University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
My decision to go to Canada was made quickly because Australia and New Zealand are too expensive and the USA didn’t appeal to me that much. So all I had to do was choose from the many universities in Canada. I was particularly impressed by Vancouver Island University because of its location and the programs it offers. A not entirely unimportant factor was that you don’t necessarily need a TOEFL test for admission, but a DAAD certificate is sufficient. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see San Francisco State University.
The application process itself was really very uncomplicated, the cooperation with MicroEdu really made it a lot easier and accelerated the process. I applied in January 2011 and unfortunately had no luck getting a place in a student hall of residence. But looking back, that wasn’t bad at all.
The registration for the courses went smoothly. I had already thought about which courses I would like to take and after activating my account I only had to quickly select all the courses. I wasn’t on anyone’s waiting list. The rule here is: First Come First Serve! So as soon as you have the information about when you can vote, it is best to dial in at exactly that time.
My subjects were then: International Business, Buyer Behaviour, Organizational Behavior and Introduction of E-Management. The Buyer and Organizational Behavior courses are highly recommended. The lecturers are absolutely amazing and the content is very valuable for a business administration student with a marketing/management orientation. In both courses you also have the chance to give presentations and do group work, which helps a lot with real English speaking. Because otherwise there are already a lot of Germans on campus and also in the courses. International Business was also very interesting, although very basic for a third year course. The exams were also made easy…
The disadvantage of the courses is clearly the book prices. In the first 3 courses it was more or less impossible to follow the courses or study for the exams without the book. However, you can easily get rid of around $150-200 CAD for each book. As for the learning atmosphere, one can clearly say that it was really great. The class size was very intensive with 20-30 people and it was easy to reach the professor after class. However, what is slightly different than in Germany is the effort during the semester. In most courses you had to hand in 1-2 papers and also take part in group work. In addition, there are midterms, for which you definitely have to learn. Overall, you have more learning effort during the semester,
I found my accommodation through Nanaimo.craigslist.ca and after staying at the Painted Turtle Hostel I ended up in a homestay family. It wasn’t organized through the university and was really a bit different. It was more like a young couple with a big house that housed two students. This gave you more of a flat share feeling, which was very pleasant. You also had to speak English all day, which helped me a lot in terms of my everyday vocabulary. The city is actually quite well equipped with a bus network, except that there are not really many connections on weekends or even after 10 p.m. Since then had to serve often a taxi.
When it comes to free time, Canada and especially the island is the first choice! Nature is simply breathtakingly beautiful and must be explored. Here is a small list of the best excursion destinations: Tofino, Strathcona National Park, Victoria, Whale Watching (no matter where), Vancouver, Seattle (ideal for a weekend shopping trip), Rocky Mountains (ABSOLUTE MUST!) – you can then meet one or two bears… And of course you can go skiing/snowboarding on Mount Washington (on Vancouver Island) or Whistler on the mainland. The best thing to do is to rent a car with several people and then just drive off, so of course it’s also practical if you don’t have lectures 5 days a week. From my own experience I would say that a small tour group is more pleasant,
All in all, I can highly recommend a semester abroad in the field of business at the VIU. The university is really a leader in this field. The study conditions with the large library and a wide range of sports and leisure activities are also very good. You certainly have to make a few compromises in the city and the living environment. The possibilities here are rather limited and you have to go to the mainland and make Vancouver unsafe to really experience a lot (also in party life). But all in all it was 5 months full of valuable experiences and very nice acquaintances!