“ Canadians are incredibly nice and always apologize ” – this is a common misconception one hears when talking to someone about Canada. And yes, it is true. Wishing the bus driver a good morning and quickly shouting “thank you!” To the front when getting out of the car is good form and makes the day much more pleasant for yourself and others. First of all, I would like to say that I can really recommend the semester abroad at CapU, even if in the following text I seem rather critical. Mostly, however, these are things that can be ruled out with a little care and preparation in advance. The impressions that one collects in Canada ultimately remain unforgettable and quickly make you forget everything else. It’s not for nothing that everyone knows this one person who has been raving about how much he / she would like to emigrate to Canada for 20 years. Visit iamaccepted.com to get information about 5 best nursing schools in Europe.
Registration at CapU was very easy thanks to MicroEDU, the registration form was quickly filled out and sent. The response from CapU, including the confirmation of the courses, then took a little longer and the final confirmation came on December 22nd, my flight to Canada was due 5 days later. Admittedly, I submitted my application towards the end of the deadline. It is better not to wait that long here and get active early.
When choosing a course, it should be agreed in advance that the home university will also recognize it. Unfortunately, courses can only be changed for free on the first day, after which you pay a hefty surcharge. Once you have overcome these first hurdles, you should actually get through the next four months carefree.
The university is beautifully located on the edge of the forest in North Vancouver, offers a library with computers for the students and small group rooms that can be conveniently booked online. The bus connection to CapU is quite good from North Van, Burnaby and Gastown / Chinatown. Only at lunchtime and in the evening there are minor connection problems with the latter, but they do not bother much. However, I have to give a star deduction for the cafeteria, as it unfortunately doesn’t offer a balanced menu and the dishes are too expensive.
The Student Union regularly hosts events on campus or in the city and takes really good care of the needs of the students. In addition, as an exchange student you still have local students who are at your side together with the International Office and are happy to answer questions or invite you to go out for dinner or a party.
The range of courses in business administration is extensive and should offer something for everyone. To register, you can choose up to four courses for the first choice and three more as a second choice. In my case, the constellation arose that I only got one first-choice course and all second-choice courses. However, since this resulted in too many “soft skill” courses, there were problems with crediting them at the home university. However, this was resolved quickly and the International Office of CapU, the individual lecturers on site and MicroEDU gave me great support.
The level of difficulty varies from course to course, although in my opinion no course is very difficult. Only the workload is higher compared to Germany. Short multiple choice tests, lectures, term papers, midterms and finals are quite tense despite the only four courses chosen and you have to stay on the ball. For example, I had to work in project management, leadership in teams and entrepreneurship, working out several things in group work, some of which you had to meet weekly for. But it should be mentioned here that there are quite a few differences, depending on which lecturer you get. It should also be mentioned here that one or the other lecturer insists on business formal when it comes to dressing style for lectures. Unfortunately, black jeans with a shirt are not enough, otherwise some points will be deducted. The suit trousers and a pair of patent leather shoes should be in the suitcase as a precaution. Since there are many international students, you don’t have to worry about not being integrated into the group or making friends. The lecturers teach in small courses of around 30 people ; people use their first names. When assigning courses, the International Office also ensures that jump out 1-2 days off.
Accommodation and catering
Together with a fellow student from Germany, it was clear that the CapU accommodation was out of the question for us and that we would rather look for something for two. After we received a few rejections and many furnished apartments are only rented for at least six months (sometimes surcharges of CAD 300 per month for shorter rental periods), we found a great apartment on Craigslist with an incredible view in Chinatown. However, if you want to enjoy a view like in the attached pictures and reach downtown in 5 minutes on foot, you can quickly dig deep into your pocket in Vancouver. You have to calculate at least a high three-digit euro amount per person per month. However, higher rental prices should not only be expected for apartments in downtown, the basement apartment near the university also has its price. An apartment on Craigslist is often advertised for the next month, unfortunately you can hardly find anything far in advance. You may plan to temporarily spend the first few days in an Airbnb.
If you like cooking as much as I do, you can’t get past burritos, pizza and the like. There are fast food shops on every corner, orders are made via the app and paid for with a credit card (this is a must-have in Canada. I only know one hairdresser and one German restaurant that don’t accept credit cards). There is even a subway at Capilano University. In terms of price, this is roughly at the German level, should the exchange rate not drop significantly. If you prefer to prepare your own food, you have to expect slightly higher prices for meat and vegetables in the supermarket. You get to know cheese as a luxury product.
San Francisco? Rocky Mountains? Hawaii? No problem from Vancouver. Depending on what the schedule looks like, you can spend a long weekend in Hawaii, as a few fellow students did. Halfway through the semester, there is also a “reading break”, which is theoretically intended for midterm learning. What you make of it is ultimately up to you. In any case, I took the bus to Seattle, from there to San Diego, Las Vegas, San Francisco and back to Vancouver. And that for less than € 250 for flights and buses. A day trip to the Whistler ski area 200 kilometers away was of course there too.
If you decide on the spring semester, however, you have to expect a lot of snow and cold. You’d rather stay in Vancouver and explore the city, where it usually doesn’t get colder than 0 ° C, but instead of snow, a lot of rain falls. If you belong to the party-mad group of clubbers who only stumble out of the disco at 8 in the morning, you are unfortunately wrong here. These close at around 3-4 a.m. – just like the numerous bars in the city. Otherwise there is something for everyone during the semester. From a brewery tour in the Commercial District to a bike tour in Stanley Park to skiing on one of the mountains in the north of the city.
Unfortunately, there are no Uber or Lyft in Vancouver, but there are car sharing providers such as car2go or evo, if you just want to drive to the supermarket or visit friends that none of the numerous buses go to. But be careful, for car sharing you need a document from the KBA in Flensburg, which you can easily request.
In my opinion, a must-do is a tour across the Rocky Mountains to the national parks of Banff and Jasper, preferably during the reading break or after the semester, as there are a few kilometers to go. If you are under 25 when booking a rental car, you should pay attention to additional fees for young drivers. There can be a charge of 20 CAD per day. If you are on the road, you will find almost endless valleys surrounded by huge ridges, waterfalls, lakes and bears and deer that stand by the roadside and only on them await you on the highways, which some may already know from various programs on DMAX and Pro7 Maxx waiting to be photographed.
It should be clear that the price of a semester in Vancouver cannot be compared to an Erasmus study place in Holland. But what you get for the money makes up for it in my opinion. The cheaper tuition fees at Capilano compared to other universities in North America are also an advantage. Other large cities on the west coast of the USA can be reached quickly and cheaply, the mountains and natural landscapes of Canada arouse wanderlust even if you don’t like to move around. The workload at the university is higher than usual, but can definitely be mastered without major losses in leisure time. If I had to make another choice I would probably choose to go to Vancouver again. If you have decided to spend a semester there too, don’t be afraid to find out more from former exchange students. One or the other useful information will surely pop out.