In the 2019/20 winter semester, I completed a semester abroad at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Vancouver Canada. As a student of the International Management course, I wanted to apply the theoretical basics that I learned about intercultural cooperation during my studies and gain new skills, such as a heightened cultural awareness.
The application process was feasible without great difficulty thanks to the great help from MicroEDU. For most of the documents to be filled out, MicroEDU had usually prepared a separate document with corresponding instructions for completing them. Choosing a course was difficult for me, as this could be found directly on the English-language homepage. The courses were mostly linked to a code that gave information about the course. For example, the first digit stands for the semester for which the course is intended. There were also many courses that could not be attended without having attended the basic subjects beforehand (there were no exceptions for foreign students either). Before I left, however, there were still some preparations to be clarified, which cost me a lot of time. Two points were particularly important in the preparation, the financing of the semester abroad and that I can credit the modules I have attended abroad at my university. For funding, I chose that PROMOS scholarship.
When applying for BAföG abroad, MicroEDU was able to help me here as well. In order to receive BAföG funding, in addition to the confirmation that you had been accepted, you also had to ask the university abroad in writing to reduce the tuition fees or to omit them completely. Collect Contact had a ready-made document that I simply filled out and sent it back to MicroEDU , who then forwarded it to the university. In order to have my grades from abroad credited, I first had to visit all professors whose modules I wanted to have credited in order to get a preliminary confirmation from them. Eventually this agreement was confirmed by the examination board and I could look forward to my departure to Canada.
During my semester abroad, I had the opportunity to get to know Canadian culture. Right at the beginning of my stay, I noticed that Canadians are a very special nation with very interesting values and traditions. A very open way of dealing with other people paired with the very polite and accommodating behavior of the Canadians have made me feel welcome in Canada since day one. For example, in Canada, and especially in Vancouver, it is customary to queue up while waiting for the bus so as not to preclude anyone. It is also standard practice to give a short message to the bus driver while getting off the bus”Thank you, Driver” for the ride. The cultural diversity in Vancouver was very surprising to me; there wasn’t one dominant culture, rather it was many small subcultures and their interactions with one another that shaped my image of Canadian culture. From the Indian Holi festival (festival of colors) to the classic American Halloween to the Chinese New Year, all cultures were celebrated and valued for their particularity. Separated from everything, Vancouver Island played by its own rules. In addition to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, the beautiful nature with its rainforests and the ocean coast a great opportunity to let mind and body rest for a moment and to be one with the nature that surrounds you.
The Kwantlen Polytechnic University
I was also able to enjoy a very accommodating manner at the university abroad. All of the staff I met directly in class, as well as other university staff, were very nice and always helpful. This positive basis made me feel very comfortable and even initial worries, such as communicating in English, were no longer an obstacle for me. In Canada, I took three courses, all of which were foundational subjects. The instructors of the courses all seemed very competent and all had many years of work experience. During the group work, I quickly realized what I had previously said about work ethics in Canada had perceived. One day I watched a bank employee stand on the cupboard and dance in front of his colleagues while they cheered him. The work is approached much more relaxed in Canada, work is completed shortly before deadlines and only very inadequately. The way in which the courses were organized reminded me more of a school system in which there were many small tests and quizzes during the semester and instead the final exam was dispensed with, which all students in Germany enjoy at the end of the semester.
Unfortunately, the KPU does not offer student dormitories, which means that you have to make the effort privately to find a place to stay. However, the housing supply in Vancouver is huge, the only obstacle could be the rents, which are comparatively very expensive. In order to have enough time during the semester to explore the beautiful nature and the city, in my opinion three modules are completely sufficient, since in addition to the tests, some homework must be handed in during the semester. According to liuxers, the KPU has five locations, two of which I have visited. I took my classes in Richmond, so I only have twenty minutes to be away from campus. The Richmond Campus with its new construction for the design department is a feast for the eyes and offers some quiet spots to relax from the stress of the university. On the other hand, the Surrey Campus, which is equipped with the gym and sports hall, offers a great opportunity to counter the stress with physical activity. In addition to the open hours, in which students can practice any kind of sport in the hall, there are also organized tournaments that you can register for.
The time in Canada was a very interesting experience. In addition to the opportunity to improve my English, I was able to get to know a very interesting new culture that will certainly help me further in the course of my studies. Even if it looks like it was on the other side of the world on the map, I still felt at home.