University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
I’m studying “International Production, Engineering and Management” at the Technical Faculty of the Friedrich Alexander University in Erlangen-Nuremberg. This course is comparable to the courses in industrial engineering and mechanical engineering. Studying abroad is planned for our 5th semester. This is not mandatory, but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity to study abroad for a semester. Unlike many other fellow students, I decided against the Erasmus program and wanted to study outside of Europe. Canada was more of a spontaneous decision, as I have never been to this country and have only heard positive things from friends and acquaintances who have studied or lived there. Check liuxers.com to see 8 best neighborhoods in Buenos Aires to live.
Since I knew very early on that I would be going abroad in the 5th semester, I prepared myself in good time. I started planning a year earlier, at the beginning of the 3rd semester.
I chose MicroEdu because my sister had already planned a stay abroad with MicroEdu and it worked perfectly. The entire application process went smoothly and the Collage-Contact team was always available and responded to emails in a very short time and supported me.
A few weeks after my application, I got confirmation from Saint Mary’s University that I was accepted for the Fall Term 2012 from the beginning of September to the end of December.
I also received a “to-do list” from MicroEdu. This list listed the most important things to be considered over the next few months. For example what costs to expect, when to apply for an apartment etc. but I will go into more detail on these things later in my report.
Due to the smooth process, I can only recommend planning your semester abroad with MicroEdu.
I applied for a single suite in the Loyola Residence on campus.
I also applied for the senior suites, but was not accepted, like many other students, because the senior suites almost only accept students who are either already doing their master’s degree or are about to do their master’s degree.
These are a lot better (bigger and more comfortable) than the standard single suites at the Loyola Residence, but like I said, most students got turned down.
Since I applied for the Residences back in January, it wasn’t a problem to get a place there.
In general I would recommend applying for the residences as early as possible if you want to live there. Many students who applied later did not get any more places and had to look for an apartment on site.
I stayed in a single suite at the Loyola Residence.
The apartment is quite small but still adequate and has everything you need to live there.
If you are staying in the Loyola or the Vanier residence, you must purchase a meal plan for the cafeteria.
If you live in the Rice residence, a meal plan is not mandatory as these apartments have a kitchen. However, you live with 4 other people in a suite, you either have your own room or a double room.
These three residences offer the opportunity to live directly on campus.
Personally, I found it very good to live on campus because it has many advantages.
The lectures are in the same building or connected underground, so the journey from your own home to the classroom is extremely short and does not take time, effort or stress such as driving a bus or walking around the city in heavy rain.
Many events take place at the university and you save a lot of time if you don’t have to drive to the university every time.
In addition, many students live in the residences. It is therefore much easier to make contacts with fellow students if you live there and you also get to know many people from different nationalities. It’s easier to do something with the other students in the evenings. Whether it’s just going out to eat, talk or go to the “gorsebrook lounge”, which is a kind of pub on campus where many events and parties take place.
Another advantage of living on campus is that sports activities take place there. The fitness, the various fitness events such as zumba etc. as well as soccer games, football games and basketball games all take place on campus.
What I personally found very good is that the cafeteria is also located directly on campus. Since I had an “Unlimited Meal Plan”, I could eat there as often and as much as I wanted and didn’t have to drive into town to get food and cook. This point certainly doesn’t apply to all people, but it’s especially beneficial for people who eat a lot.
Of course, you can also live off campus. Some students stayed with host families. As a result, one is more encouraged to speak English. This promotes the English language much more than if you live in the residence, since quite a lot of Germans live there.
It is advisable to live in the Rice Residence or off-campus if you do not use the cafeteria very much or eat less in general. More information about the cafeteria can be found in the “Cafeteria and food in general” section.
The houses further out are much nicer than the apartments in the residence, at least all the ones I’ve seen.
In my opinion, the biggest problem with living further away from the university is that you are a bit “out of the way” and dependent on Halifax’s rather modest bus service.
Arrival and orientation week:
I booked my flight after knowing the date of the orientation week. This usually takes place one week before the start of the university. I arrived 3-4 days before the start of the orientation week, at that point it is not yet possible to stay in the residence, but there are numerous hostels or hotels where you can stay for a few days (until the orientation week starts). I would recommend arriving 3-4 days before the start of the orientation week as there are already numerous events taking place at the university. These events are a kind of expo where numerous companies such as banks, mobile phone providers, etc. have their stands and provide information about them. You also get numerous brochures from the university, vouchers and so on. This is organized by international students,
Now for the orientation week: This was organized and led by international students. You could get to know a lot of students there. There were sporting and informative activities. Furthermore, there was of course also an evening program;)
In addition, a boat trip and a trip to the coast to Peggy’s Cove were offered.
I would highly recommend arriving early to attend the orientation week as this is where you get to meet most of the people and get all the important information you need about the university, the city and nightlife.
Likewise, the first week is still very comfortable, since there are no real lectures, the professors only share the course information.
“Frosh Week” took place during this first university week. Concerts have been organized by the university, a hypnotist has been invited and many other events (one per day) have taken place. You could either visit these individually and then pay the entrance fee, or you could buy tickets for all events at a reduced price.
There is a description of the university at MicroEdu:
Link: http: //www.MicroEdu.com/studienprogramme/auslandssemester_im_ausland/saint_marys_university.htm
I would like to mention here that it makes sense to take courses in the “Business” area, as Saint Mary’s University is one of the best universities in Canada in this subject.
General course information:
I took first and second year courses because I hardly took any subjects in the field of business in Germany. The majority of my course content was technical subjects. The courses consist of around 60 students per course and take place twice a week.
Tutorials and exercises are offered for the courses, but these were not mandatory for the courses I chose, but recommended if problems should arise.
In all courses, it is highly recommended to go to the lessons, as important information about the upcoming tests will be announced there and quizzes will often be written weekly. In some smaller courses there were also grades for participation.
Quizzes and assignments were scheduled weekly and accounted for around 20% of the overall grade.
There were also one or two midterms per subject, which account for around 30-40% of the overall grade, and of course the final at the end of the semester.
Due to this structure, the students are “forced” to work continuously and always know what level of knowledge they have. This helps the students to assess themselves at what level of performance they are and where there is room for improvement.
I really liked this structure, because the end note is made up of several components and you always know where you stand.
I chose 3 courses because I wanted to explore the country further alongside my studies and “not only” wanted to learn. 4 courses are also very feasible, but then one or the other weekend will certainly be canceled due to the high learning pressure. I would not recommend more than 4 courses.
My chosen courses
ACCT 2241: Introductory Financial Accounting. My professor was: Professor Dr. Thomas Kozloski:
This course is comparable to the German accounting course.
I really liked this course and the professor was also very friendly and competent.
For Canadian students, this course is one of the more difficult courses, so the averages aren’t very good either (between 50 and 60%).
We had two midterms and weekly assignments and quizzes to deliver.
The learning effort was relatively high compared to my other courses, but it is definitely a very interesting course.
In my opinion, the assignments and quizzes are a lot simpler than the midterms. If you get good grades in the assignments and quizzes, you shouldn’t automatically expect a good grade in the midterms.
Nevertheless, in my opinion it is not particularly difficult to get an A grade if you do all the assignments and quizzes carefully and prepare for the midterm in good time.
Econ1201: Principles of Microeconomics. My professor was: Professor David Robinson:
This class was my favorite class and the professor was also very nice, friendly and knowledgeable.
Nevertheless, Mister Robinson is one of the somewhat stricter professors, which was reflected in the quizzes in particular.
Similar to accounting, there were weekly quizzes and an assignment approximately every two weeks.
The quizzes were quite difficult and it is imperative to prepare very well for these quizzes.
A workload of at least 6 hours for a quiz can be expected if you want to finish it very well. The advantage of this is that you can also edit the assignments with the entire knowledge of the quiz, so there is hardly any additional work. The midterm and final consists of 60% multiple choice (comparable to the quizzes) and 40% free tasks (comparable to assignments).
It is therefore only advisable to prepare yourself very well for the quizzes, because then there is hardly any additional work for midterms and assignments and very good grades can be expected.
The averages were between 60 and 70% in the midterm, but the average in about half of all quizzes was 50% or less.
Mgsc 1205: Quantitative Methods 1. My professor was: Professor Alan Surovell:
In my opinion, this course was the easiest and the least effort I had to put into it. However, this can also be due to the fact that I have already studied a technical course for 4 semesters and am therefore used to dealing with numbers.
Like all the other professors I met there, the professor was very competent, friendly and helpful.
Here, too, weekly assignments had to be processed that were adapted to the study content of the lectures.
It is very important to process these assignments carefully and well in order to achieve the highest possible score.
The Midterm and the Final are quite similar to the Assignments so the same rule follows here as in Microeconomics.
If you have carefully edited the assignment, this generally results in good grades in the midterm and final.
There are numerous opportunities to exercise at Saint Mary’s University.
There is a very large fitness center right next to the university, where you can either train independently or take part in sports courses such as Zumba etc. for free.
You can also rent halls to play basketball, squash or similar.
The university’s basketball and volleyball games are also held there.
There is another large stadium right next to the university where hockey, soccer and football games are held.
There is also a soccer season for international students. There you can register at the beginning of the semester for the categories “Competitive” or “Recreational”.
You can then find a team with other students and participate. It consists of a group stage and then a knockout stage.
This was a lot of fun and there is something for everyone, for really good football players as well as for recreational players. A large number of women also took part in the “Recreational” category.
There are also “intramural athletic activities” where the different floors of the residences played volleyball, hockey and basketball. Some have also set up floor teams for the soccer season.
Of course, Halifax also has a very good ice hockey team, whose games are watched in the city. Halifax plays in the second division in Canada and it is highly recommended to watch such a match.
cafeteria and food
The cafeteria is located in the main building of the university.
You can choose 3 types of meal plans in advance: A 10, 14, and unlimited meal plan. The number describes the frequency with which you can visit the cafeteria per week. You can eat as much as you want in the cafeteria.
In the morning there are always eggs or scrambled eggs that are freshly prepared there, fruit, muesli, waffles, etc.
There are different areas for lunch and dinner:
An area in which mostly vegetables with meat or other things are freshly prepared in the pan and then mixed with rice or noodles. This is definitely the healthiest area. Right next to it are ready meals that are comparable to the German canteen, such as meat with rice, fish with potatoes or the like.
There is also a fast food area where most chicken, fish or hamburgers are served with fries. There are also sometimes chicken nuggets or fish & chips.
There is also a pizza and pasta corner and an area where sandwiches are made.
Of course there is still salad, vegetables and fruit.
In general, I found the canteen very good, of course it gets pretty monotonous after a certain time if you go to the cafeteria about 4 times a day in 4 months. Nevertheless, efforts are made to offer varied dishes and to offer healthy dishes in addition to the fast food that is so often mocked.
Another advantage of living on campus is that you can eat as much as you want there at any time without any problems and do not have to worry about food yourself.
The cafeteria can of course also be used by students without a meal plan, but it costs 10 euros per entry.
Here I would like to point out that when you buy a meal plan, you get additional Flex Dollars booked on your card. I got a $150 credit when I bought the Unlimited Meal plan, which I could use to buy some at Tim Hortons and other eateries on campus.
Students who do not live on campus and who do not have a meal plan can buy food in the surrounding supermarkets. However, most products are significantly more expensive than in Germany, especially if you buy healthy products and fruit.
Halifax is a smaller, very manageable city right on the sea and also has several parks to relax in.
There are many shops in the city center, some of which are open 24/7. Everything can be reached on foot from the university, but of course you can also use the bus. Live music is often played in the pubs, the atmosphere is very pleasant and the people are very friendly and polite.
Of course there are also some nightclubs, all of which are in the city centre.
I particularly liked the “Waterfront” which is located directly on the sea and there are numerous opportunities to walk along it, enjoy the view and eat and drink something in restaurants or bars.
It makes sense to drive to Cape Breton.
This is on the east coast of Canada. It offers beautiful scenery, beautiful hiking tours and whale watching opportunities and much more.
You can rent a cottage or hostel with a few people and then drive there by car. The journey takes about 4 hours, but it is definitely worth it.
Of course, Niagara Falls can also be visited, but this is an expensive excursion because you have to fly from Halifax by plane.
Of course, a trip to New York is also worthwhile, as the distance between Halifax and New York is not very great. Many students and I flew to New York for a few days after the exams in December.
In my opinion, the costs are the only major disadvantage of the stay abroad, as they are very high. It must with approx. 10000-12000€ are expected. This includes university, subsistence and housing costs.
The time in Canada was definitely one of the best times of my life, because you got to know so many new people from different nations and of course their behavior and cultures. Furthermore, the experience of having been abroad is priceless despite the high costs that have to be paid for the stay abroad. I can really only recommend such a stay abroad!