I had already done a semester abroad during my bachelor’s degree. That’s why I really wanted to go abroad again for my master’s degree. The choice fell on Brock University because my girlfriend and I wanted to go abroad and we were looking for a university that offers suitable courses for both of our courses. Canada was a country we both wanted to go to and Brock had a good reputation, good ratings, a good location and the right courses for both of us.
Registering through MicroEDU and the university itself was pretty easy. The required language level of the university was also proven with the DAAD language certificate (cheaper than the others) and then you were already enrolled. The course selection was a bit of a thrill, because somehow you can’t do that on the day you can register for courses. As an exchange student, you need so-called “overrides” in order to be able to register for courses. However, since you can often only register for the course much later than the Canadian students, you run the risk of not getting in.
Everything worked for me personally and I got all the courses I wanted. However, I wrote to the coordinator for Brock’s international students at a very early stage and even then I was there a couple of times. Everything went well and alternatives can be found if a course doesn’t work.
Abbreviated as BU by toppharmacyschools, Brock University itself is very new and has great facilities. The lecture rooms and seminar rooms were all well equipped with a PC, visualizer, projector, sound system and well-laid out seating arrangements.
What I really liked were the study rooms and the library. There are different floors in the library building, which are divided according to the permitted noise level. That means you can sit down on one floor for group work and work together, or you can go to another floor to study in silence.
Then there are chill corners with bean bags where you can take a nap in between. On the first floor of the library you can get coffee, pastries and snacks from Starbucks or Tim Hortons (definitely the better choice) and take them with you to study. The library’s equipment of literature was enough for everything I needed. After learning, you can also go swimming in the Sports Complex (and take cool sports courses such as MMA or kickboxing). There is also a gym right there.
I found the courses themselves well structured and interesting. Canada is a little more service-oriented than Germany. I’ve been to my lecturers here several times to ask questions. Since my courses had about 30 people (except for a mass event), personal contact was also desired and very easy. Some courses require literature (which is usually very expensive in the associated book store), but some of it can also be found in online libraries. My home university, for example, had a book available online that I needed in Canada. Otherwise, the books can often be found relatively cheap at various online booksellers. It takes a week or two to have everything, but that was enough for me.
The workload for the courses is higher than the workload for the courses that I have had in Germany so far. Somehow you have something to do every week. Think of it like school with homework. Most of it is not difficult and can be done in 1-2 hours. Some things take a little longer, but that is limited. On average, I would say that it was an hour a day that I had to spend at university doing my “homework”. Here, however, maximum performance is not expected, but simply that you have done it. It’s not that difficult either and I almost always found it really interesting.
Living in St Catharines is not too expensive. You could roughly compare it to my hometown Nuremberg. I recommend everyone NOT to go to the dormitories. They cost a lot, you have to book the food (one said he only ate french fries and chicken fingers). There is the saying of the Freshmen 15. That means that the people who are freshly moving in there gain 15 pounds in a year.
In my opinion, it is better to look for a room in a shared apartment. There are many such houses available for rent along Glenridge Avenue (and side streets). I think the location here is perfect because you don’t have far to go anywhere. Personally, I lived a bit outside of the city, but that wasn’t a hassle because we bought a car.
On the subject of cars. . . you need a parking card at the university, which costs around 200 euros per semester. Otherwise there are tickets. Definitely do not leave the car at the McDonalds when you go to university, because it will be towed away (it is also on all signs). Otherwise you can drive and rent a car with a German driver’s license. If you want to buy a Canadian car, you have to get a Canadian driver’s license (which is exchanged for a German one) in order to be able to take out insurance.
Important: To exchange your driving license you need a translation from a recognized translator.
The international driver’s license didn’t bring me anything in Canada or the USA.
Otherwise, I can absolutely recommend a car for traveling! The public transport network here is not as good as it is in Germany and there are some things that you simply cannot get to without a car. Driving is very relaxed here and the distances are long. We drove all the way to Vancouver and it was great fun.