University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: story
Study type: semester abroad
Period: 08/2016 to 12/2016
My semester abroad at the VIU was an indescribable experience that I will remember forever ! In the following I will try to formulate some tips and hints so that you can prepare yourself even better and look forward to it. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Mahidol University.
In December 2015 I started to take care of my stay abroad, which was supposed to take place in the winter semester of 2016. I thought that was enough in advance, but I highly recommend you start planning as early as possible. But once I had decided on the VIU, everything was only half as time-consuming as, compared to other Canadian universities, they hardly wanted any documents from you. For me, it was even enough as proof of language proficiency to submit my Transcript of Records, which proves that I have taken English-language courses. In January I then submitted my application with the help of CoCosent. Unfortunately, I had to wait quite a long time for my acceptance, but it finally came in April. Now it was getting tight with the application for the dormitory, but I was lucky there too and got a single room in the Arbutus house, right on campus. It really was the best thing that could have happened to me. There were a lot of Canadians in my hallway, a few Germans, an Australian and an American. We really grew together this semester. We cooked together, watched films and, above all, registered and played for a team in the Residence League. It was a lot of fun and I can only recommend it.
But if you are not lucky enough to live in a hall of residence, there are still endless opportunities to make friends and, above all, to get to know many Canadians, for example by registering for the intramurals (volleyball, soccer, curling, badminton). Then you play with a random team once a week in a tournament. Another way to meet people and see the island at the same time is through the numerous outdoor recreation offerings, which are organized by the gym. Registration opens in the first week of university and it pays to be quick. We stood in line for registration at the gym at 8 a.m. and were therefore able to get a lot of places, but I’ve also heard from many who weren’t so successful. Most importantly, the online registration didn’t work.
I can also highly recommend the orientation days a week before the start of university. It is therefore worth arriving in Canada a few days before the start of university. Then there are the trips from Cultural Connections, which were also great in the first month to get to know the area and meet new people. But it also has to be said that there were usually more Germans than Canadians on these excursions. I would advise you to fill up the first month with these trips from Cultural Connections and the Outdoor Rec and then leave the months free for the time being so that you are flexible enough to have your own trips with your friends to plan. Our dormitory activities usually took place at the weekend and then it’s a pity if you can’t take part in them because you’ve already filled everything with other activities. So don’t worry, if you actively take everything with you at the beginning, there will be plenty of opportunities later to plan your own excursions. My highlight was our road trip to the Rocky Mountains. But the road trip to Whistler and the tour of the island were also unforgettable. It’s even nicer to be on the road in a smaller group than in a bus with a fixed daily program.
Regarding the course, I can say that I was definitely surprised by the scope. We all had a lot of assignments to do during the semester and with 3 courses we were more than busy. At first I thought I could take five courses, but then I dropped one and did one as an audit, which means just listening. The grading was not so strict afterwards – more quantity than quality. I took history courses and it was very interesting.
I can recommend you to get the DKB credit card (you can use it to pay everywhere for free, only withdrawing money always costs up to 2 CAD fee). In order to be able to withdraw cash free of charge, the Deutsche Bank current account is recommended. They have a partnership with Scotiabank, which has frequented Nanaimo and has an ATM in every Seven Eleven. The account is also free.
A Canadian phone number is also useful, if only to be able to call a taxi on the go. I got a simple prepaid contract from Virgin Mobile (they had a stand in Woodgrove Mall) where 100MB cost CAD 10 per month and then you could add money for calls and extra data volume on top of that. But since there is WiFi everywhere at the university, 100MB was usually enough for me.
The time in Canada was beautiful and unique. The island is awesome, no matter where you look, you always have the mountains and the ocean somewhere in the background. Canadians are incredibly nice and helpful people and if you actively approach everyone in the first few weeks and take everything with you, then you will have no problems making the most of your entire studies from this semester. At least that’s how I felt : )