Application and preparation
The application itself was very easy and the MicroEDU team also helped me a lot. Since you didn’t need a proof of English, it was definitely easier and cheaper than applying to another university. I had a few questions that could all be resolved quickly. In my case, it only took an unusually long time for Brock University to accept.
The most important preparations for me included applying for BAföG abroad, booking flights and looking for a room. The application for BAföG abroad should be submitted as early as possible in order to receive benefits at the beginning of the semester. I booked the flights easily through Sta travel. With them you get a small discount through MicroEDU. Finding a room turned out to be quite difficult, as most landlords do not want to rent a room for such a short period of time. It is advisable to search on site (it is best to arrive 2 weeks earlier). I finally found a great room near the university. When looking for a room, in my opinion, the areas between the university and the city center are to be preferred, as these have the best connections. According to AbbreviationFinder, BU is the abbreviation of Brock University.
It is also important to have a credit card, as you can pay for practically anything with it. You should look for a provider with free cash withdrawals and low international interest rates.
When I arrived at the end of August it was very warm and sunny in St. Catharines. The first thing I did at Wal-mart was to stock up on everything I needed, such as bedding, and then to move into my room. I drove to the university pretty soon to get my student ID and get a first impression. The campus is quite large and a bit confusing at the beginning. At the introductory event, however, I received a campus map which helped me to find my way for the first few days. I can only recommend everyone to go to the long introductory event, because some things are interesting or important what is being said there.
The buildings are all quite new and nicely furnished. There are several snack bars and a kind of cafeteria, all of which are much more expensive than eating at German universities. There are also some smaller seating areas spread across the campus. My favorite place during the longer breaks was the lawn between Mackenzie Chow and the dormitories with picnic tables under smaller trees.
All of my lectures were quite pleasant except for the fact that the professors (at least in my economics courses) write everything down by hand and you have to copy everything yourself. The professors are very relaxed with the students. I was able to call my professors’ offices outside of office hours if I had questions or problems and emails were answered quickly.
The courses I took were “History of Economic Thought”, “Labor Economics” and “Game theory”. In each of these courses I had to write tests and an exam at the end of the semester. In terms of content, the most difficult thing by far was “Game theory”, which is not only an economics course but also a math course. The most time-consuming, however, was the “History of Economic Thought”, as it required an extensive term paper to be written. This makes it very easy to practice writing in English.
The events can hardly be compared to what you are used to at German universities. Thanks to homework and homework as well as smaller groups of students, they are more reminiscent of school attendance. I had to either hand in something or write a test about every 2 weeks. On the other hand, the level of the events is below that of my home university and I had Fridays off.
Life in St Catharines
Life in the small town is clearly a matter of taste. I loved it there because you have everything you need. There are two shopping centers, a small city center with discos, a cinema and direct access to Lake Ontario. A number of excursions were also organized through the university’s international office. There is also a wide range of sports at the university, which even has a swimming pool. I never got bored because the city is full of students so there is always something to do.
St.Catharines is very conveniently located when it comes to exploring Ontario, the north of the USA or even Quebec. You can be in Toronto in 1.5 hours, Montreal in 7 hours and New York City in around 11 hours. During reading week you can see something of the area so well. I myself went to Montreal and can only recommend it to everyone. There you can explore a great city and at the same time experience the “Indian Summer”, the color change of the foliage. For this you should go to the Mont-Royal from where you have a great view over the city. Nothing stands in the way of a trip to New York City, as there is even a direct bus connection there. The cheapest way to travel is by long-distance bus.
I would do another semester at Brock at any time. The university, the friendly and very helpful nature of the Canadians and the breathtaking landscape are only part of the reasons why I felt so comfortable there. You are super involved there and quickly feel part of this university or even this city. The international office helps a lot to find your way around. All in all, it’s just a great and unique experience to study there!