It’s been about two months since I got on the plane to Germany and left Vancouver. And already now I would fly straight back.
I not only grew fond of the country, but also the way of life and the people I got to know at CapU.
The application process
After it was clear to me that I would do a semester abroad, it was clear to me from the start that I would go to Canada.
Since there was no suitable partner university for me at my university, I decided to go to Canada as a free mover.
I had prepared myself for a lot of bureaucracy and difficult formalities, but the application process went without any problems and with the help of MicroEDU it was super easy and understandable. From Katharina I got the application documents and also all the answers to my questions and concerns.
The communication from Capilano University was also relatively quick and understandable, so that I had my approval relatively early and could start further planning.
I had expected a lot more stress with regard to the application, but already in this phase I noticed that MicroEDU helps a lot with its professional and well-coordinated way of working.
Studying at the CapU
Since I am studying business administration in Germany, I was able to choose courses from the fields of business and international business.
I had decided on 4 courses from the field of marketing: Advertising, Digital Marketing, Event Marketing and International Marketing.
I was positively surprised that at CapU you can specialize a lot when choosing a course, so that you could only choose what really interests you.
I can only recommend these courses. Classes are held in groups of up to 30 people, including both Canadians and international students.
The lecturers structured the lessons clearly and made them super interesting. Practical examples were always used and there were several guest speakers from well-known companies in almost every course.
Even if the workload at CapU is significantly higher than at my home university, you still managed to keep up and even do better than some Canadians.
Depending on the course, you have, for example, weekly quizzes, homework or presentations. In addition to the final exam, you also have a midterm exam.
Despite the study effort and the fact that the lecturers don’t really distinguish between Canadians and foreign students, all international students did very well and showed that they are at least as good.
The campus is in the middle of nature – surrounded by many different trees. There is a cafeteria, a small library, a sports hall with a fitness room and a leisure room where a movie is shown free of charge every week.
Incidentally, the CapU also organizes other events that were mainly used by the international students (pumpking carving, Christmas dinner, etc.).
Accommodation and funding
Since there was unfortunately no student apartment on campus or in the immediate vicinity, you either had to look for a private room or apartment (e.g. via Craigslist) or, like me, stay in one of the GEC student hotels (which cooperate with the CapU). I had decided to do this because personally I was too unsure to rent a private room without having seen it first. But it was still important to me to have permanent accommodation before my arrival.
I paid around CAD 675 per month for a shared room (ie 2 people per room). Since I actually wanted to move into the apartment in Burnaby, which was not yet ready by the actual move-in date, I first found accommodation in downtown at GEC Granville, which is more like a hotel than an apartment.
However, this gave me the opportunity to live in downtown and get to know life there, but two months later also to live in a quiet part of Vancouver.
The GEC Burnaby Heights I can definitely recommend, as it is from here quickly in the university and the apartments are new and modern furnishings.
So there are several options for accommodation. Many of the German students also lived directly in North Vancouver and shared an apartment.
Since I traveled through the USA for another month after the semester abroad, it is difficult to estimate the exact costs. I got along very well with the foreign BAfög, a small sum that I had saved and pocket money from my parents.
In my opinion, apart from the tuition fees, the most expensive aspect is the accommodation.
After a month at the latest, you will have discovered the cheapest places for yourself and you will know exactly where to buy what and what your parents may send you 😉 (Small tip: drugstore items)
Living and Traveling in Vancouver (and Canada)
Vancouver is known as one of the most livable cities for a reason. Here you have everything you need – the sea, beaches, lots of nature with mountains and forests, but downtown also has a beautiful skyline and city life. And you can have all of this without even leaving Vancouver – so perfect for day trips.
You can hike here and prove yourself on the ascent of the Grouse Moutain, go canoeing on Bowen Island, admire orcas and humpback whales on Vancouver Island and see the capital of British Columbia Victoria, go skiing in Whistler or North Vancouver or you can watch them famous Capilano Suspension Bridge. If you want to save money, but still want to discover a beautiful suspension bridge and unspoiled nature, you can also go hiking for free in Lynn Canyon Park.
The Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish or the Othello Tunnels in Hope are also highly recommended!
Furthermore, you can of course also discover a lot in downtown: The nightlife with numerous clubs and bars that fulfill the cliché that Canadians are crazy about ice hockey 😉 A must of course is to watch a live ice hockey game by the Vancouver Canucks. I can also count a sightseeing flight with the seaplane over Vancouver and the mountains to my personal highlights.
One of my favorite places was Stanley Park, which is located downtown and is great for jogging along the coast and the beaches.
For film and series fans like me, Vancouver is a dream: After Los Angeles, Vancouver is the city of filming locations in North America and you can feel that on location. Almost every day you can see numerous film sets there and also run into one or the other actor in downtown.
Another must-see is a trip to the Rocky Mountains – no matter how great it looks in photos, it will never look as breathtaking as it does with your own eyes.
Turquoise blue lakes between gigantic mountains and forests and moose that you come across on the roadside. If you don’t want to go on your own, the trips from WestTrek are warmly recommended.
According to Liuxers, the Canadians are very friendly and open to other cultures, so that you can quickly feel comfortable and settle in, but you can also quickly get used to the customs of Canadians. This includes, for example, a “Thank you” to the bus driver after every trip.
I can only recommend everyone to spend their semester abroad at CapU. You can expand your own limits and personally prove what you can do.
You meet great people with whom you have shared a unique experience and you make friends all over the world.