At the end of 2006 I made the decision to take a semester abroad. After a thorough search for information and discussions with former MicroEDU fellow students, I finally decided on Halifax. The main reason for this was the fact that this is an English-speaking city, a beautiful country and a good and multicultural university. The high density of bars in Halifax also made my decision easy;-) In addition, MicroEDU actively supports every applicant in the application process, so that apart from filling out the application documents, there is relatively little to do. After you have received the “letter of acceptance” from the university, you will receive all relevant information about studying and living on site from the university. In addition, you will get a message later, how to register for the courses. This can be done over the Internet about 1.5 months before the start of the semester. However, it is important to ensure that you register for the courses as quickly as possible, as many courses (especially in the finance area) are overcrowded relatively quickly. In the first week there is an orientation program for foreign students. During this time you can make your first contacts and get to know Halifax and the surrounding area a little. However, the content and structure of the orientation week is partly geared towards younger students who begin their studies at SMU and who will stay in Halifax until they graduate. Read more student reviews on Toppharmacyschools.
Finding suitable accommodation is certainly one of the most important decisions that you should make in advance or, alternatively, on site. There are basically the following options:
- Life on campus: You have to apply to the university very early, if possible in December of the previous year. When applying, you ultimately have to decide whether or not to include a meal plan. Since there are primarily a relatively large number of young students living on campus (many students who come straight from high school), it can happen that you feel a little old in the dormitory.
- Living with a family
- Living in a student flat share. In the case of the latter, it is necessary to inquire in advance via the Internet and by telephone and, if necessary, to arrange first visits. The problem is that many rooms are only rented for more than four months. If you can’t find anything in advance, you shouldn’t be discouraged because you can still find some offers on site and sometimes even get real bargains.
I personally lived in the YMCA, which has the advantage that you usually always have something in mind and you also live very centrally. You can also use the gym, sauna, etc. The advantage and disadvantage at the same time is that a relatively large number of Germans live in the YMCA.
The flight should be booked well in advance. It should be noted that in the case of entry via the USA (even if you only wait a few hours at the airport) you may need a visa. In any case, inquire beforehand.
The university as such is fairly modern (computers, study rooms and even its own student-run pub However, you have to get used to university life in North America. Every week assignments, case studies and at least two exams per semester mean a lot of work. In addition, with the multicultural case study groups, you always have to have a little luck with your teammates so that all the work doesn’t get left to you alone. But with good time management and a certain looseness, everything can be done well, especially since the level is usually not as high as in Germany. In my opinion it is a mistake to get too involved in work,
City, weather and travel
Halifax is a relatively small city (approx. 250,000 inhabitants). The clear advantage is that all important facilities and places such as university, city center, pubs and clubs, grocery stores, etc. can be reached quickly and in some cases by foot. On the other hand, after a certain period of time you have seen most of the things more or less. Regardless of this, it should be noted that the people in Halifax are all very friendly and courteous and that you can have a lot of fun thanks to the many pubs and clubs. Tips for all football fans: In the Oasis Bar or in Father’s Mustache on Spring Garden Road, a Bundesliga game is broadcast live on GolTV.
On the subject of alokohol: Canadians have very strict laws on this. For example, drinking in public in Halifax costs around $ 425. Of course, you can’t go to a club without ID and if you want to buy a few cans or bottles privately, you have to go to a local Liqor store and pay just under $ 18 for 12 0.33 liter cans. Other important foods such as pizza and dairy products are also expensive.
The weather in Halifax is anything but what you would expect it to be in Canada. So in my time it was still quite warm into October, sometimes up to 25 degrees. So if you arrive in August / September, shorts and T-shirts are essential. The cold comes slowly from the end of October / beginning of November. The cold wind in particular provides a certain “freshness”. Large snowfall is also not to be expected in Halifax. However, from January and also in February and March it should be much more wintry.
Of course, traveling is also a must if you are going to a semester abroad in Halifax. Cape Breton is certainly the classic. But one or the other national park or “whale watching tour” are certainly recommended. Just rent a car, take a couple of colleagues with you and off you go.
New York, Boston, Toronto or Montreal can also be reached quickly and easily by plane.
The time in Halifax was definitely a very nice experience and a lot of fun overall. Halifax and the SMU are definitely to be recommended and I can only recommend all those who choose the SMU to enjoy the time and make the best of it. After all, you don’t do a semester abroad every day …