I really enjoyed my time at Capilano University in Vancouver, Canada and I am very happy that I chose this university and the city of Vancouver.
Since I wanted to go abroad immediately after graduating from high school and wanted to continue my education during my stay abroad, the Academic Gap year program was just right for me. Because there you have the opportunity to get a taste of student life, but also to become very independent and to gain a lot of new experiences.
First of all, I can say that the university is really great. Not only because it is right in a forest and is also totally modern, but also because it has great lecturers and employees. Visit iamaccepted.com to get information about South Africa higher education.
The first few days (if you come to the Fall Term like me) there are a lot of orientation offers. As an international, you get to see the university and there are also special offers for the internationals, in which you are introduced to the university’s system. During the semester there are still many activities that you can take part in, for example small parties that were organized on campus or a barbecue for the entire university.
Speaking of food… the food in the cafeteria is really great! There is a huge range of different things, such as sushi, Asian or Italian and there is even a Tim Hortons and a subway.
If you somehow need help with writing essays or assignments, it’s no problem to get it, because there is a separate “study room” in which there are always people who can be asked for advice. The lecturers also offer a lot of help.
Because of these points, I would always do an Academic Gap Year at CapU.
The university is really well located in the middle of a forest in beautiful North Vancouver. It’s really easy to get to the university by bus, as it goes to the university every ten minutes (from the Phibbs Exchange) and back every ten minutes.
The student dormitory at Capilano University is actually quite good. But you have to say that it is not on the university campus, but about three kilometers away. The university’s dormitory is also located in the middle of a forest and is absolutely beautiful. There are no high-rise buildings in the city to be seen far and wide, because the dormitory is a bit outside and you are actually in the middle of the forest, although you are actually in a big city. But this is not a problem either, because from there a bus also leaves about every half an hour in the direction of Phibbs Exchange (this is a kind of bus station). From there you can take all kinds of buses in all possible directions, such as to Downtown Vancouver or to West Vancouver etc…
Due to the location you can really do a lot outside, because there are a lot of hiking trails and the ski areas are very close.
Even if the student residence is “a bit outside”, there is really a lot you can do in the immediate vicinity. There is a really nice bar called Deep Cove just a five minute walk from the dormitory where you can have really good beer. Furthermore, there is also a cross fit and a box studio in the immediate vicinity, which are really not expensive.
The application process
The application process was really easy and not complicated, because MicroEDU gives you a form in which everything is explained down to the smallest detail and there are instructions for the online application that actually make it impossible for you to do anything wrong. And even if you do, you can always ask MicroEDU and you will get a very quick response.
You don’t have to send the documents that you have to submit to the university yourself, because you send everything to MicroEDU, who then collects them and takes care of forwarding them to the university. When you are there, you don’t have to worry about anything.
You also have to take an English test. In my case, the DAAD test was completely sufficient. In this test you need at least a B2 level, but I really have to say that it was super easy and I would advise everyone to take the test if you don’t want to take English courses at university, because then you have to take another university-internal test.
The course choice
The course selection is actually quite easy, because, MicroEDU.com you send a list of its classes and then be depending on how many courses you want to show approved by the university and then you can select the in an online portal.
Since the CapU is a relatively small university, there are not necessarily enough places for all interested parties and it is possible that you will be on the waiting list for a long time, although it can also happen that you are on one or more before your arrival Waiting lists. If that’s the case and you haven’t gotten into enough courses, all you have to do is go to an office and they’ll try to help you.
I opted for the university’s own dormitory because you don’t have to worry about it anymore. You get to eat three times a day and you don’t have to cook yourself anymore.
In terms of the type of accommodation, you can choose between a two-bed room and a single room, but this is of course associated with a significant price difference. Personally, I only decided on a double room because I think that there is the best opportunity to meet new people and even if you are in a room with a non-German-speaking person, it forces you to talk in English.
However, I had a bit of bad luck with my roommate, because we were completely different personalities who just didn’t go together. You have to fill out a form beforehand with questions about daily life, but I had the feeling that they just packed us together without paying attention to our form, so I can only recommend everyone to choose their roommate themselves.
I then moved into a single room, which was definitely a very good decision for me.
There are really many and great offers for recreational activities in Vancouver. You can go on a lot of trips, for example I’ve been to Seattle and Honolulu. In addition, as an international student you can really get involved socially, because there are many volunteer offers at the university. There are also many sports facilities. For example, you can go to the university’s own fitness studio or to all of the university team’s games.
There is also a lot to see in Vancouver itself. For example, I can recommend the Capilano Suspension Bridge to everyone who comes at Christmas time, even if it is very expensive, it was totally worth it and it was beautiful. Also, looking at all the sights is definitely a great recommendation, because they are all really nice to look at.
I can answer the question of whether the public transport system in Vancouver is good with a resounding yes, because you can really get anywhere by bus, or by skytrain or seabus. Of course you have to plan a little more time for everything, but you get used to it really quickly. Even if you know how to take the bus (because in Canada you have to queue for the bus!), None of this is a problem.
Of course, there are also negative things at university, because you are sent from one office to the next, for example, if you have a problem and have no idea where you have to go, and then somehow nobody feels really responsible for you.
Furthermore, at the time of my stay there was no real supervisor for the international students, which also turned out to be really annoying in some situations, because the last resort that you had at the university if you had a problem was International Office, however, many people there had no real clue about problems that could arise with international students.
In addition, I would advise everyone to always keep an eye on their cost account, because with me, for example, it did not vote a few times and too much money was “debited” for reasons that were still incomprehensible to me.
There are also some negative sides to the accommodation that unfortunately have to be mentioned, because you are confronted with them really quickly. For one thing, that’s the food thing. The food is really not good and also very unhealthy, because it feels like everything is fried and I would basically advise everyone not to eat the meat, because it was really mostly inedible and I have also heard from many that they get stomach problems to have. In addition, the rooms were a bit dated and you could hear everything from your neighbors.
And as already mentioned, problems with the roommates can arise, if you cannot solve them, then I would advise everyone to change the roommate. Even if you live in a double room, you can actually say goodbye to privacy, unless you are in the room with someone who is often not there anyway, or that is not so important to you personally.
There is also the matter of cleanliness… Unfortunately, it is not capitalized and, especially in the first three months, the bathrooms were not cleaned for days. Strangely, it leveled off in the fourth month and it was cleaned every day and I also hope that this will continue in the future.
On arrival, however, you should note that no blankets and pillows are provided and that you have to take care of them yourself.
Unfortunately, the costs were very high. For example, one pays around 1200 CAD for a course and then there are other costs such as health insurance in addition. Health insurance will be mandatory from the university from Spring Term 2020. That means you have to pay for the “guard me” insurance, even if you have an international health insurance from Germany. When I was there I could still decline it, but I was told that it is mandatory from the new year onwards.
Furthermore, the costs for the accommodation were very high. Because you pay 4462 CAD per semester for a double room and 5190 CAD for a single room, which is really a lot of money for a rather inferior service.
In the first few days, there was also an immense invoice for books that you actually have to buy. The books can then cost up to CAD 200 per book. I can only advise everyone to wait and see if they even need the book. And if you need a book, I would recommend checking out Amazon Canada to see how expensive the used books are, because I saved several hundred dollars because the bookstore that sells all the books is totally overpriced. It should also be noted that you can sell your books at the end of the semester. Unfortunately, the emphasis is on can, because many books are not bought and you only get back about 50% of the purchase price. Many books are not accepted
Despite the few negative points that came up, I have to say that I would do the same stay again and again. Because overall you have great opportunities with Capilano University and Vancouver is also one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen.
I’ve learned a lot in the four months and I’m very happy that MicroEDU helped me organize it so well and, most importantly, for free.