University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
My semester abroad in Canada was instructive in that I can now say that studying in Germany is more fun! The university in Nanaimo is really beautiful, great location and offers many opportunities for students. However, student life is very limited by the sheer volume of projects, tests and exams, as well as the spaciousness and transportation in Nanaimo. I have to say that my semester abroad is a compulsory part of my studies, which means I also had to take five courses in order to get my number of credits in Germany. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see James Cook University.
After I couldn’t decide where to go for a long time, I read through all the possible countries, universities and ratings on MicroEdu and finally decided on Vancouver Island University, because for me it’s actually only an English-speaking country in which I still live have not been, came into question. The application with the help of MicroEdu went smoothly. I received a lot of help and support in filling out documents and organizing my stay abroad. However, I was surprised that applying to the Canadian university costs money. That’s why I only applied to one university and was very tense later because I hadn’t heard anything from the university for a long time. When the approval confirmation finally came after about a month,
First, I booked a flight for about a week before the start of my studies, so that I still had time to find a room if necessary, and up to a month after the end of my studies, so that I could still travel. I would recommend everyone to fly to Vancouver and take the ferry from there to Nanaimo as it is the cheapest option. Furthermore, I made the mistake of looking for accommodation from Germany. It’s better to go to a hostel first (e.g. Painted Turtle Hostel downtown) and look for a room from there, especially since you’ll get to know other students there. I also heard that the dormitories on campus are very popular. There you have your own room in a small apartment, usually a bathroom is shared, plus you have a kitchen and living room.
After I received my student number, I was able to register for the courses. Unfortunately, there were a few problems, but these could be resolved with the help of those responsible for foreign students. I was able to choose five courses from all of them, but I had to choose ones that were related to my studies in Germany. You can still register for or withdraw from courses after the semester has started. Some of them put you on a waiting list, but if you like the course, you can talk to the professor personally and ask if you can still take the course. I finally chose Advanced Resort Management, Retail and Wholesale Management, Adventure Tourism, Real Estate and Economies in Transition.
I have to say that I really enjoyed the courses I signed up for, except for Economies in Transition. But that was more due to the professor than to the teaching material. I also liked the lessons because the classes were very small, as I am used to at my university in Germany. The students were very involved, almost like at school.
Since most Canadians have a contract cell phone, it was not easy to find a SIM card there. Afterwards I had a card from 7Eleven, but unfortunately mostly no reception. Before you travel to Canada, you should also take out insurance in Germany, as you have to show one to the university up to one month after the start of the semester. The insurance offered by the university is very expensive and actually not worth it. I decided to take out insurance with Hanse-Merkur. It’s relatively cheap and you get an English confirmation on request, which you then have to submit to the Student Union, along with a completed opt-out form.
You should also get a credit card or open an account at a bank where you can withdraw cash cheaply abroad. Although I was able to pay relatively cheaply with my card, I had to pay a lot of fees for withdrawals. In addition, I often had problems paying with my credit card. Often the reader would freeze and have to be restarted.
You should plan your stay abroad as early as possible so that everything is organized in good time. I also applied for Bafög and was relatively late, ie I didn’t get my first payment until I was already in Canada.
I didn’t need a visa because I stayed in Canada for less than six months.
I would advise everyone to rent a car and drive around the island a few times. A trip to Tofino and Ucluelet on the west coast is definitely worth it. The university offers many activities during the semester. You have to queue up pretty early one day at the beginning of the semester, as these are very popular. These included whitewater rafting, surfing, hiking, visiting different cities, etc. at a low price. Not only is it a lot of fun, but you also get to know new people.
The nightlife in Nanaimo is better than I initially thought. It’s easy to get everywhere by taxi, all the clubs are close to each other downtown and usually there is no entrance fee. The music is something like in Germany. However, the clubs are a bit smaller.
In conclusion, one can say that the semester had its good and bad sides. I particularly liked the landscape and the view from the university campus and the feeling of living right by the sea. The bad infrastructure and the high tuition fees were rather negative, but you knew that beforehand…