University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: tourism management
Study type: semester abroad
It was clear to me right from the start that I wanted to go to Canada during my semester abroad. I had already spent several stays abroad during my first degree in Canada (Winnipeg, Montreal) and had fallen in love with the country. The people there are incredibly nice, warm-hearted and open. You feel at home even though you are far away from home. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Libera Universita Internazionale Degli Studi Sociali.
I had decided to go to the West Coast and my university was affiliated with Vancouver Island University, which suited me well. MicroEdu made the application process very easy. The admission letter from the VIU also arrived very quickly, so that there was time to plan. The VIU staff are very helpful and very quick to reply to emails if you need assistance, which I found very good. As I said, MicroEdu takes care of everything. You only have to send the required documents and they do the rest. Really extremely practical!!!
The semester started on September 4th and ended on December 3rd, which was very pleasant compared to Germany. Finally no exams after Christmas. I had taken 5 courses, all of which correspond to 3rd or 4th year. Basically, all of the material was interesting and the professors were all very nice and were always available after lectures. Taking 5 courses per semester is a heavy burden by Canadian standards. If you can, I recommend taking 4 courses or taking an online course out of the 5. Unfortunately I couldn’t choose. Workload is very high at the VIU compared to Germany, but not necessarily more demanding. In contrast to Germany, there are many assignments during the semester plus mid-term and sometimes final exams. if you are lucky then you “only” have assignments and mid-terms and no final exam. Because of the high workload, time management is really important. But if you do everything at the last minute, like me, you can do it.
In general, I would say that the lectures and the relationship with the professors are really good. What I absolutely didn’t like is the high workload. Very challenging.
I found the tuition fees way too high. And you still have to buy the travel insurance from the VIU, even if you already have your own. Books are very expensive in Canada. I bought all the books I needed to buy and only read or opened half of them. If you can, share the books or copy them. That saves a lot of money. VIU offers sports courses and trips for little money. So if you want to move, it’s really great. You can also take the Adventure Tourism course, which can also provide exercise. The Student Pub is the place to be on Thursdays. Great atmosphere and lots of fun.
As far as accommodation goes, there are the dormitories where many internationals live. Personally, I was looking for an apartment off campus and had a 2-bedroom apartment for $800 including internet, television, laundry, heating, electricity, etc. The best way to find an apartment or shared flat is this Website kijiji.ca or craigslist. You can find everything there.
Vancouver Island has a lot to offer when it comes to sightseeing. If you have time, you should definitely explore the island. Tofino offers beautiful beaches. Victoria is very good for shopping. Nanaimo has a nice harbor and you can hike to Ammonite Falls (it’s more of a climb) but it’s a lot of fun. It’s a 2 hour ferry ride from Vancouver. But if you can, take the seaplane, it lands downtown Vancouver and is sometimes cheaper than the ferry.
Seattle is also not far from Vancouver Island and really worth the trip. For those who enjoy boarding or skiing, Whistler is the destination.
Basically, I can only recommend Canada as a destination. Is by far my favorite destination. Anyone who goes is guaranteed to experience something. VIU is ok and Nanaimo is a cute little town. So nothing for people who prefer to experience the big city (Toronto, Vancouver…). You should pay attention to one thing: semester abroad = very high costs. So plan your semester carefully and apply for scholarships or foreign student loans if you can.
If you go to Canada you will have a lot of fun and make a lot of new friends. Have fun at VIU!
PS: rubber boots are a must for everyone who will be on the island for the WS!