University: Thompson Rivers University
Continent: North America
Field of study: journalism
Study type: semester abroad
In April 2006, I decided to spend a semester abroad at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. The fact that I was listening to the introductory event for international students in the “International Building” just five months later shows that everything went quickly and smoothly. Simply translate the certificate, create a list of the university courses attended and the TOEFL result and the application is done. A short time later, the confirmation from the university flutters home. Now it’s time to book a flight and find a place to stay in Kamloops (the latter should be thoroughly philosophized). Check mcat-test-centers.com to see University of California Berkeley.
I decided to stay with a host family, which I judge to be the best and cheapest decision. It’s about $200 more than the dorm room, but there’s free food and drink. A price and time advantage given exorbitantly high food prices in Canada. The student digs (UCH and McGill) are sparsely furnished, partly unclean and very small. Cooking your own food is practically impossible. Eating out is also not an adequate alternative unless the petty coffers are well stocked.
But one thing should be noted: Check the situation of your assigned host family beforehand. Sometimes it takes a three-quarter hour bus ride to get to the university. I bought a used bike – just on the side, it was the deal of a lifetime ($50 for a great mountain bike. I’ll warn you though, Kamloops is known for its massive elevation changes. Downtown lives up to its name at about 200 Altitude meters lower than the university – have fun pedaling.
However, once you have reached the campus, you can make good progress on foot. The buildings are furnished in a modern style. Drinking water machines invite you to linger. Especially in summer, when even air conditioning systems struggle in vain at more than 35 degrees. That brings me to the topic of free time, which will probably also leave the most lasting impression on you. The environment is gorgeous. Kamloops, located in British Columbia, just a three-hour drive east of Vancouver, may not offer more in terms of architecture and culture than Zwickau or Bottrop, but it is embedded in grassland, dense forest and surrounded by countless mountain lakes. Outdoor enthusiasts get their money’s worth. Hiking, kayaking, mountain biking or sightseeing in Vancouver, on Vancouver Island – no problem at all. And where is the best place to tell about your experiences and at the same time brush up on your foreign language skills? Right, at university. That’s why you all want to go to Canada.
I studied journalism for one semester and took five courses, each consisting of a two-hour lecture and a seminar of the same length. At this point, a tip in advance. The International Student Advisors register you for courses. For me it was the case that I didn’t want to go in there at all, although I emphasized this several times. Ultimately, I arranged everything on site with the professors myself. Everyone was very easy to deal with, friendly and cooperative. I got all the courses I wanted.
Overall, the level was demanding, which was probably also due to my initially ailing language skills. The journalism courses are very practice-oriented. You have to write a lot. If you are good, you can even publish the posts. The professors have good contacts with local journalists.
However, a lot depends on how well you can integrate. Canadian professors get bright eyes and big ears when you talk to them.
Overall, the workload for five courses is very high, especially if you use the weekends to travel, which I strongly recommend to everyone.
Also, be aware that you have to buy books. Books are required for each course. Weekly multiple choice tests make it clear very quickly who wanted to save. If you think you’re clever, you copy books, but that’s illegal in Canada.
Finally, a few comments on emotional life. In the beginning everything was exciting and new. You’re distracted, maybe don’t think too much about home and friends. But after a few weeks at the latest, you will long for Aldi or Lidl. After your loved ones probably too. Canadians are very outgoing but superficial, deeper friendships are difficult to form. Of course, all this always depends on the personal appearance of each individual. In the end they are all affable and friendly. Especially the journalists, which is probably also due to the communication-friendly conditions on site. Between courses, everyone meets in the Journalism Lab and philosophises about parties, professors and bears over a Starbucks coffee.
So there’s the predicate from me: recommended for the Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. Anyone who has further questions about the study or other points should feel encouraged to write to me. You’re welcome! By the way, this is how almost every second sentence ends in Canada.
In this sense, good luck.