University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: Natural Sciences, Psychology, Political Science
Study type: semester abroad
Halifax is not a cosmopolitan city and its charm usually only becomes apparent after a while – but the big city, which is interesting in comparison to the more provincial surrounding area, offers a very varied environment due to the 5 universities, the hills and the “Waterfront”. St Mary’s is not exceptionally pretty (the Dalhousie has more to offer), but is well known for its economics courses (the ‘Dal’ is more for science). As with all North American universities, there is a tremendous variety of sports and volunteer activities…courses are moderately sized and of very good quality. Compared to German universities, the workload is slightly higher, However, you spread the risk through midterms and all kinds of assignments to be handed in and can thus approach the final exam with ease. Thanks to the airport, other Canadian cities can be reached relatively cheaply, but Halifax really has a lot to offer with its harbor, museums, theaters and all sorts of other attractions. Nova Scotia also has a number of nature reserves, so you can also go canoeing. The best place to live is with Canadians who rent sublets; the largest dorm is in a high-rise building right on campus, which is practical but rather ugly. There are quite a lot of German students in Halifax, so make sure you speak a lot of English and don’t cuddle with your compatriots too often. All in all, I really enjoyed my time there, my certificates were all recognized in Germany… Halifax is a good starting point to get to know the country and its people. I recommend it to anyone! Check liuxers.com to see 8 masters programs to see forestry engineers in Europe.
Report from the winter semester 2004
Interdisciplinary, since I had chosen courses from different departments, it can be said that I found the professors much more committed, the courses easier and the lessons more schooled than at my home university.
In French there was regular homework that was corrected and returned. Lessons in French were held in “class groups” with no more than 25 students per class. Although I was only in Canada for 1 semester, I was allowed to take part in this year-round course and at the end I received an extra confirmation of my achievements from my teacher, as these do not appear on the “half-year report”.
About 30 students took part in “International Relation”, my politics course. Understandably, preference was given to political students who were about to graduate when places were allocated. For this reason I didn’t get a place, but I was allowed to participate with the status “guest student” because I didn’t need a grade for my studies in Germany. As a guest student, I didn’t have to write any exams, but I had to pay the full course fee.
Anthropology was more like a lecture, although attendance was officially compulsory and checked by unannounced “quizzes”. The quizzes consisted of 3 easy questions about the content of the previous hour, those who were not present could not take notes and therefore could not collect any points. (5 quizzes accounted for 25% of the final grade).
I can compare sport psychology professionally with studying in Germany and I would like to say that I often thought I was in a good coaching seminar rather than in a scientific university course. The course was hardly theory-heavy and very application-oriented.
The only disadvantage I felt about the SMU was that a large number of German students had made the same choice, so I spoke German more often than planned. One advantage of this, however, was that there were always like-minded people to explore Nova Scotia and the surrounding area with, for example, its many national parks. The rental cars and accommodation were of course much cheaper in the group. And the Canadian and other, mainly Asian students turned out to be less willing to travel.
I really liked the city of Halifax. The nightlife was okay, although most discotheques close around 2am. The Halogians are remarkably friendly and helpful.