University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: tourism management
Study type: semester abroad
The university is located in Nanaimo, a smaller town on Vancouver Island, an island in western Canada. The whole complex is slightly higher, so that on a clear day you have a view of the sea and mountains. The campus is beautifully designed and you will find rabbits living freely everywhere. There are two cafeterias selling very tasty food and a sports hall with a gym that can be used free of charge. There are many Germans among the international students, with whom you quickly get in touch, especially if you take part in one of the many tours and excursions offered by the university. Nevertheless, I had enough opportunities to speak English, because I mainly had Canadians in my courses and also lived with a lot of Canadians. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Reykjavik University.
During my semester I took three courses : Tour Group Packaging, Leadership and Lifestyle Management. All courses were very interesting and the professors were competent and very nice. The class size is very small at 20-30 students, so everyone can be included. In addition, most professors value the students getting to know each other. My fellow students welcomed me very kindly and were also very patient when I had problems with the language. During that time I learned about different cultures and made friends from all over the world. In my opinion, the level of the courses is a bit lower than in Germany and it is possible to get very good grades. However, the workload during the semester is very high, as there are several tests, essays and projects per course. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the courses, especially since they were very varied and sometimes even moved to a lake or the sports field.
I immediately applied for a room in the residence, which is also on campus. I was housed in a hallway with 28 people and shared a bathroom with another student. The rooms are very small and not exactly new, but if you don’t have the highest standards, you should be fine for a semester. All students in one hallway share a kitchen, which also houses washing machines. The residence may not be ideal for everyone, especially since the living room and kitchen aren’t always clean for 28 people. For me it was still the best solution. My roommates were 3 Germans and 24 Canadians and we really were like a real “family”. We celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas and also had a Christmas tree in our lounge. We spent many evenings together and had a lot of fun. I’ve made really, really good friends and it was difficult for everyone to say goodbye. For those who do decide to move into the Residence, I also recommend doing the Orientation Week, as there are lots of fun and interesting activities and tours, and you meet a lot of people who are also new and looking to connect.
Recreational opportunities are limited in Nanaimo. However, the VIU offers a wide variety of excursions and I did a kayak course and attended a football game, among other things. You only have to hurry when registering, as the places for the excursions are in great demand. Anyone who loves nature will get their money’s worth on Vancouver Island, because there are beautiful small islands off the coast that can be reached in a few minutes by water taxi. The ferry takes you to Vancouver in less than two hours, a really beautiful and diverse city where you can spend a lot of time.
Of course, semesters abroad in Canada are expensive, but you get a lot in return. However, you have to consider that in addition to the tuition fees, there are of course also costs for accommodation and meals and that you sometimes want to afford something or go on an excursion. The cost of living in Canada isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s still possible to get by on CAD$30-50 per week.
I would definitely save some money for tours to Tofino or the Rocky Mountains as they are really impressive places and easily accessible by Greyhound bus from Nanaimo. If you also have a few days and some money to spare, you should consider taking a trip to the USA, as flights from Vancouver are relatively cheap.
In conclusion, I can say that I have not regretted my time at the VIU for a second. I had four really exciting and amazing months there and I would go back anytime.