University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Before I go into more detail about the individual points, one thing in advance: A semester abroad at Vancouver Island University is enormously expensive, but an absolute experience, which in my opinion was worth every penny. You get to know a lot of nice people, see a lot of nature and gain valuable experience at a foreign university. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Santa Barbara City College SBCC.
After I became interested in an exchange program at my home university too late, the only option left to me was to go abroad as a freemover. For me, that meant at first: organizing everything on my own, higher costs and no certainty that the courses would be recognized at all. However, I was quickly advised to seek advice from agencies and get help. No sooner said than done, that’s how I ended up at MicroEdu. Right from the start, I had the feeling that I was getting good advice from a personal contact, so my initial “Oh God, how can I do it all?!” gave way to “Oh, it’s actually quite clear!”. After reading through interviews and testimonials After getting an idea of the universities in question, the choice quickly fell on Canada and there on the universities VIU and SFU in Halifax. For the shortlist, MicroEdu asked for the detailed course descriptions of both universities and provided them to me until my final choice was Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo. The application went smoothly via MicroEdu, who checked my data again before submitting it to the university and then passed it on. A few weeks later I received an “offer letter” from the university and was able to get it by transferring the tuition fees accept. The last thing I had to do before leaving was choosing my courses, which I was able to clarify with my home university beforehand. I didn’t need to apply for a visa, because as a German you only need one if you want to stay in Canada for more than 6 months (apparently it was recently changed, so inform yourself!).
There are two ways to get to Nanaimo: either fly direct from Vancouver to Nanaimo Airport, which is a little further afield, or land in Vancouver and take the ferry. Personally, I chose the latter because it was cheaper and I could explore a little bit of Vancouver. From the airport to downtown to all the hotels/hostels you need about 25 minutes by train ($4) and from downtown to the ferry to Horseshoe Bay another 45 minutes ($2.75). The ferry runs to Nanaimo every two hours on average, takes 1 hour 40 minutes and costs $17.
I decided very early on against a room in the residence because I thought it was overpriced and I read in some reports that it was sometimes very noisy. I arrived about 2 weeks before the start of the semester and wanted to look for a room on site, which was within walking distance to the university and which one would like to remember afterwards. A lot of offers can be compared via craigslist, kijiji or the university website and after less than two days I found my room in a 4-person flat share: 15-20 minutes walk to the university, $600 rent (rather expensive), but completely newly furnished including a large lounge, kitchen and balcony with a view of Nanaimo, the sea and, on a good day, even as far as Vancouver. In retrospect, I would do it again because it has the following advantages over looking for a room from home: You get to know the landlord and flatmates beforehand, you can get an idea of the situation (there are also ugly corners in Nanaimo ), in real everything looks different than in pictures.
Studies and courses
I attended four MBA courses at VIU. Unlike in Germany, the students here have a kind of timetable and are given their courses for each semester. Unlike in Germany, the students are divided into classes (sections) of 30-40 people and complete their entire course of study in this section. As a semester student abroad, on the other hand, you can choose your courses freely and can put together your timetable between different semesters and the different sections. I attended the following master courses:
- MBA 500 – The Effective Manager (Semester A, a lot of general talk, no really new knowledge, but mediocre effort)
- MBA 502 – Establishing the Global Index (Semester A, quite interesting, as many things of the world economy are examined, little effort during the semester, a lot at the end)
- MBA 540 – International Human Resource Management (semester C1, interesting to get to know different aspects of IHRM, extremely high effort, only half a semester)
- MBA 565J – Project Management (semester C1, almost only learning a book by heart, weekly tests, but still reasonably interesting if you like PM, high effort, since only half a semester)
Overall, the learning effort is much higher due to a lot of group work, submissions and presentations, but the level is well below German. The relationship with the professors is also different than in Germany, since everyone is addressed by their first name and the small courses make it easy to establish a personal connection.
The university offers excellent supervision and many activities for students. For all matters, both school and of a different nature, such as a failed apartment search, you can find advice here or be forwarded to the appropriate address.
There is also a large gymnasium on the campus with an adjoining fitness and squash room, which can be used by students free of charge. The gym team organizes a football, volleyball or basketball league for students, with weekly evening games. In addition, numerous excursions for surfing, hiking, skiing or snorkeling are offered, which offer an excellent opportunity to explore the island very cheaply.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
Nanaimo and Vancouver Island offer a wide range of recreational opportunities. It’s definitely worth taking some time out and exploring the area, as that’s a big part of an overseas experience. In Nanaimo itself there are a few bars and discotheques, which are however rather small and tranquil, with Protection Island, a small island a few hundred meters away from the city with a floating pub, from where you have a very nice view of Nanaimo and the mountains Has. A small ferry takes guests back and forth every hour.
In addition to hiking, Vancouver Island offers surfing on the West Coast or skiing on Mt. Washington in the winter. A very big tip: find out about the excursions organized by the university early on, as these are quickly booked up.
Vancouver and its surroundings also offer an enormous number of possibilities for excursions, for example we went skiing in Whistler, in Seattle or at an NHL game of the Vancouver Canucks.
Dos and don’ts
- do as much as you can!
- visits Protection Island
- flies to Vancouver by seaplane
- attends an NHL game
- take as many trips with the university as possible
- take part in a league at the university, even if you don’t have a team and don’t know the sport ► you get to know a lot of people
- don’t hang around at home too much
- Although university is the main reason for a semester abroad, don’t forget that you want to experience something