University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: International Business Administration
Study type: semester abroad
It’s been about a month since I finished my semester abroad at Vancouver Island University in Canada. And looking back, I can say: Canada was amazing. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see RMIT University.
Country and people
First a few words about the country and the people: Canada’s beauty is difficult to describe. Nature is so overwhelming that you feel small yourself. Not in a negative sense, but literally. British Columbia really took my breath away. Everywhere there are mountains to climb, lakes to explore and deserted beaches to visit, which are in no way inferior to the overcrowded beaches in the usual holiday destinations. In addition, the majority of Canadians meet you with a friendlinessthat I found almost annoying at first. You thank the bus driver when you get off, you’re constantly asked how you’re doing andyou always have the feeling that the person you are talking to really cares about you. I’m not used to that from Germany, but after a very short time I didn’t want to be without it anymore, or I already miss it a lot. And this applies not only to the mainland, but also to the island.
The island itself is beautiful too. There are countless things to do in and around Nanaimo. Westwood Lake is about a 20 minute bus ride away, has a beach, crystal clear water and is always worth a visit. The lake is beautifully situated. I can only recommend everyone to pack their hiking boots and climb Mt. Benson when the weather is good. Westwood Lake is also the starting point for this. It’s a strenuous hike, but the view is worth every step. In Nanaimo itself there are plenty of places to eat out, hang out in a bar and even nightclubs, although you have to keep in mind that they close at 2am here. On campus itself is a pub run by the Student Union. Here you can eat well at lunchtime and every Thursday there is an open mic night. For my friends and I it was kind of an institution because there are a lot of people there.
I was lucky and was able to get one of the coveted rooms in the VIU Residence, but depending on the building and the type of room, you have to be prepared to live together in the smallest of spaces. I stayed in a Modern Double, which means sharing a shoe box with one person and a bathroom with a third person. It’s about mutual consideration and not being too fussy, then you can come to terms with the situation. My house had a common room with a large kitchen, various seating options and a television. Here you could usually always meet someone, talk and sit together. The residence is directly across from the campus, meaning it is ideally located. However, I have heard from friends who have stayed outside of the Residence that looking for a place to live is relatively easy if you start looking for it early on and that there are good alternatives all over the city.
The campus itself is quite spacious and built on a slope. There are quite a few steps to climb every day, but there is a silver lining here too: the view. Depending on where you are on campus, you can see as far as the mountains on the mainland. Occasionally, this leads to choosing a center seat in the library, as otherwise you spend far too much time staring out the window.
In general, I spent a lot of time in the library. I didn’t find the material at the university to be particularly demanding, but I had to do a whole bunch of exams in every course. Most of the lectures are quite exciting, at least as far as this is possible. The professors are super helpful, but the rule here is: only those who ask will be helped.
There are tests, assignments, group work and midterms more or less every week. I never had the feeling that this would deprive me of my free time or restrict me in any other way, but you should be aware from the outset that work is definitely waiting for you.
A word about the costs. The VIU is certainly not the cheapest option and there are still some costs, especially on site. The compulsory books for the courses are sometimes over 250.00 CAD (!!) and eating healthy there is also quite expensive. On the plus side there is a voucher for a 40% International Student discount at Dominos, which you will receive together with the welcome package.
In general, I can say that I have found lifelong friends in Canada, have taken the country and the people to my heart and want to go back as soon as possible. I can happily recommend anyone who is toying with the idea of doing their semester abroad at the VIU to do so. You will have the time of your life and if you love nature like me then you will find paradise on earth.