Information on the application process and preparation
In October 2015 I applied for a place as a “visiting student”. After just 2 weeks I had received my confirmation. The advice and support from your website was always very detailed, friendly and, above all, you received a very quick response to every email. I have applied for foreign BaföG to finance it , here too your website helps with filling out the formalities and with contacting the SMU.
You have to register for the desired courses via the university’s online portal before the semester starts (around May / June). In order to be considered a full-time student and thus also eligible for BaföG, you must attend at least three courses . For stays of less than 6 months, you do not need a visa for Canada , only an electronic entry permit, the so-called eTA.
Before starting the semester at SMU, it is advisable to take a trip through eastern Canada to visit beautiful places such as Toronto, Niagara Falls, Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec, the numerous national parks, etc. In August it is very warm and sunny in Canada , so of course an extensive trip to discover the beauty of Canada is a good idea. If you want to fly directly to Halifax, you can also take a direct flight from Frankfurt or Munich. There is the option of using a “pick-up” service from the SMU , where volunteer students pick up international students from the airport.
Since I didn’t want to live in one of the dormitories on campus, I tried to find a small furnished apartment in advance . The majority of the other German students also lived off-campus, sooner or later everyone found an apartment with which he / she was satisfied. With five universities, Halifax is a real student city . However, the rental prices are not cheap. However, those who would like to be integrated directly into student life can also apply for a place in the SMU dormitory.
Compared to my home university, Saint Mary’s University is a relatively manageable university, which makes it easier to find your way around. There is a large football field in the middle of the campus. The SMU of course also has its own football team (SMU Huskies), whose games you can visit for free. There is also a fitness studio on campus, which also offers various free sports courses. Otherwise there is also a lot to do on campus: Tim Horton’s (the most popular café / fast-food restaurant among Canadians), hairdresser, dining hall, library, small kiosk, a student lounge and a pub (Gorsebrook Lounge). A large number of international students study at the SMUso that you come into contact with people from all sorts of countries. It is recommended to take part in the O phase for internationals. Above all, the free day trip to Peggy’s Cove to the famous lighthouse of the Atlantic Ocean should not be missed.
If you have any problems or questions you can always go to the International Center, where you will be welcomed in a very friendly and helpful manner.
Attended courses at the host university
Since I am studying information-oriented business administration in my master’s degree , I have taken MBA courses at SMU . With 12-15 students per course, the lessons are very personal and you have the opportunity to learn a lot. The university system in Canada is more detailed than we are used to in Germany. The final grade consists of several partial grades: Each week there are several assignments, in each of my courses I had a group project with a presentation, midterm exams and final exams. In addition, the contribution to the discussion counts towards the final grade in many subjects. So with three courses I was already quite busy. Since you had to continuously prepare for the lectures, you took a lot with you from the courses and the effort for the final exams was no longer so great. The courses I took were Brand Management, Strategic Human Resource Management, and International Business Management . All three courses were very interesting and I really enjoyed attending every lecture. The contact with the professors is, compared to Germany, much more personal and relaxed due to the small group size.
Cost of living
Food, especially cheese and meat, is significantly more expensive than in Germany. Therefore, for a larger purchase, it is recommended to go to Walmart , which is a bit outside. There you can actually find everything you need (including bed linen, kitchen utensils, etc.) and at a cheaper price than in the supermarkets in the city center.
In addition, you have to plan an additional € 100-200 for books per course. However, it is possible to sell the books via the SMU book store there after the semester.
Since Nova Scotia has a lot to offer and is also very spacious, you should also plan a certain budget for excursions and weekend trips for which a rental car is absolutely necessary.
A credit card is of course a must for Canada.
Halifax is quite manageable in terms of size, but the city has a lot to offer. For example, it is very nice to stroll along the waterfront , especially in the summer months. A visit to the Citadel, an old fortification, and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic are also recommended. Right on the waterfront is the Farmer’s Market , where you can buy fresh, local produce. Halifax also has two shopping centers and an outlet. In the city center there is a cinema as well as numerous pubs and restaurants. In addition, there is always something to do in Halifax: an Oktoberfest, street food market, Christmas parade, Nocturne Night, etc., so you never get bored .
Of course you shouldn’t miss a game of the Halifax Mooseheads ice hockey team. The tickets are relatively cheap for students and a Canadian ice hockey game should definitely be seen when visiting Canada.
There are also some beautiful places outside of Halifax. A visit to the Cape Breton Highlands with its breathtaking scenery is a must. You should also take the opportunity to do a whale watching tour (e.g. on Brier Island). Other day trips to the UNESCO World Heritage Site Lunenburg, Mahone Bay and Peggy’s Cove are available.
The weather from September to December was very pleasant. In September there are often days with 25 ° C and October is also very sunny. The most beautiful time in Canada is the Indian Summer in autumn, when the leaves on the trees shine in the most beautiful colors. I didn’t notice any real Canadian cold before I left, just a few minus degrees from mid-December.
I can definitely recommend a semester abroad at the SMU in Halifax. I had a wonderful 4 months , had the opportunity to see a lot of Canada, improve my English and took a lot with me from the MBA courses for my further studies. Halifax and the SMU are ideal for a semester abroad. I would never want to miss the experience I gained there!