Halifax is a very nice student city, not too big and equipped with many good locations. If you are looking for accommodation near the university, the city center is very easy to reach on foot or, in winter, by bus (about 10 minutes).
The Canadians are extremely helpful and courteous people, even if their English is not that perfect at the beginning.
I stayed at the YMCA on South Park Street. The advantage here is the fast internet access, for which you don’t have to pay extra, and the possibility to get to know students from other countries very quickly.
The disadvantage is that the rooms are rather small, you don’t have your own bathroom (located in the hallway) and the kitchen takes a bit of getting used to (not so clean).
I took three courses and with this number I was comfortably busy and there was still enough time for leisure activities. I was also very satisfied with the university. However, I would not recommend taking a course from Prof. Raymond (VWL), he always comes a quarter of an hour to half an hour late or simply does not appear at all. Sure, you can easily get a good grade, but the learning effect is zero, which is rather annoying given the rather high tuition fees.
The bars and clubs are very easy to reach on foot, so they are relatively close to one another. It is really very good to celebrate there. All in all, I felt extremely comfortable during this semester abroad, it was a fantastic time that I wouldn’t want to miss.
I arrived in Halifax, Canada on January 2nd, 2009. On the first weekend we had the so-called “Welcome Week”. In the winter semester, however, this is effectively 1 day. Nevertheless, I recommend every student to take part in this event. You get to know other internationals from all over the world, and so the first step towards “fun” is already taken.
Then the first lectures started. The groups were very small and the requirements of the professors varied widely. However, it is very popular to require group work and weekly assignments. At first I found this quite annoying, but the exams were all the easier. I felt like I was in school. In any case, you should be prepared for the fact that the professors know the names of the students and that you have a lot of work to do during the semester. Most professors write about 3 exams per semester and the group work and homework are also used for assessment. In my opinion, however, the exams were quite easy.
The university is very international. You can get to know people from all over the world (unfortunately too many from Germany :-)). If you don’t want to see Germans in your semester abroad, you shouldn’t opt for Halifax or, if so, study there in winter at most. We were about 12 Germans. For the summer there is the following slogan from a Canadian friend: “It is raining Germans.”…. Basically, the Germans have a good reputation with the Canadians. You don’t have to deal with prejudice.
The university organizes regular events and excursions for international students (e.g. ski trips to the only ski hill in Nova Scotia, museum visits, pub crawls, joint dinners,…)
A big difference to my German university or to Germany: the friendly cooperation and willingness to help. No matter what you had to do in the university, you were helped everywhere (even if it is stated differently in the regulations). For example, I had problems with my off-campus living and was urgently looking for accommodation. It usually takes about 3 weeks to get a dorm room. I described my situation, and less than 24 hours later I had new accommodation: 10th floor in the Loyola with a view of the Atlantic. Despite the fact that it was a dormitory, it was always very quiet. That time was also the best for me in Canada. 1.) You really get to know most of the people in the dormitory. 2.) To have Tim Hortons (see Starbucks) in the “living room” is simply awesome. 3. ) You can fall out of bed 10 minutes before lectures start and you are still on time. 4.) You don’t have to go out in the cold to get to university. Find more review on Saint Mary’s University on existingcountries.
However, I do not recommend attending any Thursday lectures before 9.30 am, because on Wednesdays “Halli-Galli” was always popular in the university’s own “Gorsebrook” student club – beer “pitched”.
However, the food in the cafeteria was always very expensive (approx. € 5-7) and often not particularly enjoyable. After 2 weeks my stomach got used to it too. In any case, don’t expect “well-seasoned gourmet food”. Fortunately, there is still Tim Hortons, where you could stuff yourself with bagels, muffins and donuts.
Shopping in the supermarket: the beef lover’s paradise !! We fried steaks very often and were thus able to escape the cafeteria meal (attention: pans & Co. are not available; would have to be obtained). Chicken and dairy products, on the other hand, are outrageously expensive. Fresh vegetables are also quite expensive. If you miss your German bread, you can get a replacement from the German baker.
It should be noted that the prices are always without VAT. So either take a calculator with you and get annoyed about it or just don’t think about it.
When it comes to alcoholic beverages, you should definitely leave your calculator at home. You should expect at least 16 Canadian dollars for 8 cans (0.33l) of beer. The prices for alcohol in the pubs are roughly the same as in a major German city. Often, however, you have to pay entrance fees as well. We recommend the “Alehouse”, which had chicken wings and a pitcher of beer for around 12 dollars. Then the tables were simply cleared away and life bands heated up the atmosphere.
The weather was always very rough, windy and cold. Sometimes it was minus 30 degrees. You should be aware of what you are getting into beforehand.
- Pleasant atmosphere / mood among the students and professors
- Small groups in the lectures
- Tim Hortons 🙂
- Cute city on the Atlantic
- Great Canadians
- Good pubs
- Rough weather in the weather
- Lots of assignments in the university
- Expensive and not so good cafeteria food