University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business
Study type: semester abroad
Vancouver Island University (VIU) is a small university on an island near Vancouver called Vancouver Island. The university belongs to the 90,000 soul city of Nanaimo, the second largest city on the island. The campus is away from the city center but can be reached by bus within 15 minutes. The campus includes several buildings of different disciplines, buildings with services for students (Writing Center, MBA Office, International Office, etc.), a cafeteria, Starbucks, subway, fitness center, green areas, parks and a lot of stairs. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Florida International University.
In order to find your way around the campus better, I can only recommend downloading the Uni App to find your way around better with the interactive map and to get news about the university (safety tips, closures due to snow, etc.). The application process through MicroEdu was easy and quick. Despite my late decision to do the exchange semester in February, I was able to organize everything for the fall semester abroad.
Finding accommodation in Nanaimo has been difficult. From Germany, I was unable to find accommodation on any of the websites (Craigslist, Facebook, Kijiji, etc.) after being too high on the waiting list for both student accommodations (Residence VIU & Great Western Student Residences). For the student dormitories, my late decision to do the semester abroad was indeed too late. I then rented the hostel The Painted Turtle Guesthouse with some other German students.
The room was more expensive than the other options in Nanaimo, but it was definitely worth it to me. In the hostel I had a single room that was cleaned every week, the bed was freshly made and I lived right in the city center opposite the student club (Level II) and all the restaurants. The other rooms that I found online via the aforementioned platforms were cheaper, but not in the city center or close to the university.
Compared to my home university, the courses at VIU were less challenging. But there was also more work to do in comparison, for example small tests, presentations or essays throughout the semester instead of a large thesis. I learned a lot from some of the courses and really enjoyed them.
There were few Germans and few Canadians in the MBA courses. Hardly any of my colleagues had English as their first language and most were from Asia, especially China and India, or Africa. This made some group work a bit difficult, especially when it came to academic writing. The courses from the third semester of the MBA were much more demanding and also more interesting than the freshman courses. The group work also went better in the third-semester courses. I chose the following courses :
- MBA500 – The effective manager (Bonita Russell) – 3 credits – first semester
Very good course with many interesting topics, a great lecturer and little effort
- MBA502 – Establishing the Global Context (Ahmed Hoque) – 3 credits – Freshman
Personally I was disappointed with the course as I expected something different and the lecturer was very difficult to understand (heavy accent)
- MBA540 – International HR Management (Steven Purse) – 3 credits – third semester
Very good course, interesting subjects, with a tough but fair instructor who appreciated the hard work it took to get a good grade on the course
Canada and travel
Nanaimo as a city didn’t have a ton to offer, so I wouldn’t recommend the uni for city slickers who like to be in the thick of things. From Nanaimo, however, we could go hiking (Mt. Benson), visit the islands off Nanaimo (Protection Island), go kayaking, swim in the lake (Westwood Lake) or in the Pacific. There is also a lot to see on the island itself, such as the capital Victoria, Tofino, Ucluelet or the many small villages between the towns.
Downtown Vancouver is about 2.5 hours from Nanaimo . The city is incredibly interesting and really has a lot to offer. From clubs to shopping to theaters and Christmas markets, there really is a lot to do. Vancouver is also a short drive to Whistler Mountain for hiking or skiing. We also flew from the airport in Vancouver to San Francisco and Hawaii for little money or took the bus to Seattle and Port Angeles.
You definitely wo n’t get bored on the island and in the surrounding area if you don’t have to be in the city every day, but like to be in nature. I really enjoyed my time there, traveled a lot and saw a lot. Canada is a beautiful country with lovely people who were very hospitable. The exchange students were all great too, even if they were mostly German. I made a lot of good friends there, had amazing experiences and had a really nice semester.