I am studying International Business Studies as a Bachelor and since a semester abroad is compulsory in my course, the question arose early on how I would like to organize my stay abroad. Since my home university has hardly any partnerships with North American universities, I finally decided to plan my semester abroad as a “freemover” with the help of MicroEDU.
After doing some research, I decided to go to Capilano University in North Vancouver. The application process was more than easy thanks to the help of MicroEDU. The contact persons were always there if you needed help, but MicroEDU provides all the necessary information and documents to each applicant in advance, so that you usually did not have to consult with them at all. After I had sent my application, after a few weeks I finally got the acceptance from the university and nothing stood in the way of my stay.
I had read many experience reports in advance, in which the semester abroad was presented as the best time of life – and yes, I can confirm that too! My time in Canada couldn’t have been better!
Already in advance, a few weeks before the start of the university, the Capilano internationals were informed of all important key data by a responsible employee of the International Office. Here, too, you had a reliable contact person before, during and after your stay, if questions arose. In my opinion, the support from MicroEDU and Capilano could not have been better.
The university campus is comparatively small and clearly laid out, right next to the forest and you quickly feel at home. So you were never alone on college days, because you always ran into someone you knew on campus.
I took four courses at Capilano: “Cross Cultural Business”, “Leadership in Teams”, “Professional Selling Skills” and “Organizational Behavior”. As a German student in Canada, I felt a little back in my school days: The courses were very small with around 35 students, the lecturers knew me by name and the “lessons” were very much characterized by interaction and group work. In general, in my opinion, the academic level is much lower than at a German university, the time required is due to numerous assignments during the semester, however, significantly higher. However, since the standards are comparatively not that high, nothing stood in the way of good grades despite numerous trips and weekend road trips.
I would also like to point out that a large number of German, Austrian and Swiss students spent their semester abroad at Capilano, which often meant that a lot of German was spoken.
I was lucky enough to “get to know” another German student through the Facebook group of the Capilano’s Visiting Students, with whom I rented an apartment through AirBnB in North Vancouver. We were very lucky and felt very comfortable over the entire period. However, many have also lived in homestays or searched for apartments via various websites (e.g. Craigslist) and rented them.
Even if you start your semester abroad alone, you will (almost) never be alone during that time. Already on orientation day I got to know a lot of students from different nations. Different groups quickly formed to plan weekends. I’ve been with a lot of different people and I’ve been lucky enough to get to know many characters and cultures. For example, we went to the Rocky Mountains for a weekend (one of my highlights), did a road trip to Vancouver Island, to Seattle and the Olympic National Park in the USA, to the Joffre Lakes and to Whistler. I’m going to Los Angeles for 5 days flown (the flights to the USA are really very cheap) and and and…
Of course we also went hiking and in nature, which is never boring, especially in “beautiful British Columbia” !
Vancouver / Canada:
According to existingcountries, Canada is just beautiful in terms of landscape. And Vancouver, located directly on the water and the mountains, for me the perfect city, where you don’t have to do without that big city feeling. So you can actually always find events and activities that you can do as soon as the weather gets a bit worse (yes, November in Vancouver is VERY rainy).
In my opinion, Canadians fulfill every cliché regarding friendliness and hospitality. Be it at the university, at home with the landlord or on the daily bus ride to the university – I’ve rarely met so many nice, open and warm people.
You should plan enough budget for your stay abroad just because of the tuition fees. Housing is not exactly cheap in Vancouver either. When it comes to groceries, you can count on prices comparable to those in Germany once you have figured out what to buy where after a while. With international BAföG, some savings and the financial support of my parents, I was able to live well in Vancouver and didn’t have to do without anything. All in all, you should still plan 10,000-12,000 euros for your stay abroad (I was on the road for four months).
On the whole, I can only say that for me the best decision was to go to Vancouver to study there for a semester.