Before you start reading: Do it! Go to Vancouver! It is wonderful!
Orientation and selection phase
Since I am studying English to be a teacher at my home university, I needed a stay of at least three months in English-speaking countries (two times six weeks were also possible). At first I was overwhelmed by the possibilities and didn’t know which country or which activity I would most like to do. But after I had decided to study and study Canada, it quickly became clear that it would be Capilano University in North Vancouver. The university is significantly cheaper than, for example, the UBC, although for us Germans it is of course still a lot of money. Nevertheless, I immediately fell in love with the small campus in the forest and never regretted this decision. (To be honest, I haven’t looked at many other universities after seeing Capilano and its courses.) Visit iamaccepted.com to get information about best 7 nursing schools in Canada.
The application was straightforward because I didn’t have to submit an additional application letter. MicroEDU sent me a list of the documents I needed, so I was able to register for Spring Term 2018 in May 2017. The letter of offer (preliminary approval before the money was transferred to the university) and the letter of acceptance, however, were a long time coming, which, as far as I know, was related to the personnel situation at the Canadian university. It was quite annoying not to get the final confirmation until December 20th, even though the semester started on January 2nd and the flight was already booked for December 29th. From the statements of my fellow students, however, I was able to determine that I was dealing with an isolated case: other students had already received their acceptance in September and October.
Communication with MicroEDU was always smooth and fast. My advisor Lisa Bradler was always patient, especially when I asked several times about the lack of acceptance. I never felt like I was asking stupid questions and always felt understood and in good hands. I booked my flight through STA Travel and took out additional travel insurance through Hansemerkur.
Studying at Cap U was pretty enjoyable. Although the university is very schooled, the focus on teaching also gave me interesting ideas for my future career. Since it is common in North America to speak to lecturers, there is even less inhibition to ask questions. The regular short tests in some courses and the fact that the overall grade is made up of several smaller exams also reduced the pressure in the exam phase at the end of the semester. I also think that I learned more than in Germany because it is really much more effective to learn less material at once and over a longer period of time. It is actually the case, even if the reality in the German exam phase often looks very different for me.
Since I had already attended all the courses relevant to my Bachelor’s degree at my home university, I took the opportunity in Vancouver to get to know other subjects. Liberal arts as a degree was therefore pretty much a perfect fit for me. Ultimately, I got a place in Critical Thinking, Introduction to Biological Anthropology, and Introduction to Politics and Government. I had expected fewer exams beforehand, but I like this approach in retrospect. All three courses were very interesting and highly recommended.Especially at Anthropology it was easy to get very good grades. Critical Thinking was more demanding and Politics was a lot of learning material, but the lecturer prepared it very well and understandably. I found all three lecturers very capable, but I particularly liked politics and philosophy.
The international organizer Ada Lee is very nice and helpful. Canadian universities want to prepare foreign students as well as possible for the culture shock in Canada and the subsequent shock after abroad in their home country. We met with Ada at the beginning and towards the end of the semester and had the opportunity to talk about our impressions. These meetings, as well as the possibility of direct feedback, were further advantages of the small and personal university.
By the way, Canadians are really as nice as you always hear them. If I got lost once, people not only told me how to get to my destination, they even ran with me all the way.
Again, because I only got my approval at such short notice, I started looking for an apartment and chose for the Cap U dormitory. The university can be reached in about 20 minutes by bus, but on nice days you can also walk (45 minutes) or go by bike (30 minutes). Unfortunately, the dormitory didn’t open until January 1st, so I had to stay in a hostel for the few days after my arrival. I chose the HI hostel on Granville Street in downtown Vancouver. It is centrally located, has free wifi, friendly staff and is clean. After my travels, however, I tried two other hostels in downtown: The Samesun Hostel is diagonally across from the HIs and convinced me even more because it offered more guided activities that you might not necessarily have done on your own. (For example, I was kayaking in False Creek.) The Cambie Hostel in Gastown Vancouver is also recommended, but a bit noisy because of the pub below if you live on the first floor. The pub under the hostel is also a good place to have a beer and socialize. If you are looking for a shared apartment or apartment, you can live in the hostel for a few days and then make viewing appointments.
Back to the dormitory: I would say it’s absolutely fine for a semester, and I would also look for a shared apartment. The food was all inclusive three times a day, but not outstanding, and unfortunately there was no refrigerator or cooking facilities in the hallway. I would recommend having a single room to yourself for at least some privacy. However, this is a bit more expensive than a shared room. Whether you want to live in the women’s, men’s or mixed corridor is a matter of taste, I personally found the bathrooms in the women’s corridor to be cleaner than in the mixed corridor. I didn’t find much difference between the study intensive and the normal hallway. The fellowship with the other dormitory residents was nice,
Leisure and excursion possibilities
Vancouver is one of the most beautiful and diverse cities in the world. Go to Vancouver if you want the whole package. You won’t regret it for a second. The mountains Seymour, Grouse and Cypress can be reached quickly by bus and are ideal for skiing or hiking (e.g. Grouse Grind). Vancouver also has beaches, like Kitsilano Beach, Sunset Beach or English Bay (with palm trees!). Unfortunately, I discovered Stanley Park quite late for myself, but the park / forest is super quick and easy to explore by bike. (It’s best to do this on the first day: Rent a bike and get an overview of the city, it’s worth it.) Granville Island, located on False Creek, is a market that you should definitely visit. The shops are nicer than those in Gastown or downtown, so this is a good place to buy souvenirs. The Science World Museum is very close to the market and definitely a worthwhile day trip, not only for children, where you can learn a lot.
In North Vancouver, I especially came to appreciate Deep Cove (Quarry Rock Hike and Donuts) and the Lynn Valley Suspension Bridge. In contrast to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, an equally impressive suspension bridge, visiting the Lynn Valley is free. At Capilano you can come back for the whole year free of charge after paying for the first time if you can prove that you live in British Columbia. British Columbia, of course, offers many more hiking opportunities. For example, I would have liked to go to Whistler and Squamish, a ski area and national park in British Columbia. You can often find tours through a hostel or online. Or you can form a car pool with fellow students.
During spring break, I rented a car with a few friends and we drove through the Rocky Mountains to Alberta. There we went to Calgary, Banff and Jasper and enjoyed the breathtaking lakes and mountains. (Pyramid Lake, Lake Louise, Athabasca Falls…). It was very cold and challenging to drive, but an unforgettable experience. On another weekend we took the ferry to Vancouver Island and there with a rental car to Tofino, Nanaimo and Victoria. For surfers, Tofino has to be beautiful in summer, but unfortunately it wasn’t so attractive in winter. Victoria, on the other hand, was great even in winter and very European. Here you can do whale watching, in the Miniature Museum or in the National Museum of BC.
After the semester, I went to the USA with a friend. Via Seattle, which is very close by, to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. I was able to visit Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon. We didn’t even have to rent a car for this, but used the Greyhound bus and flights.
Do’s and don’ts
Canadians are very polite. When you wait for a bus, you queue up and wait until everyone has gotten off before boarding. You also greet the bus driver when you get on and thank you for the ride when you get off. A loonie means the 1 dollar coin and a toonie means the 2 dollar coin.
The Internet in general is much better in Canada than in Germany and you have free wifi almost everywhere downtown. So I saved the money for a Canadian SIM card and instead used the wifi in the dormitory, university and free wifi in the city.
You should really make sure to view apartments before moving in, so that you don’t get fooled on Craigslist, for example. The Craigslist platform, which is similar to ebay classified ads, is otherwise very helpful, for example I bought and sold a guitar and also found nice souvenirs such as hockey jerseys.
Travel adapters should best be bought in Germany in electrical goods stores, but you can also find them in electrical stores, for example on Granville Street. Cosmetics can also be conveniently bought in any drug store, e.g. London Drugs or Shopper’s Drug Market.
The Compass Card required by Capilano University can be obtained from the machines at the Skytrain Stations. There you choose a monthly pass for $ 6. Here, however, you have to be careful not to accidentally pay too much. The Compass Card is linked to the university’s UPass, for which you have already paid for the total fee for the university. Loading more money onto the Compass Card therefore only makes sense for the time outside of the semester.