University: Thompson Rivers University
Continent: North America
Study type: semester abroad
First to the university itself:
The TRU is a relatively small university (approx. 5000 students) in a relatively small town (approx. 70,000 inhabitants) and consists of approx. 7 buildings, ie you can easily walk through it in 5 minutes. The campus itself is very well maintained with lots of lawn to lie on. There is also a beautiful view of the surrounding hills and the city itself as the university is situated on the mountainside. The equipment is actually without complaint except for the lack of computer workstations at lunchtime. The support from the teachers and otherwise is very good. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Universidad Del Salvador.
With many courses in the first and second semester, the university can be compared to a university of applied sciences, ie more practical, simpler but also a lot of material with relatively little theory. That’s why I switched to the higher semesters for several courses. Most teachers follow a book fairly closely here – so you can get an idea of what’s coming (or look at the course outline that each course has). The books are usually bought in advance for about 100$Cad/book/course (about 60Eur) – these are usually not available in the library either. But you can usually keep your head above water with copies, since the literature is not really worthwhile for later. There are weekly assignments and labs in many lower level science courses – which are relatively time-consuming (and almost pointless in phys115).
To participate in the course, you have to say that you need prerequisites for registration. International students who do NOT want to do a degree at the university (i.e. not a finished Bachelor’s degree) can talk to the course teacher/head of faculty beforehand in order to get into the desired course (it works without any problems if you can convey that the course can be completed with a can complete with a reasonably good grade). Otherwise you need the prerequisites – you have to have your courses recognized (this is not that easy because they are sometimes quite bitchy).
For the higher courses that are not overcrowded, you can still come in up to two weeks later. You can sit down in the overcrowded (usually due to limited lab spaces) and hope that something will be free in the first two weeks. You should take a look at other (higher) courses anyway and see if they might be better suited.
Regarding the course load, I can say that more than 5 courses are not recommended. I took 5 and have a lot to do. Nevertheless, there is still time to eat something;).
If you are interested, my courses can be found at the end.
Tip: do the Toefl test beforehand, then you can register for courses earlier (because of the free places) and you don’t run the risk of only being allowed to take ESL courses.
I like it here and would actually stay longer if I could (but my liver is slowly getting tired of *gg*). The people are very nice and the mountain environment is something different. There isn’t much to see here in terms of museums etc. but the scenery and a nearby ski resort (50km) make up for it. You can’t do that much during the semester anyway. Otherwise you can also rent a car (about 30-40Eur/day) and drive to Banf/Jasper/Lake Louise 1000km or Vancouver… (about 400km)
Otherwise there are 3 discos worth mentioning – and the Unibar and since everything is so small you meet a lot of people again! Overall very very nice : -).
Tip: You should try to get into McGill housing (OCH) – it is very slightly overpriced etc. but you get to know the most people. You should also shop at the Superstore (cheapest) and drop by ValueVillage (Downtown) at the beginning. used toasters, pots etc….
- English Composition Eng110 (beginners’ course – 5 essays a 900W to write – free choice of topic) * (simple but ok – got a good teacher!) with A.Buchanan
- Phys115 very easy beginner course (~school physics) – (J. Rosvick)
- Physics Relativity & Quanta Phys200 (Advanced Beginner Course)
- Physics Advanced Mechanics Phys 320 (good level – I liked the course) with O. Rajora
- Physics Quatum Mechanics Phys 340 (good level – I also liked it except for the teacher’s censorship) by E.Tsui
- Stat305 – Statistics – good teacher good material (a bit too informal) – at S Rollans
- Math303 – Intro to stoch processes – good teacher good stuff (a bit too informal here too) – at S Rollans
- Math317 — Calculus4 – I didn’t like it because of Teacher and subject – by P. Smorzcynski
- Object Oriented Design & Programming Comp314 – an almost pure programming course – I didn’t really like the teacher – at K.O’Neil
- Phys 440 – P&A of Quantum Mechanics – the sequel to 340
Still good teachers (math) are: R.Brewster, Tomkins
My background: I’m in the 8th semester of computer science in Karlsruhe.