University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
As part of my business studies, I did a semester abroad at Vancouver Island University in the winter semester of 2017. It quickly became clear to me that I wanted to do a semester abroad in Canada. Canada offers a picture book landscape of high mountains and glaciers, waterfalls, turquoise blue lakes, gorges and forests. Vancouver Island University convinced me because of its diverse program for exchange students and the wide range of courses. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Northeastern University.
Application and preparation
After I decided on Vancouver Island University, I got in touch with MicroEdu and they immediately provided me with all the information I needed to apply. MicroEdu then forwarded my application to the VIU, then forwarded the acceptance from the VIU to me and provided a lot of other information, such as the visa. Since the semester abroad lasted less than 6 months, students with German citizenship only need the Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) and no other student visa. Everything went smoothly with the application and I was able to contact Lisa at any time if I had any questions.
Immediately after I was accepted at VIU, I applied for the VIU Residence. It is important to apply for a room in the residence as early as possible. At the end of June I got the approval for a shared room in the residence. I lived in an apartment with seven other international students. I shared a room with another international student. In July I was activated for the Housing Portal. Everyone who was looking for a roommate could introduce themselves in the housing portal. That’s how I found my roommate. I am very happy that I chose VIU Residence. I have taken many great trips with my roommates, often cooked together and spent many great evenings. During the semester we became a small family and it was very difficult for me to say goodbye. We also spent a few Thursday evenings together in the Student Pub, which you definitely shouldn’t miss during a semester at VIU.
Before the semester abroad, I was very curious to see what it would be like to study in a different university system. The Canadian higher education system is very different from that in Germany. The lecture groups are much smaller and there is very personal contact with the professor, who is also addressed by his first name. My professors were very interested in the exchange students and actively involved us in the lectures. In Canada, many individual papers, homework and group work must be submitted during the semester. Several smaller tests are also written during the semester. I have the three courses Marketing Channels (Chris Jaeger), Services Marketing (Sarah Holding) and Strategic Management Issues (Robert Willis). I can recommend all three courses. I particularly liked the Marketing Channels course, where I learned a lot about retailing. It was noticeable that there were a large number of German exchange students at the VIU in the 2017 winter semester.
Excursions and free time
Vancouver Island University is in Nanaimo, the second largest city on Vancouver Island. Nanaimo isn’t a particularly fancy city, but its central location makes it a great jumping-off point for exploring Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is great for outdoor activities, so I’ve been canoeing, kayaking, hiking, surfing, caving, snowshoeing, and skiing here . I especially enjoyed the hike up Mount Benson. Mount Benson offers a great view of the Vancouver Islands when the weather is good and not too cloudy.
At Vancouver Island University there is the opportunity to take trips through the OutdoorRec and Cultural Connections. I found the prices very fair and some of the excursions there were even cheaper than if we had organized them ourselves. At Cultural Connections you can register for excursions from 4 weeks before the date of the excursion. Cultural Connections offers Vancouver Island tours to Victoria, Butchard Gardens, Tofino and more. There were also trips to Vancouver and Whistler. The OutdoorRec offers sportier excursions than Cultural Connections. Unlike Cultural Connections, with OutdoorRec you have to register for excursions right at the beginning of the semester.
I have made several trips with the OutdoorRec and can highly recommend them. I recommend that you register online for as many excursions as possible at the beginning of the semester. This semester, the Outdoor Rec had already offered pre-semester excursions. So I already signed up for Seakayaking the Gulf Islands from home. We kayaked together every day and camped on a different island every night. The trip was definitely one of the highlights of my semester. Other highlights of my semester were trips to Tofino, Whistler and Lake Garibaldi, the Rockies and Seattle. Vancouver is a 1.5 hour ferry ride from Departure Bay. From Horseshoe Bay in Vancouver it is another 45 minute bus ride to downtown Vancouver. Other special experiences for me were whale watching and a Vancouver Canucks game.
I am very happy that I decided to do a semester abroad in Canada at VIU and I will never forget my time in Canada. Canada’s nature will remain in my memory and I will try to keep in touch with my roommates. I can also highly recommend the VIU.