After the 5 months in Canada and 4 months at Capilano University in Vancouver, I can recommend everyone to do a semester abroad at the Cap! Even if I only give the university 4 stars, the overall package with Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada is just right.
Warning: information overload, but everything is worth reading:
When it became clear to me that I wanted to go to Canada as a free mover and that I had chosen Capilano as my preferred university, everything went very quickly: Katharina sent me the ready-made application forms for Capilano, which you can find quickly and easily with the help of the detailed instructions can fill out. MicroEDU then forwards everything to Capilano and takes care of everything organizational, which you as an applicant do not necessarily have to be present. So you can relax and concentrate on studying, part-time jobs and the like. The approval of the cap came within a few weeks and by paying part of the tuition fees, you then finally accept the study place. Sure, you have to take care of a lot of certificates from your home university and co., But by referring to the Cap, a MicroEDU takes a lot of work off the shoulders!
I took 3 courses at Cap: World History Since 1500 with Derek Murray, Anthropology & the Environment with Maureen Bracewell and Traditions in Western Literature with Dan Mureau. Usually the cap is the classic destination for students from economics or communication sciences, but my courses were a great addition to my English / American studies and history studies in Münster. The World History course in particular was incredibly interesting because you can get out of our latent Eurocentrism in order to look at and better understand other cultures, their history and the relationships between cultures and nations.Since I don’t actually study anthropology at all, it was a completely new experience for me to take the Anthr course. Big plus for it! Canada is really interesting because of its culture (Canada is culturally diverse!) And the Anthropology course is a perfect opportunity to get to know and explore the whole thing on an academic level. The main focus of the course was also the connection and the relationship between societies or cultures and their environment, which is a very helpful and informative course, especially in our time, in the context of climate change and increasing globalization. The courses are usually totally productive with a maximum of 30 people and you can discuss a lot. My lecturers were all very motivated, personable and you could work together really well!
At Canadian universities there is much more continuous work than in Germany. Our system with 3/4 of the semester relaxing and studying for exams in the exam phase at the end doesn’t work that way in Canada. As here, there are quite a lot of readings and texts that have to be read and prepared. However, reading reports and analysis questions must be submitted before the session begins. There are also mid-term exams, group work, project tasks, presentations and smaller to larger term papers and essays, etc. Compared to the German university, it is already very schooled. It sounds like a lot at first, but in the end it is not a big problem with 3 courses: you have plenty of time to complete the individual tasks and to prepare extensively for exams. In addition, the degree of difficulty of the tasks and exams is rather low and I think the German exchange students all did very well. Different system, but after a short familiarization with 3 courses absolutely feasible without missing much of the city and the fun outside of the university!
The campus is already very small for a North American university. But it is right in the country, has a gym with a sports hall, a small bib and good IT facilities. Everything you need for a semester.
The Cap is a popular university for Germans, Austrians and Swiss and that’s why you meet a lot of German-speaking people. The fact that you still speak a lot of English is up to you. Just don’t spend time in exclusively German-speaking groups!
Alison Rudko’s International Office and the Students Union are worth their weight in gold in preparation for and during the semester abroad. All questions (if there are any) will be answered quickly and you will receive constant help with regard to certificates for your home university, problems with choosing a course in Canada, etc. There are also numerous events where questions about the organization are clarified, and the Students Union also organizes many events to meet new people or simply to enjoy the university more: Movie screenings, Christmas dinners, street parties, trivia events and more many more!
For an apartment, you have to look for it on your own as there are no campus apartments yet. There are 3 partners of the Cap who arrange apartments and in whose buildings many other international students are accommodated. However, since these are relatively expensive and often only start at $ 800 or $ 900, I started looking for an apartment myself. Definitely more stressful, but a good experience. I have already looked for apartments from Germany on sites like Craigslist, but unfortunately haven’t found any, as most of them have not registered or were simply taken very quickly. Beware of all the Internet offers: I found an apartment on another site that I unfortunately cannot recommend, but in which I lived for the first 4 days, to look for something new on site. It’s quick and easy to find something on site: Get a Canadian SIM card directly, look through Craigslist and then you can either go straight to the site or the next day. Then I lived in a shared flat with other international students and working locals for 650 CAD in North Vancouver near the university. And for Vancouver the apartment was very cheap! Later I moved to a colleague where I only paid 500 CAD. Many first go to a hostel or an Air-BnB apartment in order to then look for a long-term place to stay on site. There are also a few Facebook groups that collect apartment offers!
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
So now the most important thing: Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada are simply unbelievably beautiful and some of the best that you can experience.In August and September you can hang out for hours on the beaches that are right downtown or on the North Shore, play beach volleyball, get to know new people (and romantics enjoy the sunsets!) Or just relax for a hike on Grouse Mountain or the Deep Cove, which is a 30 minute bus ride away. For hiking and the like, you can also go to the surrounding lakes and mountains in BC in a very relaxed way. All great day trips! Or stop for a long weekend on Vancouver Island for surfing to Tofino, whale watching or hiking or to Victoria! And of course skiing in Whistler or in the areas directly near Vancouver. But you can also stay in Vancouver for weeks and have a great time: top bars in downtown,There is always something going on! And you quickly get used to the fact that the clubs usually close at 3 a.m.
And very important: if you go for the winter semester, take a few weeks in August to go to the Canadian Rockies. Breathtaking landscape with bears and moose! Perfect for a camping road trip!
And best of all: The Canadians and all the other internationals in Vancouver are the perfect company to settle in quickly and to make friends for life! It might sound like an exaggeration, but almost everyone who was with me in Vancouver during that time will confirm that.
According to Iamaccepted, the disadvantage of Vancouver and British Columbia is that it is a very expensive area. Accommodation, meals, going out and cultural events are already very expensive and much more expensive than in other corners of Canada. However, every cent is really well invested! The variety of food also pays off: Chinese, Indian, sushi, hamburgers, Italian,… colorful! In addition, you can quickly find your spots where you can shop, eat and go out cheaper without losing fun or quality. I definitely have a lot of tips!
Capilano is not exactly the cheapest university either and as a free mover you have to dig deep into your pockets. In any case, it is important either to have saved a little something, to be supported by parents or scholarships (e.g. PROMOS) or to receive BAföG abroad. Or all together! Because the whole thing can best be enjoyed without worries about money! In Vancouver you should expect at least € 11,000. Difficult to estimate how much I spent because I kept traveling. But with BAföG abroad, a scholarship and some savings, I have come very, very far!
All in all: Go to the Cap for a semester, go to Vancouver! In the multicultural environment you can learn an incredible amount for your studies and for yourself. One of the nicest experiences one can have!