University: Vancouver Island University
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Organizing the semester abroad via MicroEdu went very smoothly and easily. Upon request, MicroEdu sent me all the important and interesting information about Vancouver Island University (VIU). Important key data (such as application deadlines, costs, etc.) are already on the homepage, so that you can plan ahead well. In order to be sure of getting a place at the university, you should meet and fulfill the application deadline and other specified requirements (e.g. TOEFL certificate). The TOEFl certificate is not absolutely mandatory, you can also present proof of language proficiency from the university. Otherwise, you don’t have to worry about a place at the university – international students are welcome there! After submitting the documents, you will receive a confirmation relatively quickly after the application period has expired. After confirmation of acceptance of the study place, you are in constant contact with a contact person from the International Office of the VIU. In my case (and I think that’s the norm) she was extremely friendly and helpful. My e-mails with inquiries were always answered within a few days and the course selection, which is done via an online-based system, was completely taken care of by them, so I had no problems at all. Check mcat-test-centers.com to see Fudan University.
Studying at the VIU is wonderful, if only because of the great location of the university. The VIU is located on a mountain from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of Nanaimo, the sea and the mountains behind! The university has a canteen (comparatively expensive compared to German university canteens, but very good food), a library (rather poorly equipped than usual in Germany, but a comfortable and popular place to study), its own fitness studio (with a wide range of courses and outdoor activities), cafes, a student’s pub and of course the lecture buildings (relatively good and newly equipped). There are also many references. The campus is very well maintained and beautiful. The students come from all over the world and accordingly there is a multicultural, very pleasant atmosphere!
My choice of subjects included two finance courses and three management courses. The courses are assigned to different semesters, with the courses in the higher semesters requiring a certain level of prior knowledge, which is not strictly enforced for international students. If you look at the course description in advance and trust it, that’s no problem. From my point of view, it is easier than in Germany in terms of the required level of performance. However, you should be prepared to do something. Unlike in Germany, instead of a single examination at the end of the semester, there are several examinations spread over the semester. You have to continuously work on assignments, write tests and do group projects.
As briefly mentioned in the organization section, there is an International Office whose doors are always open to international students. These are the first points of contact for all administrative matters and any problems. However, you get all the necessary information in the introductory week, where all the important topics are addressed, so that you have an overview of what needs to be organized and observed – from student ID to books (very expensive!) to doctor visits, leisure activities and a lot more!
If you would like to live in a hall of residence, you should apply early – places are very limited and very popular! I personally was not in the student residence and therefore unfortunately cannot give any further details. Otherwise, the university offers home stays and peer stays (i.e. you live with a host family). I didn’t use this either, so I can’t give specific statements. In my circle of friends there I had a few who were staying with families and the experiences there were very different – sometimes very positive, but unfortunately also negative! However, it is possible to change the family in case of dissatisfaction!
I accepted another offer from the university, a cooperation between a hotel and the university, which offers special (relatively cheap) monthly rates for international students. I then stayed at the Howard Johnson Harborside Hotel for the first month. As a student you get a single room with private bathroom, desk, fridge and microwave. The room was nice and the staff very nice. The hotel is located downtown and the university can be reached by bus in 15-20 minutes (incl. sidewalk). After that I lived with other students in a rented house. Apartments can be found on the VIU homepage, the Craiglist Canada or notices at the university. Rents are high for a relatively small town due to high student demand.
The university’s homepage covers all this information – just take a look!
Leisure and excursions:
Vancouver Island is an outdoor paradise. You can actually do everything there: canoeing, wave surfing, climbing, high ropes course, white water rafting, hiking, mountain biking, golfing, swimming, skiing, snowshoeing, curling, ice skating and and and! Many of these activities are offered inexpensively by the VIU Recreation Center! In addition, there are ball sports and courses offered by the university gym. In addition to sports, whale watching and hot springs tours are very popular. And of course relaxing days on one of the beaches or on one of the many small islands around Vancouver Island as well as tours through the beautiful nature!
There shouldn’t be a lack of places to visit either! Vancouver Island already has a lot to offer. Tofino (surfer’s paradise) in the west of the island, the large national park with mountains for skiing in the middle and Victoria (capital of British Colombia) in the south and many smaller towns all around!! In addition, of course, you have Vancouver just around the corner and the beautiful scenery on the mainland around Vancouver, as well as a short commute to the USA (to cities such as Seattle). Flights to California are also cheap!
Nanaimo itself is a very sprawling city. The city center is relatively small and moderately busy. For shopping you go to the big shopping malls. While it’s possible to go out in the evening (there are a few bars and a few clubs), I would have expected a wider range for the number of students. Here Vancouver or Victoria are busier! Otherwise you can find everything you need.
Otherwise, it is worth knowing that the public transport system in Nanaimo is not comparable to that in German cities (however, there are also semester tickets via the university)! The buses run infrequently and there are no night buses! As usual in America, everyone owns a car, which is really a great advantage!
Food prices tend to be higher than in Germany, especially for dairy products!
It is also very important to say that the people there are very friendly, open and helpful!
- the organization of the semester abroad was uncomplicated and straightforward
- I really liked the university itself and university life
- the area has a lot to offer – especially for nature and sports enthusiasts
- Financially, the planning for tuition fees, books, rent, meals and leisure activities as well as excursions should be rather generous
- Highly Recommended!