My semester abroad in Vancouver was amazing! I was able to gain experience, made new friends from all over the world and got to know a new, interesting and great culture.
Since I knew that I would have to do a semester abroad because of my studies in Germany, I really wanted to go to Canada. The country has always fascinated me with its great nature, the nice people and the many cultures within a country. After I made the decision, I searched the Internet to find the easiest way to apply to the Canadian university. That’s how I came across MicroEDU. The website immediately won me over with its friendly design, bright colors and nice texts, and in January 2015 I received a request for information about studying in Canada. A short time later I was emailed several brochures and informational material, with the request to contact me if I had any further questions. Katharina was super nice and always answered my questions very quickly and purposefully, although at the time it was not at all clear whether I would use the help of MicroEDU. I just wanted to find out more about the different universities and courses. Katharina helped me a lot and suggested various options that were very individually tailored to my needs. After some deliberation and consideration, I finally decided to go to MicroEDU at Capilano University to apply in North Vancouver. Katharina sent me all the necessary application documents, helped with questions and took over communication with the Canadian university. It was really very helpful to have this support and I was glad not to have to do it all on my own !
The application was by and large very easy and after a few weeks the Canadian university accepted the job in spring.
In Liberal Studies I have the courses ANTH 121 – Intro to Social Anthropology, PHIL 101 – Ethics, SOC 100 – Social Structures and GEOG 100 – Human Geography. My favorite courses were Anthropology with Maureen Bracewell and Human Geography with Charles Greenberg. The topics at Maureen were super interesting and the teaching structure was very varied. Charles is a super funny and nice lecturer who has traveled a lot and also likes to tell one or two anecdotes from his life. I found all of the topics very interesting and the assignments were varied and some of them were really fun. In the end, I had the feeling that I had not only had anonymous lecturers, but teachers who really care about learning something and knowing each other.
In general, the courses are very different from the lectures in Germany. The courses are attended by a maximum of 35 students, the lecturers try to get to know the students and the examination structure is also very different. Instead of a large exam at the end of the semester and perhaps a presentation in between, in Canada or at the Cap (this is how Capilano University is called on campus) you have to hand in a lot of small papers during the semester and write two smaller exams, the midterm and the final exam in the examination period at the end of the semester. Although the workload is unusually high, it helped me a lot personally to have to stay on the balland thus to get very good grades. In general, however, I still have the impression that the exams are easier than in Germany and that the lecturers rate them generously.
All other employees at the university and Canadians in general are incredibly nice and happy to help if you have any questions or problems. The lecturers introduce themselves by first name, those responsible for the international students are helpful and open-minded and the mentors show you the campus and ways to have fun. Especially Alison Rudko, who was responsible for us exchange students, was extremely nice and helpful and had a quick answer to every problem. Basically, there is a lot of thanks and apologies and I had the feeling that everything is not as anonymous as in Germany, but that you can easily talk to strangers and I found it particularly nice that the bus drivers were incredibly nice.
The campus of the Cap is surrounded by trees on a mountain in North Vancouver and is easily accessible by bus. There are several buildings which, in addition to the library and classrooms, also include a sports complex, a cafeteria, lounges and the university bookshop. The university has modern equipment and you can find your way around easily.
Most of us either lived in a host family or in shared apartments. Basically, living in Vancouver is quite expensive, but this is mainly due to the beautiful surroundings and the great location of the city. I lived in North Vancouver, which turned out to be ideal for me, as I was at the university in 45 minutes and in the center in 20 minutes by bus.
According to jibin123, Vancouver is a great city that has everything you could want. You have the city that is directly on the sea, which means you have beautiful beaches. There are also many parks and forests just a short hop away that are great for hiking. A few kilometers further you can even go skiing in winter! There are of course many exceptional restaurants, bars and clubs throughout the year, all of which are well worth a visit. The cuisine is very international and you can always find something from pizza to sushi and African. You can get anywhere with your compass card by bus, sky train or on foot, and you can also get home easily at night thanks to the night buses.
Of course, you can’t compare a student life in Germany with that in Canada and Vancouver, since the tuition fees alone are quite high. But I would recommend it to anyone who has the opportunity, as it was really an extraordinary once-in-a-lifetime experience that really enriched me. I would go straight back to Vancouver and CapU and study for another semester! Even if it is of course a personal challenge, you learn an incredible amount and I met great new people and was able to study in a dream city.