I’ve always wanted to go to Canada, especially Vancouver. Then I heard from the MicroEDU organization that helps you apply for free. The application process was fine, everything was definitely feasible. So you shouldn’t be afraid to go abroad as a free mover just because it could be more effort. It was well supported by MicroEDU with the application and the contact person usually has responded within a day on e-mails.
The process is that you compile all the documents (e.g. proof of language proficiency, application form) and send them to MicroEDU. There it will be checked and forwarded to the appropriate university. The Capilano University was not as fast, which is probably because there are not enough employees. So unfortunately I had to wait until mid-June for my acceptance. That was a bit stupid because of course you want to book the flight, find accommodation and so on.
I then decided on the dormitory because it was easiest from Germany and I didn’t want to look for accommodation on site. I flew to Vancouver a few days before they could move into the dorm and stayed at the HI Hostel on Granville Street for the time being. It was very worth it, because it gave you a good impression of the city.
On the way there I flew directly from Frankfurt with Condor and on the way back with Wow air via Iceland. If you book outward and return flights together, it is definitely advisable to book the return flight so that you can still rebook it, as the time may always change. Tickets with a flexible return flight can be booked at STA-Travel, for example, where you can also get student discounts.
A visa is not necessary if you are staying in Canada for less than six months, the electronic entry authorization ETA is sufficient. You can apply for this online within a few minutes and the confirmation is usually there after a few hours.
In addition, on the outbound flight you should make sure that you don’t have a stop-over in the USA, because then you also have to apply for an ESTA for the USA, which can lead to problems if you want to travel there again after the semester abroad.
You should definitely have a credit card with you, as you can pay with it almost anytime and anywhere, even on the bus. The DKB offers a free credit card that I got along well with.
I really liked the university, especially the welcome days at the beginning really made you feel welcome! The contact person on site, Ada Lee, was nice and always tried to help you. There was an hour every day when you could come to her with questions. You should definitely use this hour as it can take a long time for her to reply to emails.
The campus of the University is absolutely beautiful in the forest and it is also quite at home. There are several common rooms in the university where you can sit and study. Overall, I would give the university a 2.
I took four courses: Introduction to Communication Studies (CMNS112) with Edward Hamilton, Cross-Cultural Business (IBUS255) with Enrique Gonzalez, Management of Information Systems (BCPT305) with Susan Romeo-Gilbert and Consumer Behavior (BMKT364) with Robert Thomson.
In Introduction to Communication Studies only different theories were actually discussed and you just listened, the lecturer was very nice and gave many examples. Management of Information Systems was given by a very disorganized lecturer, but the topics are particularly interesting for IIM students. Cross-Cultural Business was a course with many international students, in which the contents are roughly treated from the perspective of the IKK lecture. The lecturer is nice and funny but sometimes a bit confused. Consumer Behavior was led by a very nice lecturer who had a lot of practical experience.
In all courses except Introduction to Communication Studies, there was a group work at the end. There was also a midterm in every course and a final exam in all courses except Management of Information Systems.
Overall, it can be said that the effort for the courses during the semester was higher than in Germany, but also included many partial grades in the final grade, which I find very pleasant. This also made it relatively easy to get very good grades. In terms of level, it was rather easier than in Germany, which may also be due to the fact that I already knew a lot of the content in all of the courses.
When choosing a course, one should be aware that most exchange students are in the business program. If you choose other courses, the chances of meeting locals are higher.
The textbooks that you need for almost all courses are often very expensive (over 100 CAD). But you need them for the lessons, since you usually have to read one chapter per week and especially for studying for the exams, since the contents of the book are assumed, but these are sometimes not fully discussed in the course. I bought the books together with bed linen beforehand, which was delivered directly to my room in the dormitory as part of the “Books on beds” program.
But it makes more sense to buy used books at the beginning of the semester in the bookstore at the university or from the CSU (Capilano Student Union). But you should be quick as there are only a limited number. In the end, you can sell the books through the bookstore at the university or through the CSU. The bed linen can also be bought cheaper in the Real Canadian Superstore, which is located between the university and the dormitory.
According to Toppharmacyschools, fhe fees for the university were about 7000 CAD, so about 4600 € for four courses. Each course had three Canadian credits, which is roughly equivalent to six German credits. I received a PROMOS scholarship from the university. The chances of getting support are pretty good when you submit a successful application. The fees include a ticket for local transport that you can use as often as you like. The dormitory cost 4000 CAD, i.e. approx. 2600 € for the whole semester (4 months). This includes food from the dining hall, as much as you want and 500 CAD dining dollars that you can spend on campus. The food on campus tasted better, but it was also okay in the dormitory, but not very varied in the long run.
On the whole, I find that the price level is similar to that in Germany. Rent and care products are more expensive, but eating out is sometimes a little cheaper. The high costs should definitely not deter you from doing a semester abroad! If you get BAföG, you are certainly entitled to BAföG abroad, which almost completely covers the tuition fees.
The dormitory is a bit off the beaten track, surrounded by the forest, which is why you have roommates like bears, pumas and deer ! A supermarket, Starbucks, Subway and other shops can be reached in a few minutes on foot. In the dormitory, the rooms were usually occupied by two people, which I imagined strange at first. In the end, it wasn’t bad at all, because you have a different schedule anyway and everyone is alone in the room from time to time and you have grown much closer to your room mate by living together. There is also a common room in each hallway with sofas, a TV, sink and microwave. The wifi in the dorm was very good.
There were pure girls or boys hallways, but also mixed ones, in which the washrooms were mixed accordingly. The way to the university took about 30 minutes on foot, about 20-25 minutes by bus, as you have to change trains once. Overall, I can still recommend living in the dormitory, as you get to know a lot of people there very quickly and everyone is very open. You eat together and grow together quickly. Even if the cleanliness in the washrooms is sometimes not that great, there are many contact persons who are always open to feedback and help you quickly with problems.
In Vancouver there are a lot of possibilities for excursions, especially in nature! You should definitely do the hike at Joffre Lakes and Deep Cove is really picturesque, easy to reach by bus and also offers a hike with a great view at the end. The famous ski resort of Whistler is also nearby. The drive there on the sea-to-sky highway is worth it! The sea-to-sky gondola is also recommended.
Vancouver Island is also so beautiful and so big that it is easy to forget that you are on an island. The small surfing town of Tofino and Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, are especially great! In Tofino there are many very long and wide beaches and rainforests with small hiking trails. Especially in summer, campfires are made there on the beach and there is a lot going on in the village. In Victoria I can especially recommend the Royal Museum of BC, as I was particularly impressed by the permanent exhibition “Becoming BC” with replicas of a city!
I also really liked Fisherman’s Wharf with its many colorful and beautifully decorated fishermen’s houses. It is also recommended to take a tour with the sightseeing bus in Victoria, as you can get to the other side of the city, which would be a bit far on foot, but is also super nice.
In Vancouver itself you can walk in and around Stanley Park and almost always spot seals in the water. In general, Vancouver has many beaches, especially the one in Kitsilano that I liked. Of course you can also go shopping. Granville Island is a great marketplace with a very good location. There are also many delicious restaurants in case you miss pasta, because they are not often found in the dormitory. The many breweries and tap rooms are also recommended. You should expect about an hour to downtown by bus from the dormitory. I can also recommend renting a bike for the first few days and riding it around Stanley Park and through the city, so you get a quick overview.
Also, it’s not far from Seattle to the USA, which I really liked. The university there (University of Washington) is particularly beautiful with a building that looks like Harry Potter. Another special experience is the Wings over Washington flight simulator, which is also available in a similar way in Vancouver at Canada Place (Fly over Canada).
All in all, I can only say that I recommend everyone to do a semester abroad. Vancouver is really a dream city because it offers mountains, sea, beaches, forest and big city all at once. I made a lot of friends and it really was one of the best times of my life. It is definitely worth taking on the organizational work in advance and traveling the long way to Canada, in the end you don’t want to leave. I’m gladly available for more questions!