The preparation through MicroEDU was really quite simple. I went to a general information event to get an overview of my options. Then it was time to choose which country I would like to go to and which universities would be suitable.
I picked out 3 universities and discussed with my student advisory service at my home university which one would be best (based on courses and recognition ). It turned out that other students from my university and my department had already completed a semester abroad at Saint Marys University in Canada. So there was no problem with the recognition and course crediting. According to Abbreviationfinder, SMU is the abbreviation of Saint Mary’s University.
Then I got in touch with MicroEDU and we went through together which documents were needed for my application. Said and done. My documents were sent directly to Canada via MicroEDU and I received my approval for my stay abroad within about 3 weeks. So everything is really super easy.
I can’t give you much advice for the flight, except “keep your eyes open”. I cannot say whether it is better to book early or shortly before. One way or another you can be lucky or unlucky. If you already know when you want to go back, book the outward and return flight directly, otherwise a one-way ticket is sufficient. Some have said that it will be more difficult to get in with a one-way ticket… I already had the return ticket and was only asked in Frankfurt;)
If you only stay for one semester and are not asked at the airport, then it is best to tell yourself, then you can go straight through and pick up your suitcase without any problems.
If you want to live off-campus, it is best to search locally. Of course, on-campus also has its advantages, but it was too expensive for me personally. If you want to live off-campus, look over kijiji.com and then don’t contact people with emails, but call them! They don’t answer a single email but usually answer the phone quickly so that an appointment can be made. In terms of price, there are of course no limits. When you have more available, you have less of a problem finding something. I didn’t have that much available myself and was a little lucky with my search. I lived within walking distance (12 minutes) from the university and paid CAD $ 520. Nothing compared to Germany (depending on where you live), but really cheap for Canada / Halifax.
The university is, in my opinion, how you imagine it from films. All on a large campus and a large football field in the middle. At the Saint Marys you can join the courses directly with the Canadians. At some universities there are extra courses only for internationals, but not at the SMU!
There are quite a few sports on offer, such as softball, volleyball or soccer. You get all of this right at the beginning of the Welcome Week and can be entered so that you receive all the necessary information by email. The GYM is also included directly on campus and in your tuition fees (provided you take at least 3 courses and are therefore considered a full-time student), so take advantage of it =) There are also courses in the GYM that you can take part in normally, as in every other gym too.
The library became my best friend 😉 In Germany I actually never go to the BIB, in Halifax I was really there regularly. There are some PCs downstairs that you can work on, but it’s quite noisy there. People like to chat, which I personally didn’t mind. But if you have trouble concentrating, you can also go one floor up to the relaxation room. There is really very quiet work there, but you will need your own laptop there. You actually have internet on the entire campus, but it is not always the fastest and I had problems with my laptop in the university network, which is why I switched to the PC. But just try it out, maybe you will be more lucky than me =)
The courses are also chosen in advance from Germany. You will get a timely notification via College Conatct as to when you can register. Do it directly, there is only a certain time zone in which this is possible. You can easily change your courseon site. In the first week (possibly also up to the second) you can still change for free, after that there is a fee. But in general it’s really easy, it wasn’t a problem for me. Just talk to your home university early enough for recognition.
What is also important to know, printing is also quite easy. At the beginning you will get credit on your student ID and you can top up in the BIB in a relaxed manner if you print a lot. Whether you print a lot or a little is up to you. Personally, I always like to have everything on paper, so I used up my credit quickly.
Books are the other important topic on which I would like to give a tip. Unfortunately, I didn’t know which books I needed beforehand, so I could only take care of them on site. But there are some Facebook groups that are worth checking out. Otherwise you can buy the books in the bookstore and sell them again at the end (unfortunately with a significant loss). It’s really stupid, but I really needed my books for my classes. In Germany I rarely look at books, in Halifax I bought 3 and read them too. Do not think about the possible loss of the sale. It hurts, but is of no use;)
You have the bus ticket with you in your tuition fees (again if you are a full-time student, i.e. at least 3 courses), if you only stay 1 semester, you can return it at the end and get a partial amount refunded in cash.
Shopping / bars
Shopping is of course a bit more expensive than you know from Germany. If you can, go shopping on Tuesdays, then it’s Student Day at Sobeys and the Atlantic Superstore and you get a 10% discount. Of course, it’s only really worth it if you do a bulk purchase or have to leave more money. As I said, it’s best not to constantly compare prices with German prices, it just hurts.
Depending on what you get your credit card about, you can withdraw it for free. I organized mine through the DKB, went super fast and had the best conditions in comparison. The Mals are ideal for shopping, either the Halifax Shopping Center or the Mic Mac Mal. Both, depending on where you live, can be easily reached by bus.
Bars, pubs etc. are all downtown and easily accessible. You can actually reach everything on foot, but if necessary there are also buses that you can use thanks to your bus ticket. Everyone has to try out for themselves what the best locations are, since tastes are known to be different. But alcohol is really expensive in comparison, can only be bought from 19 and not drunk on the street;)