University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: Political Science, Sociology, History
Study type: semester abroad
First of all: Anyone is welcome to write me an email or call me and ask me every little detail. I’m happy to help. (Note from MicroEdu: contact details can be requested from us)
So, before I gossip countless lines of information and everyone just waits for the conclusion to decide whether this university would be the right choice, I’ll say up front that it’s not so easy to say. It is clearly type dependent. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see RMIT University. But I’ll tell you my subjective story.
Sometime in early 2011, I decided to do a semester abroad. It was actually important for me to go to an English-speaking country first. So the two clichés to choose from were Australia or Canada (I really don’t know why I didn’t consider another country). I was and am of the opinion that Canada is not as oppressively hot and infested with reptiles as Australia. Also, I’ve always found Canada very sympathetic and it’s the country that Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother’s Robin Scherbatsky) comes from. So the choice fell very quickly on Canada.
You could then read reviews and descriptions of the various universities via MicroEdu. The course content of the various universities is also linked to MicroEdu. After a quick bit of browsing and googling, Vancouver Island University appealed to me the most. The application was actually relatively easy. So that is to say that MicroEdu helped you directly with exactly what to do, but it was still enough to fill out and do.
In addition to the application, there are of course many other organizational things to do. Such as notifying the family benefits office, applying for a semester off at the home university, taking out international health insurance and and and. But the most annoying thing was all the correspondence with the foreign BAfoegamt. Horrible. But after I almost exploded 10 times, it finally worked. But I recommend starting as early as possible because it takes at least 2 months. But in the end they actually paid me a lot. The semester fees of almost €4,500 alone would have broken my neck. The confirmation from the university came relatively quickly. Incidentally, I think they take everyone. So there is no need to worry.
The fall semester starts sometime in early September. So I flew to Vancouver in early August. I have to say that I didn’t really prepare meticulously for the whole thing and, in my optimism and anti-stress mania, only planned as far ahead as I had to. So I hadn’t really researched how exactly it would work to get from the airport to Vancouver Island. All I knew was that I had to get to the ferry. But that wasn’t really a problem since Canadians are pretty much the nicest, friendliest and most helpful people north of the equator. So I just asked at the information desk at the airport. So first about 40 minutes by train to the city center, then about 1 hour by bus to the ferry station and another 2 hours by ferry. It was a bit annoying after the long flight, but worse things have happened to better people. A little tip: if you have to change trains in London, make sure you have at least 90 minutes to do so!
I then booked a motel for the first few days. The Colonial Motel was relatively cheap, central and also quite decent. Another recommendation would be the Painted Turtle right in the center. I then found an apartment on http: //Nanaimo.craigslist.ca/ (there you can find everything your heart desires such as apartment ads, used cars, furniture, etc.) and bought a cheap used car. I have to say that the bus service cannot really be compared to ours. So you can get from A to B, but with a lot of patience. So I treated myself to the luxury of a car and was able to drive up and down the whole island before university started and later through the USA for a few more weeks. By the way, I am describing this whole part, i.e. the first 3 weeks, in such detail because I am of the opinion
First of all, accommodation is important. After that everything comes by itself. You drive to the university and introduce yourself to the International Office. Like all other Canadians, they are very nice and helpful. Then there are events for freshmen and for all international students (by the way, there are an incredible number of Germans at the university every semester). If you are not a misanthrope, you will immediately find likeable fellow students. Although I lived a bit away from the university, I can recommend getting a room in the student residences directly at the university. It is best to apply for this as early as possible.
Finally, a few more subjective notes:
Nanaimo isn’t particularly big so if you’re looking for a lively town with nightlife etc then this isn’t really the place for you, but there is still a thing or two to do here too.
The university is perfectly fine, courses are nice and small and cosy, the lecturers are mostly nice, the academic program is ok too.
There is a gym (free of charge) and a hall directly at the university. Here you can register, for example, for the university’s internal basketball, volleyball or football league.
Otherwise there is actually nothing negative to say about Canada or Vancouver Island and Vancouver Island University. So I can recommend the VIU and I don’t think it will disappoint anyone else either.