I enjoyed my time at Capilano University (CapU) very much, I made a lot of new friends and I also made great progress academically. Unfortunately, I had a few difficulties at the German university in fully understanding macroeconomics, but at CapU the penny has finally fallen. I learned more in the four months at CapU than in two years at FAU.
At CapU you are extremely well looked after, everyone took their time for you, you could speak to the lecturers at any time; if you needed help with learning or writing, there were workshops and offices just for that; or if it’s just about a lack of motivation, CapU is there for you! Once a month there were therapy dogs that were brought to university to relieve stress, there was also a massage day and little get-togethers every now and then; There were special events for every holiday, such as Valentine’s Day photo sessions or the Holi Festival in the courtyard.
I haven’t felt lost for a moment as everyone cares about your wellbeing, especially for international students! If you have no idea where to go, there is always the international student supervisor, whom you can write an email to at any time or come to the daily office hours. There are many other advantages, such as a doctor who is available at the university twice a week and much more! I would recommend a semester abroad at CapU at any time !
Both the accommodation and the university are located in North Vancouver. It takes about 40 minutes to walk from the accommodation to the university or 20 minutes by bus. If you want to go downtown, it usually takes over an hour, because you first have to take the bus to the port and then take the sea bus to cross the inlet. Vancouver is quite spacious, but you get used to it quickly and it didn’t bother me personally that everything took a little longer.
According to Mcat-test-centers, North Vancouver is particularly beautiful, as you can take the bus to ski one of the three big mountains in under 40 minutes. There are also many hiking trails, lakes and forests. If you like a lot of nature, you are definitely in the right place! I had many wonderful hours in Lynn Valley, Deep Cove and the many parks. North Van also has a number of nice microbreweries such as Bridge Brewing Company and Deep Cove (be careful, there is a place of the same name, but the Deep Cove bar is very close to the property) where you can hang out with friends.
Before entering Canada:
Book the flights as early as possible. If you want to go to Canada, you have to have a current passport, a flight for entry and also for the return journey (this is specified because they also want to see that you leave again) and a printed out eTA (electronic travel authorization). With the eTA you have to enter all your personal data and passport information and also what you do in Canada, for example study. It’s super easy to get in a few minutes from the Canadian government’s website (just ask MicroEDU, they can help you), costs CAD 7 and is valid for 6 months. If you want to stay longer than 6 months, you have to apply for a real visa (again, just ask MicroEDU).
The application process:
The application process went well. You had to provide an enormous amount of documents and that can get annoying, but MicroEDU collects everything for you and submits it to CapU. When I got there, there was nothing left to worry about, which was very pleasant. Unfortunately, I was a little short on applying, but the MicroEDU staff stayed and helped me a lot.
Before you can go to a Canadian university, you have to provide proof of language proficiency, such as a DAAD test or a TOEFL test. Attention: If you want to study English at the university abroad, you urgently need a TOEFL test because they do not recognize any other language test for the English courses there. I study English and have lived in the USA for a few years, but they still did not recognize my English (on a quasi native speaker level) without a TOEFL.
The course registration:
For the courses at CapU, you first had to fill out a list of six to seven possible subjects and submit it to MicroEDU. They then discussed whether or not you could take these courses. If not, you got the list back and had to choose new ones. That was very annoying and cumbersome, especially when I asked if I could just have a list, only with content that was possible without hindrance (because that would be faster than blind guessing), I only have a link to the CapU course overview where all courses are simply listed (so that didn’t help). There is no guarantee that you get the courses you want. I urgently needed three specific courses, but there was no way to secure a safe place in those courses.
For the courses you had to enroll yourself online. What was also very regrettable was that, as a foreign student, I was only able to register for courses a whole week later, which means that your course may already be full by then. I was lucky and got my much-needed courses straight away. But that doesn’t always happen! I was particularly lucky, it could have turned out very differently. However, you can also talk to lecturers and try to get into the courses you want anyway. There are always opportunities on site that could also help me.
Now comes the uncomfortable part: costs. Unfortunately, Capilano University is very expensive, especially for international students. You pay approx. CAD 1000 per course. In addition, if you want to live in a student dormitory on site, the accommodation costs approx. CAD 2400 and the meal plan (which is mandatory) costs approx. CAD 2000 again. So it is just under CAD 4500 for board and lodging and again approx. CAD 3000-4000 for the courses. And that doesn’t even include the flight costs. In addition (which nobody told me in advance) you have to buy books for your courses on site. My books for three courses cost a total of around CAD 380 again.
There is also an insurance called guard.me at CapU that you have to take. It is the health insurance for your stay in Canada and costs CAD 2 per day, i.e. approx. CAD 250 for the entire stay (you can also extend the insurance if you want to stay in Canada for a while after the end of the semester).
There are also a few costs here and there, such as printer costs and one-time ticket costs of CAD 6 for the CompassCard. Overall, the stay is very expensive and ‘hidden costs’ keep cropping up. The greatest cheek that I experienced was that at the beginning of the semester I had to buy the sinfully expensive books for class (there were online codes in them that you needed for the compulsory homework) and I was told I could sell them back at the end of the semester so that I can get at least some money back. At the end of the semester I want to bring them back and I am told that they do not take back books from the business world on principle and then I had to listen to a 20-minute monologue about why that is so. Bottom line:
As for the accommodation, I am unfortunately not convinced. When you apply for a room in the dormitory, you fill out a matching questionnaire, after which you will be assigned a suitable roommate. You state whether you are more of a morning person or a night owl, how tidy you are and so on. You can choose whether you want to share a room or whether you take a single room (the latter, however, costs CAD 800 more). Despite the cost, I would STRONGLY advise you to have your own room.
Unfortunately, I was extremely unlucky and had an unbearable roommate with whom I absolutely couldn’t get along. Despite the completed matching questionnaires, we didn’t match one another at all. I get up early, am very tidy, and can’t stand snoring. She often stayed up late at night (around 4 a.m.) and worked on her university assignments, she also snored at an extreme volume and was very messy. We kept getting upset and I hardly got any sleep. I went to the operator of the residential complex and luckily I quickly got a new room with another roommate. I got along much better with her. However, if I had to do it again, I would definitely get my own room, as the rooms are very small for two people and you have no privacy whatsoever. In addition, the walls are very thin and you can tell everything from the neighbors. In addition, take bath slippers with you, as the showers and bathrooms are sometimes disgusting and poorly cleaned.
There is also a cafeteria right next to the property, where food is served three times a day. It was quite pleasant at first, but when the same meals were served over and over again, you quickly grew tired of the cafeteria. In addition, the dishes were always prepared with far too much oil and fat. Healthy is different. Unfortunately, even after two months of eating, I got stomach problems. In addition, the rooms are not provided with blankets or pillows or bed linen. You have to buy it yourself or bring it with you.
However, there is an alternative to the student dormitory, namely the Housing Program, where you can live with private families in cooperation with CapU. There you have your own room and the family also prepares three meals a day. I haven’t seen it myself, but I’ve heard from my friends that it has to be very pleasant.
The only positive thing I can say about the condominium is that you meet a lot of new people. I really made some good friends there and it was always easy to meet because you lived in the same place.
In addition, new accommodations are said to be built soon (in the next two to three years), which should be significantly better than the current ones.
Despite the negative points, I would go back to Vancouver at any time and study at CapU! Above all, the nature, the fellow students and the exclusively good learning experience captivated me. It was a really nice four months and I can only recommend everyone to go to the Cap. In addition, the MicroEDU staff really went out of their way and were always on hand with advice and assistance. Gladly again!