I attended Capilano University (CapU) in Vancouver for a semester abroad in the 2015/2016 winter semester. In Germany I am studying political science and cultural studies. In the Liberal Studies program, I found suitable courses for both politics and the cultural area of English studies. However, not many courses are offered per semester in politics. Here you should be very flexible and look for several alternatives in advance and also clarify with your home university or college about creditability.
My lecturers at CapU were all very competent and made the lessons interesting. Classes are classroom-sized. I took 3 courses for one semester, that was a total of 9 hours a week. The main reason for this was the tuition fees. However, you are already busy with 3 courses. The Canadian students take 4-5 courses per semester, but are then also in constant stress. In literature / culture, for example, I had to read 5 books, give a presentation, write an essay and take an intermediate and final exam and sometimes also do some smaller homework. All achievements are included in the overall grade. In politics, the exams were not quite as high as in literature. In summary, the workload is really a lot higher than in Germany, but it is also easier to get better grades. Visit iamaccepted.com to get information about top 6 chemistry schools in the USA.
The campus is generally very small. Personally, I didn’t think that’s bad for a semester, especially in unfamiliar territory, because you often run into other exchange students by chance. The sports offer is rather poor and has to be paid extra. There is a cafeteria, which is a bit more expensive compared to German universities. Our supervisor at Capilano University was very nice and helpful. The organizational details all worked well, but not much information came after the orientation day. You didn’t really need that, but it was strange because we just left individually without any farewell event.
The campus is located in North Vancouver. Vancouver is a very diverse city and the public transport routes are forever. From downtown to North Vancouver you can plan a good 40-50 minutes one way. The North Vancouver district is also large and you should B. Check Google Maps how long it is to drive from the accommodation to the university.
Back then I was living with a host family that was directly across from the university. That was super convenient for me as I only had to walk 7 minutes. However, my drive to downtown was 40-50 minutes easy. There’s not much to do in North Vancouver, you have to go downtown for entertainment. Everyone has to decide for themselves what they prefer. There is no student residence at Capilano University. To the accommodation everyone has to take care of himself. It is possible to live with a host family, to share an apartment with other students or to find your own apartment. You should start looking early as the affordable housing supply in Vancouver is not good. I found my host family through the student group “CSU” = Capilano Students’ Union. I wrote with several families and finally found a great host family. You can often tell if you are on the same wavelength by email contact. But it should be mentioned that I was one of the lucky ones to be completely satisfied with their host family. I also noticed from some of the other fellow students that they had disturbed a lot about the host family.I would recommend reading the advertisements carefully and clarifying questions and no-gos in advance when dealing with e-mails. Some really only rent the room and otherwise do not want much contact with the residents, others integrate you completely into the family. Again, everyone has to decide for themselves. I was very flexible in the search and lived in a small apartment with a single mom with a dog. The woman already had some experience with exchange students and was very open and warm. Although these traits apply to many Canadians.
What I did not like:
A negative aspect was that there were a lot of other German exchange students. One of my goals was to improve my English. Since 70% of the international students were German students, German was spoken a lot during the entire stay.
Another half-negative aspect was that with 3-4 courses you have relatively little free time. You can of course find time for sightseeing in Vancouver itself. For everything outside it will be a bit scarcer. Canada is an insanely large country with long stretches. Many excursions can only be undertaken on weekends (depending on the schedule), especially for the national parks you should allow at least 5-7 days.
Overall, I really enjoyed my semester abroad in Canada and I wouldn’t want to miss it. I hope this report supports your personal decision.