With the help of this experience report I would like to give you a brief impression of my semester abroad from January to June 2016 at the TRU in Kamloops according to liuxers.
MicroEDU helped me a lot with the organization. Most of the time I have personally sacrificed finding the right courses. The rest of it was all relatively uncomplicated and quick by email.
First and foremost, the most important point: If you have chosen Canada as the location for your international experience – well done, definitely the right choice. I think I was able to see and experience the majority of the very “relevant” places in British Columbia, the westernmost province in the country, and I have to say that I have never seen such natural diversity and beauty. The “green lung” of Canada offers a number of breathtaking and varied landscapes, from gigantic lakes next to impressive mountains to endless forests. And often all of this in one place. There are also islands and deserts to marvel at – the vastness of the country is indescribable. The cherry on top is then added by the personality of (most) Canadians. Such a friendly, open and open hearted togetherness is not known from Germany in this form. In addition, everything is more relaxed and uncomplicated. So: In any case, off to Canada with your application!
Time of arrival in Canada
I got on the plane to Canada in mid-August, a few weeks before the semester and orientation week at the TRU in Kamloops would start. I can only warmly recommend leaving a few days or weeks before the start of the semester and using the time to travel. Especially if you don’t yet know the country and its people very well or not at all, it is very pleasant to first get used to it, relax, with plenty of time and stress, and get to know Canada’s landscapes and culture. Of course, this also makes sense if (as was the case with me) one had already visited the country or the relevant part of Canada; after all, you’re there to see as much as possible and meet a lot of people. That’s why I can only advise everyone to travel for a while not only after (and of course during), but also before the semester.
There are three alternatives in Kamloops: the NewRes, Upper College Heights (UCH), McGill Housing and accommodation with a host family (Homestay). The first three all offer a short connection to the campus (on campus). NewRes is expensive, but offers the highest level of comfort and most of the rooms have a very good view. McGill is the cheapest, but the 11m² rooms are extremely small. I personally chose UCH, where I lived in a shared flat with a South Korean, a Nigerian and an Indian. The dormitory is relatively old and does not offer any luxury, but the rooms were relatively large. With a homestay you can also have very good experiences, many students I knew lived in the Upper Sahali district. Many had a balcony there with a great view of Kamloops.
My costs (flight, tuition fees for three courses, foreign travel health insurance) were BAföG 100% covered. However, it is important to apply about 6 months in advance to ensure that the money is there.
Thompson Rivers University
With 14,000 students from over 80 different countries, you can feel the internationality of TRU. Since I was there in the winter semester, there were only a few students from Germany. On the first three days of introduction, I only met one German. Otherwise it was mixed with students from every continent. This colorful picture was also reflected in my lectures. In addition, dealing with the professors was very relaxed, everyone could say goodbye to the professor and get involved if necessary. The relaxed atmosphere was also confirmed by a group size of no more than 30 students. Most of the courses are structured in such a way that 50% of the final grade makes up the final exam. The rest is usually done through homework etc. If you are diligent, getting good grades shouldn’t be a problem.
The campus is very large and you can withdraw to study in the spacious rooms. The support from TRU is really very good! Every exchange student is assigned a supervisor who looks after them very well.
Kamloops & surroundings
With 2,000 hours of sunshine, Kamloops is the place in British Columbia that receives the most sun. It is warm and dry (semi-desert area), but you are not far from the mountains, where bikers / hikers in summer and skiers in winter get their money’s worth.
A big city junkie may not have fun in this city of 85,000. However, I liked it, downtown is relaxed and has everything you need (2-3 bars / clubs etc. ). My favorite place here was the Red Collar Brewery.
Since skiing and hiking are my hobbies, I made a conscious decision to go to western Canada. Kamloops is located between Vancouver and the Rocky Mountains. It’s mountainous everywhere, so that outdoor enthusiasts get their money’s worth. Kamloops is a paradise for mountain bikers. In winter it is 45 minutes by car to Sun Peaks, Canada’s second largest ski area. If you don’t have a car, a shuttle bus will take you there and back on the weekend. There is also a hostel right by the lift! Sun Peaks is more relaxed than Whistler’s largest ski area (near Vancouver). The mountain Revelstoke (2 ½ hours from Kamloops) has outstanding descents to offer, here adrenaline junkies get their money’s worth (helicopter skiing possible).
After the semester, I hitchhiked to Alaska and back with two friends. We covered a total of 6,900 kilometers. There I was able to explore the beauty of this environment, especially British Columbia has a multifaceted nature to offer with semi-deserts, the rainforests on the coast, Vancouver Island, the Rocky Mountains, the lakes in the Kootenays. In the province of Yukon with 35,000 inhabitants, which is almost 1. 4 times larger than Germany in terms of area, you get a very good impression of the vastness and loneliness of this country. The (hospitality) friendliness of the Canadians and Alaskans was also confirmed on this road trip.