University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I knew early on that I wanted to spend my semester abroad in an English-speaking country. When I became aware of MicroEdu through a fellow student and studied the extensive range, I quickly came across Canada. After I finally met Katharina for a personal consultation, my interest in a stay in Canada increased. The decisive factor for Saint Mary’s University in Halifax was the high proportion of international students and the consistently positive reports. In addition, the city seemed very attractive to me and of course the amount of the tuition fees also played a role a role and the fact that I could do without taking a language test. Check liuxers.com to see what is GMAT.
MicroEdu supported me throughout the application process and patiently answered my questions. After I finally made up my mind, there was only a little paperwork to do and soon I was able to start choosing a course.
From the numerous reports I have gathered that the student residences of the university are not to be recommended in terms of price-performance ratio and instead looking for an apartment on your own is the better choice. On this basis, I finally decided against a place in the dormitory and have never regretted this decision.
In my experience, looking for an apartment is almost exclusively done via the kijiji portal. There you will find numerous advertisements for both short and long-term rentals.
The basic rule when looking for an apartment is: Don’t bother with writing e-mails, but call directly, even if it may take some effort at first. In all likelihood, you will not receive an answer to inquiries via e-mail.
After one day and three phone calls, I found a room in a basement apartment in the immediate vicinity of the SMU(5 minutes walk). Cost 495 CAD/month (above average cheap). The room was small, but it was furnished and the main attraction was its location. In my opinion, this is also much more important than the standard, because I spent most of my time on campus (lectures, library, food, sports) or on the road. Of course, Halifax also has public transport, which you can use as a full-time student (at least 3 courses) with your student ID. However, these are not always 100% reliable and, especially in the evenings in the outer districts, do not run very regularly or not at all. Therefore I recommend, if in doubt, to accept a higher rent, but to live centrally. The price level is somewhere between 500 and 1 depending on the location and standard. 000 CAD/month and is of course always a bit of a matter of luck. Incidentally, I didn’t meet any student who really had great difficulty finding accommodation. I was more under the impression thatthe range of apartments is very large and there were still a few rooms available during the semester. If possible, you should try to find a furnished room, as this will save you a lot of stress.
During my time at the SMU I also saw one or the other dorm room. These are relatively small and not always clean. Depending on the situation, it can also get very noisy in the residence, and I also met a few people who had problems with their roommates or roommates. You also commit to booking a meal plan in the Dining Hall (Mensa). On the other hand, you live very centrally and the atmosphere is possibly a bit “American”. In addition, you arrive with a safer feeling and getting started is a little less stressful.
I completed the semester abroad in my fourth business administration bachelor semester. Since it was difficult for me to assess the level of study and the tuition fees are per course, I only took three courses (which I will discuss in detail later).
Basically, I believe that, depending on the selection, four courses can be completed and combined with an eventful semester abroad. But, as in Germany, the courses can of course differ greatly in their workload. The main difference compared to the German system is that the final grade is made up of different examination performances. The final exam, which is written at the end of a semester, usually counts between 30% and a maximum of 50%. The remaining points can be assigned to assignments, tests/quizzes, essays or group presentations. The overall level is lower than at German universities, since you can collect a lot of points over the course of the semester, especially through the assignments and tests.
Money & Banking (ECON)
As the name suggests, this economics course covers monetary policy, exchange rates, bonds, the functions of money, central banks, etc.
In my time, the lecture was given by the Indian-born professor Najma R Sharif. In terms of content, I found the course quite interesting, but I didn’t like the lectures as much and in between were not very exciting and a bit dispassionate. Basically, I am convinced that attending the lecture is not a prerequisite for a good grade in the course, since there are no points for simply attending, in contrast to some other courses. Personally, I hardly attended the lecture towards the end and didn’t have the feeling that I was at a disadvantage as a result. The structure of the course was as follows: Assignment 1 (8%), Assignment 2 (12%), Test 1 (20%), Test 2 (20%), Final Exam (40%)
The level was initially quite low, but has risen sharply over time and especially in the last third. A good grade is definitely in there, since you can take a lot of points with you, especially in the first two thirds.
Intermediate Macroeconomics Theory (ECON)
This course was also held by an Indian professor (Wimal Rankaduwa), who I personally liked very much. However, I have to say that the lecture was rather boring, which was probably not least due to the fact that I had to attend the block course, ie 2 1/3 hours at a time. In terms of content, it dealt with typical topics of macroeconomics.
Structure: 4 assignments (the best 3 count) at 10%, mid-term exam 30%, final exam 40%
I would describe the level as average. The assignments and the mid-term were very grateful and the final was also absolutely fine.
Development Economics (ECON)
This course dealt with different areas and approaches of development economics as well as empirical experiments and their interpretation. In contrast to the above-mentioned lectures, attendance was necessary because the script was basically written by the professor in the lecture and then taken over by the students. In addition, a comprehensive script was available on the professor’s website. It seemed to me that German students were popular since the professor (Vincent Chandler) himself studied in Germany for some time and speaks the language well.
The structure was as follows: 4 quizzes at 5% each (open book=all documents allowed, script, laptop, etc.), mid-term exam 30%, final exam 50%.
The quizzes are relatively easy, I found the mid-term quite demanding, and the final was very rewarding. Good grades are definitely possible with comparatively little effort.
Since, as far as I know, Friday is not a lecture day, you have a maximum of 4 days week. Depending on the course you choose, it may only be two or three days. Free time is by no means neglected, assuming good time management.Weekend trips to various national parks (e.g. Cape Breton or Kejimkujik), whale watching (e.g. Bay of Fundy) or beautiful landscapes (e.g. Prince Edward Island) are very useful, especially during the Indian Summer. It should be noted here that most national parks close in October, so you should make excursions especially in the early days. In November you will have another opportunity for larger excursions or trips, since you have a good week off on the occasion of Remembrance Day or you can take time off by skipping the lectures for a day or two. During this time, many students have flown/driven to major Canadian cities (Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec) or to the USA. However, it should be noted here that this time, which was also referred to as “study week”, is sometimes intended to prepare for the finals.
I can highly recommend the diverse range of sports offered by the university, and the fitness studio is also well equipped. The team competitions in particular are ideal for getting in touch with Canadian or other international students. Incidentally, the offers are free of charge or rather already included in the tuition fees if you are a full-time student.
Celebrations in Halifax primarily take place on Thursdays (“Thirsty Thursday”), Fridays and Saturdays (also on Sundays on the Lower Deck). You can drink “cheaply” at the Oasis on Spring Garden Road, at Freemans or at Niche. The typical clubs are Dome, Pacifico, Seahorse and Toothy Moose, although I mainly visited the former. It should be noted that the clubs in Canada close much earlier than we are used to in Germany. Most places close at half past one, the Dome is the exception at 3: 30 a.m.
I would also recommend everyone, whether fan or amateur, to visit a game of the local ice hockey team “Mooseheads”. There are discounted tickets for students and you will definitely be entertained.
There is some shopping downtown, but primarily in the malls in Halifax and on the other side in Darthmouth. Both are easily accessible by bus, although the Halifax Shopping Center is closer. There you will find numerous brand stores and the outlet chain “Winners”. A Walmart is also located next door.
If you are looking for a good jogging track or just a nice park to walk in, you go to Point Pleasant Park, which is located near the university. This one is really nice because it is very well maintained and is on the water and therefore offers a very nice view.
I would also recommend every student to take the free day trip to Peggys Cove fishing village during Welcome Week. There you have a great view over water, rocks and one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world.
Here are a few general tips. Groceries are more expensive in Canada than in Germany. So you have to assume that your living costs are higher than you are used to at home.
In the Welcome Week you are recommended to apply for the Nova Scotia ID. This is a kind of identity card. This is supposed to be shown regularly in bars, clubs, etc., since non-Canadian ID cards would not be sufficient. I can say that I was not asked for such an ID during my entire stay in or outside of Nova Scotia, let alone that my German ID card was not accepted.
If you want to significantly improve your language skills, it is of course advisable not to have too much contact with German fellow students. Of course it’s nice, especially in the early days, when you have people who are in the same boat. However, you should make sure that you at least establish additional international contacts. That’s why I advise against living with other Germans.
I had a great time in Halifax, which I look back on fondly and with positive feelings.
It’s not just a cliché, Canadian people are actually super nice and helpful. The landscape with its many lakes and green areas is second to none and studying in the midst of so many different people from different nations was an absolutely worthwhile experience. In addition, I have made many new friends who have had a significant impact on my semester abroad. Therefore, I can definitely recommend the country, the city and Saint Mary’s University.