often no rental for less than a year…), was solved super quickly and easily afterwards: After 3 days I had a really great room with a Canadian, who rents 3 rooms to students. The house was absolutely central (Barringon Street/Downtown), with a bus stop right in front of the door and my flatmates and my landlord were absolutely nice! I really felt totally at ease!
In my opinion, living downtown is a great alternative because you get away from everyday university life and usually get to know other nice people. The only downer is the dependence on the buses in Halifax. Sometimes they just don’t come at all… That’s why I would advise everyone to try to live within walking distance of the university so that they don’t necessarily have to rely on the bus in an emergency. Halifax Downtown was ideal for this, as you could also walk to the university within 20 minutes.
All in all, I didn’t meet anyone who was still without accommodation when they started university, even if you sometimes had to adjust your upper limit for the rent a bit upwards…
The SMU is a rather small, but very pretty and well-equipped campus university that is very international. The orientation week for the internationals was really well organized and one can say that the organization at the SMU works perfectly. You always quickly find a contact person who can help you if you don’t know something and, as an international, you are really well looked after. The Germans have a good reputation at the SMU anyway and that’s why professors and fellow students welcome you in a totally open and friendly way.
First of all, it has to be said here: studying in Canada (especially in the MBA ) is quite time-consuming! Of course, I also came to Canada at the beginning with the expectation that I would have a comfortable everyday university life here with just three courses, so that the time will be mainly characterized by free time, travel and celebrations… Dandelion! All three courses that I took were incredibly work-intensive and with weekly assignments, group projects or presentations you always had to stay on the ball… The bib almost became my second home. But I really have to admit that the courses were very good! All three courses were characterized by a strong practical relevanceshaped, which one is not used to from German universities and the study in Canada thus became a special experience. Through the many team projects, you also came into contact very quickly and easily with fellow Canadian students.
With the grades from the Canadian courses that are now available, I must also say that although you have to put a lot of work into the courses, this work is rewarded with almost consistently very good grades: the Canadian courses are more blatant in terms of workload than German courses, in terms of difficulty/demand, however, easier than in Germany.
My courses were as follows:
- New Venture Opportunities (Farrell): Here, a business plan for a start-up company is developed in teamwork. Very challenging.
- Leadership and Behavioral Processes (Loughlin): Here we worked with real Canadian companies to develop leadership strategies for our respective corporate partners. The course was a pilot project, so it was a bit chaotic. But all in all very interesting.
- Project Management (Schwenker): My favorite course, despite the high workload. Blocked course on four Saturdays, in which a project (a wedding) had to be planned with all the details and details in teamwork. What girl hasn’t always wanted to be a wedding planner? Creative, demanding and, with good cooperation, a guarantee for good grades.
A little tip for MBA students : Pack a “business outfit” in your suitcase, as this is often expected at presentations.
Leisure and life
Halifax is a charming little port town with a lot of young people and the typical Canadian small-town charm. Due to the location right on the sea, there is a lot to do in terms of landscape, nothing stands in the way of the shopping experience with the lively downtown and two large malls and Halifax also has a lot to offer in terms of celebrations. The heavy university workload didn’t spoil the party mood of our clique and the other internationals and the numerous clubs, pubs and bars didn’t let boredom arise that quickly. There was always something going on and because of the many great people I got to know, almost every day was fun, beautiful and special. The ice hockey games of the Halifax Mooseheads or the football games at the SMU are also recommended!
During the semester we did a cool weekend trip to Cape Breton Island National Park, which I really recommend! We rented a cottage with 10 people and explored the beautiful nature on the island. The absolute highlight was the whale watching : pure goosebumps! When the Indian Summer begins. It is definitely worth renting a car and driving along the coast: Mahone Bay, Lunenburg, Peggy’s Cove… dreamlike Canadian idyll like in a travel brochure.
Due to the lack of time during the semester, we postponed our larger travel plans to the end of the exam phase. From Montreal we went to Quebec City, Ottawa, Toronto incl. Niagara Falls and finally Christmas in New York! Toronto and Québec City in particular are definitely worth a visit! In Québec we were able to experience the real Canadian winter with temperatures as low as -24°C… Another experience! Christmas in New York was an absolute dream! If you can bring yourself to refrain from spending Christmas at home with your family, I can only recommend this: “New York is magic at Christmas time!”
This point is the only one that carries some negative weight: Canada and especially Nova Scotia are very expensive! It doesn’t matter whether it’s groceries, rent, books for the university or celebrations… everything costs a lot of money! In any case, try to apply for foreign BAföG and possibly save something before the semester abroad, which you can then “bang on the head”, so to speak. Because if you have to keep an eye on your money, staying in Halifax can quickly become depressing… You should plan somewhere between 7,500-10,000 euros, because of course you also want to experience something and travel a little. However, if you are aware of this and have made provisions, you can still enjoy your time in Canada to the fullest !
Oh Canada!!! The semester abroad was an absolutely indescribable time in wonderful Canada, which I will not soon forget: The incredibly impressive nature, the friendly and helpful Canadians, the great new friends I was able to meet and lots of unforgettable experiences and moments that the four Months in Halifax made what it was: one of the best times of my life !