University: Thompson Rivers University
Continent: North America
Field of study: Linguistics and cultural studies
Study type: semester abroad
Thanks to MicroEdu, the application was relatively easy. Once you had filled out everything and all the documents together, all you had to do was wait. You should have some patience here. A tip in advance: With IELTS or Toefl test you usually have a clear advantage, since many universities require it. I didn’t have one, but I had a DAAD test, which fortunately was still accepted by TRU. If you cannot prove your English skills, be it with a standardized language test or through other certificates, you have to take a placement test on site, which is not supposed to be easy, as many international students there have told me. Depending on how you do in this, you may have to take extra English courses. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Universidad Adolfo Ibanez UAI.
Also good to know: If you are only staying in Canada for one semester, you do not need a visa.
Since my home university in Germany gave me a lot of freedom in terms of course selection, I took courses from different programs : History of Arts, Oral French Practice, Government And Politics Of Canada and Organizational Behaviour.
At the beginning I had chosen five courses, but quickly realized that this was a bit too much for me and I dropped one course. After four courses I got along really well.
In general, one can say that the lecturers were all very nice and open to questions. The level of English in the courses was just right for me, so I understood almost everything, but also kept learning new words. Only History of Arts I found a bit difficult, because it was teeming with technical terms and there was a lot of emphasis on memorization instead of “applying knowledge”, which I don’t really like. I found Organizational Behavior to be a rather less useful course because you only learn very general and basic business administration here -substance was taught. However, I found the working atmosphere and the many group tasks very good. Oral French Practice was a very good course to practice speaking French. For me personally, this course was also very helpful in order not to completely forget my French with all the English speaking. I found Politics and Government of Canada very good and above all interesting. Here you learned a lot about politics in Canada, also in relation to the USA. The lecturer was extremely open to questions and was always available outside of the lectures. I can only recommend this course to anyone interested in politics.
The courses in general are probably smaller in the number of their students than in Germany. However, since I come from a university of applied sciences, this was normal for me and I found it pleasant not to have to sit in a crowded hall.
In the first few days, it was a bit difficult for me to get an overview of who is responsible for what. And so I had a lot of running around, especially when changing the course choice. However, everyone was always helpful and forwarded me to the right contact person. Also, if I had any questions, I’m sure MicroEdu would have been more than happy to help.
Otherwise, the support during the orientation week by many voluntary students who had been at TRU for a long time was very good and you never felt alone and settled in quickly.
I stayed at the TRU Residence. Probably the most comfortable, but also the most expensive accommodation for students in Kamloops. In addition to the TRU Residence, there is also the McGill student residence and the Upper College Hights. Unlike the other two, the latter are not located directly on campus, but are only a few minutes’ walk away, so that the distance shouldn’t really play a role in your accommodation decision. I personally do not recommend the McGill Dorm (or Old Residence). The rooms are tiny and fairly simply furnished, giving it a bit of a “prison cell” vibe. In addition to the other two halls of residence, a host family is also a good alternative. At the same time, it also offers the opportunity to immerse yourself a little more in Canadian life. Here, I think, it always depends on the family. However, I knew many who were very happy with their host families, but lived far away and therefore missed a large part of the special campus life. If you are staying longer than one semester, a rented apartment could also be of interest to you. I can’t say much about this, however, because I didn’t know anyone personally who had taken advantage of this opportunity.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
Kamloops itself is quite small and relatively spread out. There are a few pubs (often with smaller dance floors), restaurants and a disco “downtown”. For all night owls: the disco is quite good, admission is acceptable, there is no dress code, on the contrary. Very important: the clubs in Canada close at 2 a.m.! Personally, however, I usually found the house or room parties much nicer. There was less dancing there, but you quickly got to know a lot of nice people.
Otherwise there isn’t much to do in Kamloops itself. A bit outside there is a paintball facility, but it is better to visit it by car than by taxi;). In the winter, it ‘s a good idea to head to Sunpeaks, not far from Kamloops, to ski or snowboard on the weekends.
The gym and swimming pool are right on campus.
Fortunately, my initial fear that I would quickly get bored in Kamloops did not come true. Thanks to all the other students who live on campus or nearby, there’s always something going on!
In summary, I can only recommend everyone to do a semester abroad. You are guaranteed to learn many other things besides the language, see and experience many new and exciting things and meet a lot of new people from all parts of the world. Personally, I would not opt for another semester, but for at least two semesters, because one simply goes by far too quickly (which I would not have thought before my semester abroad). If you can finance it and you’re not the “homesick type”, don’t make the same mistake as me and decide on a longer period than one semester instead;)