I found the SMU to be a very nice and well organized university. There is an orientation week for first-year students at SMU, although different events are offered for international students than for Canadian students. Among other things, the SMU organizes buses that take the students to Peggy’s Cove, a beautiful coast with a lighthouse southwest of Halifax, but also ensures that you can apply for a Nova Scotia ID. This is helpful because some pubs only accept such an ID or a passport, for example. You don’t like to take the latter with you in the evening.
Lectures begin during the orientation week. Fortunately, my courses were set up so that I only had classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a. m. to 4:30 p. m. The universities in Canada are more schooled than the German ones, you have essays, exams or presentations every week. For this reason, the remaining days of the week are by no means just free time, but still allow you to explore the country with three courses.
I had chosen three courses from home, but I changed two of them on site because they did not quite meet my expectations and the requirements of my degree program. The course I kept was called Reading Film. The focus was on the interpretation of films, but also the creation of their own film projects. As a second course I chose “The Media in Every Day Life”, which was led by the same professor. The main focus was on the interpretation of media and their influence on everyday life. I chose the third course “Making Sense of Atlantic Canada” to get an insight into the culture and history of the region.
Looking back, I can say that each of the three courses taught me a lot. That was mainly due to the great professors I had. Both Jennifer VanderBurgh (Reading Film and The Media in Every Day Life) and Peter Twohig (Making Sense of Atlantic Canada) encouraged initiative and reflection on the part of the students and the interest in the subjects taught, even beyond the courses, despite the school-based system. So I can only recommend the SMU and especially courses with the professors mentioned!
Halifax is a small but very fine city. It is located directly on the sea and with the Point Pleasent Park offers the opportunity to relax on the beach, jog or just go for a walk. Most of all, however, I was enthusiastic about the many small pubs and bars that the nightlife produced. There were also some music and art festivals.
For supplies, there are many supermarkets in Halifax, the closest to the SMU being Sobeys and the Atlantic Superstore. With 14 you can also be at Walmart in 20 minutes. The Farmers’ Market, where you can buy delicacies from all over the world, is definitely worth a visit. Should you ever miss the German bread, you can even buy sourdough bread there.
The province of Nova Scotia belongs to the Maritimes and is often affectionately called “Canada’s Ocean Playground” because of its location. Accordingly, there are many really beautiful coastlines and attractions such as whale watching. Places such as Lunenburg, Five Islands or the world-famous Cabot Trail through Cape Breton are also worth a visit.
There are also many attractions outside of Nova Scotia, such as Cavendish in Prince Edward Island or the Hopewell Rocks in New Brunswick. Niagara Falls and cities such as Montreal, Toronto, New York and Boston can also be reached quickly by plane.
I have found the people of Nova Scotia to be very warm and helpful. For example, if you don’t know the way, they’ll explain it in a friendly manner and are interested in where you’re from. A short question quickly turns into a long conversation. For me, however, it was difficult to establish closer contact, in the sense of meetings outside of the university, with Canadians, as I found them not to be so open to this. Unfortunately, the SMU also encourages this development a little, as it organizes a separate orientation week for Canadians and international students. Nevertheless, in the end I had very good contact with two or three Canadians. And even if you can’t make it that way, you meet enough great people from other nations.
I decided on the student dormitory on campus very early on because I wanted the security of a permanent place to stay when I arrived. Short for Saint Mary’s University according to toppharmacyschools, the SMU residence offers three different buildings, Loyola, Vanier and Rice. Since I was already studying in my fifth semester, I was assigned one of the senior apartments at Loyola. These senior apartments each consist of two to four single rooms, one to two bathrooms and a kitchen / dining area (http://www. smu. ca/webfiles/SeniorSutiespicturesfloorplans. pdf). You can choose between private and shared suites. The private suites have their own bathroom, but only a kitchenette, with a microwave but no stove. In the shared suites, the students share the bathroom, but also a fully equipped kitchen. I chose the latter option because I wanted to cook myself.
The advantage of this accommodation, as already mentioned, is that you don’t have to search when you arrive. In addition, you are directly on campus, which is very pleasant, especially with early courses.
In retrospect, however, I cannot recommend the residence. At over $ 3,000, it is completely overpriced and really badly equipped. Isolation in particular is a disaster, which is going to get really awkward from October. The heating was unfortunately not switched on before the end of October. The “bed linen” that is provided doesn’t really deserve the name, as it is just a sheet. There are affordable blankets at Walmart, but they don’t keep you much warmer either.
What you should also know: the SMU Residence puts you in front of the door 24 hours after the last exam. That was communicated at least until the end of October and got international students quite in a mess when it came to flight planning. On the one hand, you didn’t know when to write exams, on the other hand, you couldn’t wait too long to book your flight if you wanted to fly home at an affordable price shortly before Christmas. Fortunately, I only had one exam and a super nice professor, Peter Twohig, who let me write the exam on an individually set date. At the end of October it was suddenly announced that you could extend your stay free of charge, the residence only needed a form. Unfortunately, I had already booked my return flight.
Based on what I experienced, I really cannot recommend the SMU Residence. There are much cheaper apartments in the city that are much nicer equipped. So you’d better fly there two weeks earlier and find something. In retrospect, the fear of not finding anything was unfounded as everyone found something.