University: Saint Mary’s University
Continent: North America
Field of study: English / American Studies
Study type: Summer Sessions
As part of my English studies in Aachen, I became aware over time that I would not be able to successfully complete my studies without a stay in an English-speaking country because I lacked the language practice. Since there is hardly any cooperation with universities abroad at the English department at my university, I decided to organize the stay on my own and came across MicroEdu, which was the best thing that could have happened to me. Check existingcountries.com to see exchange in Dublin Ireland.
After some research and also consulting the staff, I chose St. Mary’s University (SMU) in Halifax. The reasons for this were that I wanted to go abroad in the summer and SMU offers many summer courses and of course because I found Canada a very appealing country to stay in.
The organization with the help of MicroEdu was uncomplicated. All of my questions were answered quickly and I was always helped. The very simple application without much effort is also justified in that the SMU does not require a certificate for all courses taken at the German university. I didn’t need a visa or study permit either, because I was only there for 4 months and something like that is only required for a stay of 6 months or more.
In the two summer sessions of 6 weeks each, I did a course on English literature. In the summer sessions, the courses take place twice a week for 3 hours each. Since the same amount of work is done in 6 weeks as in a normal semester, you had a lot to do. I would not advise anyone to do more than 2 courses per session. I found one course per session to be sufficient. We wrote a test every week in both courses. There were also essays, presentations and a final exam for one course. If you take part in one course per session, you still have enough time for other leisure activities.
I really enjoyed the courses themselves. I’ve learned an awful lot. The lecturers are easy-going and the atmosphere in the course is very pleasant. If you make an effort and do what is required, it is no problem at all to finish the course with a good grade.
I lived in one of the dormitories at SMU. I had applied for the Rice Residence, where you live in a kind of shared apartment. It was important to me to have a kitchen because the food in the canteen is very expensive and doesn’t have the best reputation. I ended up staying in a senior apartment in the Loyola Building. I shared the apartment with a Canadian woman. Everyone had their own room, there was a large kitchen and a bathroom. The kitchen in the senior apartments is by far the best you can get in the dormitories. It is nicer and more spacious than the Rice Residence. I can’t say much about the Vanier Residence. An acquaintance of mine said only once that it was the warmest place on earth, so apparently not really recommendable!
My room wasn’t exactly big, the furniture wasn’t particularly attractive, and the bed wasn’t particularly comfortable, but overall it was definitely adequate, especially if you’re only living there for a relatively short period of time. The rooms in Rice are larger.
I would definitely recommend Rice Residence or the Senior Apartments in Loyola as both have kitchens.
I cannot rate the off-campus living and the associated apartment search because I have no experience in this area. It was out of the question for me because the effort for the 4 months was too much for me. Furniture, a washing machine, bed linen, etc. were available in the dormitory. It should be noted, however, that there are no dishes or cooking utensils in the kitchens. I was lucky because my Canadian roommate brought everything from home and allowed me to share her stuff. But there are various 1 dollar stores in Halifax where you can get kitchen utensils if you have to.
I really enjoyed living in Halifax. The town is very pretty with its harbor and many pubs. In summer there were many festivals at the port (eg the Tall Ship Festival). Canada Day was also a great experience, with many small performances at the harbor and a great fireworks display in the evening.
The party scene in Halifax is also very good. There are a number of clubs where you can party well and cheaply on certain days. I particularly liked the “pub culture” because the many Irish or Scottish pubs offered a lot of good live music.
In the summer there is much less going on at the SMU than in the winter semesters. I was also a little hesitant when planning my visit as to whether summer is the best time to study abroad in Canada, but I have absolutely no regrets about my decision. The huge advantage for me was that no other German exchange student was at SMU at the time. So I was forced to communicate in English, which greatly improved my English, which was my first intention for the trip. In September, the SMU is overrun by German students. There were 40 new German students this September, who of course first get in touch with each other and therefore speak a lot of German.
I found the acquaintance and making friends with students from all over the world particularly interesting.
In September, however, there is an Orientation Week for all new international students with lots of great events and parties. The atmosphere should be great. Everything turned out to be a bit smaller in the summer and the Orientation Week was ultimately a morning where everyone introduced themselves, one was introduced to university life and questions were answered.
But the summer also had the advantage that we had fantastic weather, which was probably also an exceptional situation this year.
The people of Canada are very, very friendly and helpful. This makes the atmosphere in the whole city very pleasant and you quickly get to know a lot of new people.
I took a trip to Toronto and Montreal with a friend. We were away for a good week overall. I can definitely recommend both cities. The trip was great, but not exactly cheap. Flights are relatively expensive in Canada. Other cities that are said to be very beautiful are Quebec and Ottawa.
The stay abroad was not exactly cheap overall. However, you can already regulate the tuition fees when choosing your course, because you pay per course.
The problem with shopping in Canada is that you only pay the 15% tax at the checkout and it is not mentioned on the price tags. That scares you every now and then at the checkout, especially at the beginning.
Eating and drinking and thus shopping in the supermarket are very expensive in Canada.
I really enjoyed the summer in Halifax and it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had in my life. I learned a lot, met great people and saw a lot of beautiful things. Canada is a very beautiful country with nice people. Such a stay abroad broadens the horizon immensely and I can only recommend everyone to take this step and apply soon.