BU Exchange Program
After a bit of planning and research, I decided to spend a semester abroad through MicroEDU and to Canada – it would be Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.
I chose this because two of my fellow students had already been there before and only reported good things about it.
After a bit of a laborious search for an apartment, I found accommodation in advance and then flew to Canada at the end of August. There in Toronto – Pearson Airport – I went to the information desk and asked how I can best get to St. Catharines.
I also found out about the possibilities in advance, but there I already decided that I would take the Niagara Transit… The woman then told me VERY NICE about the different variations and then I took the bus to St. Catharines, all the way to downtown.
From there I asked a bit and took the next bus to “my station”.
There in the new home, first unpacked and rested.
After the first shock, because the houses are now a bit different than in Germany, on the second day I made my way to the university and explored the area.
Arrived at the university (huge area where you get lost and don’t even know where to…) I kept asking all the info booths and the help was always very nice! Then I arrived at the “International Office”, where I first had a smal talk with the employee about my flight, my apartment and my general state of health. Everyone, including the director, is very interested and extremely friendly! According to Abbreviationfinder, BU is the abbreviation of Brock University.
There I would have been able to find an apartment etc without further ado if I didn’t already have something.
Right there I could register for trips – Niagara Falls, Toronto City, Walmart Trip… -. These were organized by the university for international students so that they can find their way in the first one to two weeks and connect with other international students.
In the first week there was also an event “Wine & Chese”, where all international students were invited to eat together and toast with a nice wine and to get to know each other.
There you made your first acquaintances and planned the next few days together, met and simply explored the area.
Then the O phase started. There was a huge event that was organized by the university and where people were informed about possible parties, events, engagements and sports at various stands. You got to know more and more people and were never alone!
The first lectures started and compared to Germany it was more like the old school system. Everyone was allowed to introduce themselves, open discussions were started, there was a lot of participation. And above all: There were not only the hard exams at the end, but – depending on the courses – all kinds of attendance, homework, midterms and larger projects that you worked on in teams.
At first you might get a shock that so much work is waiting for you, but the whole thing can be a lot of fun and is not half as exhausting in the end as in Germany.
You also have the opportunity to work on real case studies and to get to know practical life.
Even in the courses you get to know a lot of people because you are actually always in contact with them.
The professors are much more humane than here in Germany and they know you by name and you are not just any number. You can approach them about all sorts of problems and they are usually very helpful and show a lot of understanding, especially for international students. They even care about you!
In addition to the lectures, there are all kinds of activities at the university that you can take part in – starting with any events that are organized, trips to simple sports courses and just the “zone” – the fitness studio.
Every Thursday there is the student party – AISECs!
And last but not least, the many clubs downtown. You might think St. Catharines is not very big and maybe a bit boring, but it’s great to party there!
You get to know a lot of nice people and you just do sooo much!
For me it was, you can say it: the best time of my life. I’ve rarely had so much fun and laughed so much and done nonsense as there. But also learned a lot without much stress and a lot of effort. I passed all courses with ease and took a lot with me from there.
I would recommend everyone to do a semester abroad and Brock University was worth it for me and I would do it again,
I still maintain contact with the staff of the International Office and even with the director! They are very great people and the university is just great…