University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Vancouver Island University is located in the city of Nanaimo on the 100 km wide and 450 km long island off Canada’s west coast. Vancouver Island offers many recreational opportunities and the most beautiful nature. From whale watching in Victoria to scuba diving and top-notch surfing in Tofino, you’ll find everything. Nanaimo has regular ferries to the mainland to Vancouver. Allow at least 2.5 hours to drive to downtown Vancouver. The climate in Nanaimo is mild, comparable to the German climate. In winter it rains a lot. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see College of The Desert.
The university itself is on a mountain. A lot of stair climbing is on the daily schedule. From the top you have a beautiful view over the sea to the mainland and its mountains. The classrooms were very well equipped. The library offered a computer pool and many study places, but not enough for all students, so sometimes you had to wait for a free place. I never had any real problems finding a place. The library also houses an IT helpdesk and a writing center. The Writing Center will help you with written work. It is about the structure of the work and in part you also help to find a better choice of words. One should make use of the Writing Center. It fills up very quickly, so make an appointment early. As a student you can use the gym for free. The gym also offers some sports activities. However, you have to register for everything you want to do on a certain day of the semester. Spaces fill up very quickly as students start queuing at 6am to take part in activities such as surfing, rafting, hiking and climbing.
I love running and was surprised by the number of running groups in Nanaimo that you can join for free. I used to run with a running group from Frontrunners, a sports shop, on Tuesday evenings and on Saturdays you could do different routes with the “Runners of Compassion”.
I studied Business and Management (BBA) at Vancouver Island University. I really enjoyed my studies, even though it was very time-consuming. I have taken 5 courses. These included International Business, Buyer’s Behavior, Negotiations, Human Resource Management, and Business and Technical Writing. In general, the lessons are very different from what I was used to in Germany. There is a maximum of 30 students in a course. You always have to be present, have presentations, group work and homework to do all the time. In addition, exams are written at regular intervals. Most of the courses are more practice-oriented than I was used to at my German university.
The English course “Business and Technical Writing” helped me a lot to improve my written English. In the end, a total of 50 pages of texts and reports had to be handed in and several presentations had to be held in the meantime. It was a lot of work but if you want to improve your English this is one of the best courses. My teacher, Clay Armstrong, was very young and fair.
The Student Union is an organization dedicated to student affairs. You can buy used books there. But I would generally wait and see to what extent you really need the books. Many books were also available on the Internet for much cheaper than in the university bookstore. Even older versions are usually sufficient. You can also volunteer at the Student Union.
I lived with a very loving family who were put in touch with me through the university peer stay program. Their house is in north Nanaimo. The bus system in Nanaimo is very poor and it takes 40 minutes by bus to the university and an hour to downtown Nanaimo. If you want to go out often, I can only recommend either buying a car or looking for an apartment near downtown on your own, since most peer and homestay families live outside.
All in all, I had a very nice time. Canada, especially British Columbia, is a beautiful country with beautiful nature and open-minded people.