After I finished my bachelor’s degree, I decided to go abroad for at least 2 semesters. Since it should definitely be in English, I am an avid ski driver and have always wanted to travel to Canada, I chose Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops as discussed on toppharmacyschools.
So much in advance: My year in Canada was the best time of my life, and I don’t think you will really regret a year abroad anywhere in the world. However, you should know exactly what you want: Anyone looking for big city flair is really not in the right place in Kamloops.
With almost 80,000 residents and around 9,000 students, things are a bit quieter, but big cities like Seattle or Vancouver are relatively close by Canadian standards (5 hours and 4 hours respectively) and are ideal for weekend trips and shopping trips. The 2-3 “nightclubs” are not a large selection and variety, but they do their job fully and have the great advantage that the internationals inevitably meet again every evening downtown. In general, the whole atmosphere is familiar and friendly, a welcome change from our mass universities in Germany.
A big advantage of the TRU is clearly the large number of internationals from different countries, about 73 nations are represented on the campus, with Germans forming a small minority. When I was there, about 30 Germans were enrolled in the fall term and only around 15 in the winter term, ideal for getting to know other nations – the real meaning of a semester abroad. I probably don’t need to write anything more about the friendliness of Canadians, unfortunately one is not used to so much openness and helpfulness. This begins with all employees of the Thompson Rivers University, the Canadian students and, last but not least, in everyday life (supermarket, etc. ).
Since I was attending a master’s degree, my courses with 20 people from 9 countries were always manageable and interesting. In my opinion, study contents are difficult to compare. In terms of pure learning, it is certainly more difficult in Germany, but here you mainly learn things that you cannot learn from any books. Group work with fellow students from all over the world cannot be taught in this way in any German lecture hall.
Accommodation: Much has already been written on the subject of accommodation, so I’ll be brief. I lived in the UCH myself, in my opinion the really best alternative (location, price, fun). However, since it is very difficult to get a place in the UCH at all for 1-semester students, you can’t really say anything about the other two accommodations (New Rez, McGill): if you want to save, take McGill, if you want a little more wants to spend takes the New Rez – here you simply pay more for more quality of living. Private search is also possible, but the dormitories simply have the advantage of being right in the middle. I can’t say much about Home-Stay, certainly good for English, but mostly also far from the mainstream. And if you don’t want to, you don’t speak much German in the dormitories either.
Now for the fun factor: There is probably no better region in the world for skiers than British Columbia. Sun Peaks is only 30 minutes away from Kamloops, Whistler around 4 hours and Revelstoke (you have to test it!!) around 2 hours. There is snow from the end of November, but it gets really good especially from February. Tip: Be sure to get the Sun Peaks Season Pass for 2 semesters. There is a bus to Sun Peaks, but of course it is more convenient to drive. We didn’t have our own car, but our Canadian friends were always helpful here too, so you could find a lift pretty much every weekend.
The summer is hot, but without being humid. All outdoor activities are possible, and a lot is offered here by the Thompson Rivers University. Usually, however, small groups can be found quickly, so that all of this is possible without any problems. Rain is an absolute rarity in Kamloops. Sports offers from Thompson Rivers University are rather mediocre, popular sports or university sports as we know it from Germany do not play a major role (with almost 5 months of skiing, this is also a minor matter). However, there are enough offers to do sports 2-3 times a week. In addition, you have free entry to the new swimming pool with sauna on campus, the fitness studio costs 25 dollars per month.
Whereby we would also be talking about the costs: Certainly these are not exactly low, but a year abroad always costs a lot. What could be saved in living expenses in America, for example, is offset by higher tuition fees. Overall, I think this experience is priceless anyway. If somehow the possibility exists, I would always recommend 2 semesters. A semester is simply too short for many things and you always need some time to get used to.
In conclusion, I can only say that I really enjoyed my time in Canada and can really recommend it to everyone. I also wish you a great and unforgettable time!