I applied for a place at SMU very early on and I am still surprised at how smoothly the process and the entire cooperation with MicroEDU went. MicroEDU was available to answer any questions and did a great job with pre-organizing. From course registration to the airport pick-up service, everything was well planned and made my start to the semester abroad a lot easier. Thanks a lot for this! Learn more about Saint Mary’s University on andyeducation.
Like many others, I flew to Halifax and had no long-term accommodation until the day I arrived. The first week I lived with a family for free via Couchsurfing.com and during these seven days I was able to look for a room.
This turned out to be more difficult than expected, as many of the rooms in shared flats were already occupied. The residence was out of the question for me and so I finally stayed with my host family for a semester.
There are basically three major ways to live in Halifax. On the one hand in one of the residences, which not only take a bit of getting used to, but are also very expensive. There is also the option of living with a host family as a subtenant, which has the advantage that you speak English and you don’t have to worry about new purchases such as a coffee machine, toaster, etc. The disadvantage to the residence is the distance, as the family residential areas are mostly on the outskirts and it takes about 15 minutes by bus to get to the university (the semester ticket includes use of public transport). In the best case scenario, you will live in a shared apartment with students from other nations. Not only is this cheaper than most Canadian dorms, but it’s also a lot more fun!
Due to the many experience reports, I was aware that I would be in contact with numerous Germans and that I would therefore not only be able to speak English. Unfortunately that is true! 🙂 In my semester there were between 70 and 100 Germans in Halifax, and thanks to the great Orientation Week, which by the way shouldn’t be missed if possible, we quickly found each other and spent the first few days together.
Of course they spoke less English, but the fun factor was more than high. In my opinion, despite all this, you can improve your language skills and practice enough English, simply through the numerous assignments, term papers and short presentations.
Contact with Germans made it difficult to speak English, but it made many things easier. You made friends quickly and because of the German society you didn’t have any problems with homesickness. I can definitely say that I made friends for life during my semester abroad in Halifax, and it was worth it for that.
The SMU is a typical campus university. You can reach most of the buildings with the ingenious system of corridors (under- and over-the-air) and really don’t need to step into the cold if necessary. At first glance, it looks very clunky and unattractive, and that won’t change at second glance. Yet you learn to love them. Every day at the university you meet people you know from some course or have seen in the library and you quickly get into small talk. The Tim Hortons Cafés are guaranteed to sweeten every break, and the university’s own fitness studio on campus helps you to get rid of the sweetening.
Once you have found your way through all the corridors, life at such a campus university is really very comfortable.
The course level and the cost of the course are not comparable with the German courses. The course level is lower and the effort involved is higher.
It is not particularly difficult to keep up with the content of the courses, and if you have problems you can always contact the professors. The professor-student ratio is very good at around 1:20 and makes studying really more pleasant. The courses are very small with an average of 20-30 students and are reminiscent of school classes.
I first had to get used to the cooperation. The Canadians have to write a lot of assignments, papers or essays during the semester, and of course no exception is made for the Germans. However, the numerous group work helps with learning the language and sometimes you can find a few Canadian friends this way 🙂
All in all, no German student should have a problem completing the courses more or less successfully, with the “more successful” predominating here.
Briefly about my courses:
Strategic Management with Mrs. Patricia Fitzgerald
The course started with us having to learn all names. During the semester there was a midterm and two extensive case studies. One was the final presentation and the other was a written paper. Furthermore, Ms. Fitzgerald tormented us with small, unannounced tests, which are really fun with an average of 4 out of 10 points.
The content of the course is interesting and covers the basics of corporate governance and management, but it is relatively difficult for Canadian standards to leave the course with good grades.
Conclusion: If you are looking for a lot of effort for not very good grades, this course is the right place for you!
International Accounting with Mr. Peter Secord
The course is less about balance sheets than about the basic comparison of different accounting systems, such as HGB, IFRS, US-GAAP or numerous other GAAP types. Mr. Secord is an incredibly lovable and friendly professor who loves and lives his subject. His teaching is good and complex. Despite the effort, I found the course very pleasant. You don’t have to expect any unannounced tests, you don’t write a midterm or a final exam. For this you have to write an assignment almost every week. Which has the advantage that you actively deal with the topic and also the English language, and get to know Canadians and other international students in the group work. Mr. Secord attaches great importance to the fact that the nations and languages are mixed in the groups.
Conclusion: Despite a lot of effort, you had fun and reaching an A or a maximum of B was pure hard work.
International Economic Issues with Mr. Arun Mukhopadhay
The economics course can be compared with courses such as foreign trade or international economic relations. The effort for this course is very limited. In terms of content, the level and degree of difficulty correspond to those in Germany. The midterm and final exam, on the other hand, are multiple choice questions and can be managed despite certain demands. The final presentation is usually very short and not difficult. As a business administrator, I had difficulties with the content on exchange rate systems and the professor’s very Indian English.
Conclusion: good grade with little effort, but demanding.
We could never complain about a lack of fun. There are quite a few places to go out in Halifax to dance, drink, or just chill out. Usually there was something going on every day. Be it sitting around with friends in the shared apartments, going to the clubs dancing or stumbling from one happy hour to the next. The semester abroad in Halifax is really highly recommended.
It is advisable to take out health insurance in Germany in advance in order to avoid the university’s expensive compulsory protection. Hanse Merkur and ADAC are particularly inexpensive.
In Canada you are welcomed with open arms and the start is made much easier by the friendliness of the people. You feel welcome.
In order to get to clubs or bars in Canada you have to prove your age at all times. Therefore, it is essential to bring your ID card with you in addition to your passport so that you don’t always have to carry your passport with you. In addition, it is advisable to get a Nova Scotia Card in Halifax, as many clubs do not want to accept the German passport and you constantly start new discussions. The card costs around 15 CAD and is also a nice souvenir and a guarantee for admission to the club.
All in all, the semester in Halifax was great! I would do it again anytime!