North America Universities

Saint Mary’s University Student Review

I spent my semester abroad at SMU in Halifax from the beginning of September to the beginning of December 2013.

Accommodation

I lived in a shared apartment during my stay. The flat share was only a 10-minute walk from the university. I found the room at kijiji.com. My room was unfurnished, but I got everything about kijiji for under $ 100. A little warning for mouse lovers. In Canada, it is relatively common to have mice in old homes. This is very strange and disgusting at first, but unfortunately in the dormitories in the YMCA and as I said in old houses you have to live with it.

I took five courses in the MBA program and was very busy with it. Only one girl from Norway did 5 courses. You have to do a lot for the university during the semester, but at the end of the semester you have less stress all at once. I was really busy with my 5 courses and was only able to travel on three weekends. I couldn’t afford to party every week either. But for that I was in 3 freshman MBA courses and was properly integrated into the class. I’ve often spent the weekends at university with my Canadians, and of course that kind of thing welds together.
It is advisable to bring chic clothing with you for presentations (at least a blazer and a blouse) so as not to fall out of line.

My courses:

Statistics (Michael Zhang)
You had to write a test every week and solve a case study in the group. But this course got me the most. You learn a lot from the case study.

Economics (Mark Raymond)
Super laid-back Canadian who is really fun to listen to Economics. The course only took place 4 times and it was rated fairly.

Managing Information Technology
Here you also had to write a test every week, give a presentation at the end of the semester and write some tests in Excel and MS Project and luckily there was no final exam.

Financial Institutions (Jie Dai)
Super funny professor who fortunately has no assignments or anything else. Only a midterm and a final exam. Which wasn’t exactly undemanding, but it was easy to accomplish. The only course in which there were other exchange students.

Financial Management (Mahmoud)
In this course, more than half of the students failed the midterm. Without any prior knowledge of finance, the course could be relatively difficult. The tasks are demanding and not really easy, but if you sit down and study properly, you can do it here too.

Books at the university are extremely expensive (I haven’t bought a book in the university’s bookshop). Wait about a week and ask your fellow students. I received two books in electronic form from a friend for free. I ordered one used from Amazon and had one brought from the USA.

Introductory week

An International Orientation Week took place. If you don’t necessarily want to speak German for the entire stay, orientate yourself towards other nationalities and, above all, speak English in small German groups.

City

Halifax is a very small city. Which has the advantage that everything is within walking distance (and you are therefore not dependent on the not very reliable bus). Shopping opportunities are extremely limited, but you can also go to one of the malls, which offer at least a little selection. But the selection of pubs is quite varied, the Cheers and the Dome (affectionately referred to as the “dirty place” by the locals) is open until 4am on the weekend, unlike all other bars and clubs, and was always quite funny.

Travel

It is always said that anyone who visits Canada should definitely visit a national park. For my part, I only really had 3 weekends. I flew to Boston once (with Porter Airlines, which have good deals if you book early). One weekend I was in Kejimkujik National Park. There you can rent a canoe for only $ 8 an hour and use very nice hiking trails. The park is also not as crowded as you would otherwise know from American parks. One weekend a Canadian friend showed me the “Valley”. Acadia University is really magical and is very reminiscent of Harry Potter as well as the associated town of Wolfsville.

Conclusion

Not only has Canada really helped me improve my English (which I didn’t on my first stay abroad), I also learned a lot from contacting the Canadians myself, and this will certainly not be my last visit to Halifax. Even if I didn’t think the city was particularly beautiful, its residents won my heart for it.

SMU Academic Writing Awards