Saint Mary’s University Student Review

Preparations

Since I only decided at very short notice (at the end of February) not to do a semester abroad at a partner university of my university, I was very happy that your website answered all my open questions very quickly and in a totally uncomplicated manner, and me with the whole Supported the application process. Even if everything went well in the end, it is still advisable to apply early. On the one hand, this saves you a lot of stress and on the other hand you also have the opportunity to apply for any scholarships. Since I am already in the master’s degree, the choice of universities that also offer a semester abroad for master’s students was lower for me from the outset than, for example, for bachelor’s students. I definitely wanted to go to an English-speaking country and so I decided pretty quickly to go to SMU in Halifax, Canada. Apart from the selection of the university abroad and the application process, the effort involved in preparing for such a semester abroad is quite manageable.

I’ve already booked my return flight from Germany and found a relatively cheap offer. In retrospect, however, I wouldn’t do it that way anymore. If you book return flights together, it is often difficult to rebook your return flight, especially if you want to fly back from another city. This means that if you know from the start that you would like to travel a little longer after the exams, for example, it may be better to book the return flight later, as flights from many major cities in the USA to Germany, for example, are very cheap to get. The problem with that is that you don’t get the exact date of the final exams until around mid-October and therefore you don’t know beforehand whether you will have time to travel at all.

Accommodation

First of all, some information in advance. I thought for a long time whether I should take the room in the Loyola Residence or whether I should look for something off-campus. In the end I decided on a single room in the Loyola Residence. The rooms in the dormitories are unfortunately quite small and the furnishings are also rather sparse and not exactly appealing. Another disadvantage, at least of one room in the Loyola Residence, is that you have to use a meal plan. The food in the Dockside (the cafeteria at the university) is not necessarily a culinary delight and the selection (apart from burgers and pizza) leaves a little to be desired, especially if you are also a vegetarian. Should you be offered a single room in the Rice Residence, I would definitely choose this room, because you have almost a complete small flat share there. It should also be mentioned that living in one of the residences is very expensive compared to living off-campus.
Despite all the listed disadvantages of living in the Loyola Residence, I would decide again in retrospect. You just have everything (lecture rooms, library, fitness studio, etc.) more or less right outside the door. And the daily shared meal in the dockside with the other internationals has also developed into a real meeting place. Those who chose to live off-campus were always left out when it came to that.

Courses

Since I am a master’s student, I have taken three courses at SMU, each with 3 credits from the MBA program. For me, the number of three courses was just right. You won’t get bored and you still have enough time to explore the city and the country. But I can reassure you, should you want to take 5 courses, for example because it is required by your home university, it is quite feasible. Here is a little more about the individual courses:

  • Financial Institutions (FINA 6671) Dr. Jie Dai:
    The topics from this course were very interesting and the professor was also quite funny. Unfortunately, the lectures were sometimes a little boring because the professor really, very slowly goes through the lecture material. In this course we wrote a midterm exam (2.5 hours) and a final exam (3 hours).
  • Financial Management (FINA 6663) Dr. Mahmoud Moh’d:
    This course was very interesting and the professor was really good too and you could tell that he really had a clue. The lecture and the tasks in the exams were always very practical. Although this course was quite demanding (not only by Canadian standards), it got me the most. Here we wrote two quizzes, a midterm exam (2 hours) and a final exam (3 hours).
  • Managing Information and Technology (CISY 5521) Dr. Kathrin Kimery:
    And then we have my last course here, which I unfortunately had to take in order to get credit in Germany. But if you can, I wouldn’t take this course anymore. The lectures are totally boring and the topics are not really interesting, you also have to invest a lot of time outside of the lecture (a team assignment every week, a team presentation, a team report, an individual report) and not to forget, of course, a final Write exam (2 h).

As you may have noticed, I made a good choice with both of my finance courses because outside of the lecture you really only had to study for the exams and otherwise there was actually no effort.

Leisure

Life in Canada and in Halifax is really very pleasant and also very relaxed. Halifax is really a beautiful city that has everything you could possibly need. And I can’t really complain about the nightlife either. There are really countless pubs and bars in Halifax with something for everyone. And if you like live music, Halifax and its pubs are the right place for you. But there are also four discos that you can go to. The one I liked best was the “Pacifico” disco, but just have a look at it all for yourself.
You should definitely take a few weekend trips and see what else there is to see in Nova Scotia and the surrounding area. These include, for example, numerous national parks that are always worth a trip. What surprised me a little, however, were the flight prices within Canada. So if you plan to go further afield, for example to Toronto or possibly to the west, you have to expect that it will not be cheap.

All in all, it was a really great, wonderful time that I experienced in Canada. I got to know a lot of nice people and saw the great sides of a country with a breathtaking landscape. And I haven’t regretted choosing Halifax.

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