I decided to go abroad very spontaneously, so I only had about three months to do all the planning. Looking back, I would like to advise everyone against such a spontaneous action. With sufficient planning you can avoid a lot of stress! If all guides speak of at least 6 months preparation time, that is not at all exaggerated:-)
Fortunately, as a German you don’t have to apply for a visa, but if necessary you can simply enter Canada with your passport without any document and then stay in Canada for 6 months without any problems. So I didn’t have to worry about that.
However, to be on the safe side, I packed the letter from my German university in which I gave my consent to study at the Canadian university, as well as the Canadian confirmation of admission. Because if you want to work on campus in Canada, you need a so-called “study permit”, which you can apply for at the embassy. In the end I didn’t need any of this, but better safe than sorry! Visit andyeducation.com to get information about University of California Irvine study abroad program.
2. Finding accommodation
Finding an apartment has turned out to be more difficult than I would have thought! The end of the song was that despite my early efforts, I got an endless number of emails to housing providers WITHOUT an apartment in Canada.
This was because I was responding to housing offers on Kijiji. There, however, the requests are only forwarded if they are sent from a Canadian IP address. So all my emails didn’t arrive at all! As soon as I was in Canada, I sent more emails and finally got answers! What you should definitely note is that the housing standard in Canada differs from the German! The houses are just often not that well furnished. Everything is enough so that you don’t have to make major adjustments, but it is simply less comfortable.
For all those who do not want to spend the majority of their stay abroad on the bus and want to take part in the university events, I urgently advise against moving to the Northside of Fredericton! It’s also very nice there and cheaper than on the other side of the Saint John River, but it takes 45 minutes to get to the university by bus. . . and that bothers you!
After a month on the Northside I moved to Uptown and only had an 8-minute walk to the university. On the other hand, the house was no longer so beautiful . . . It was one of the older houses, that is, the windows were a bit smaller, so it was darker in the house, and the bathroom was a bit worn.
Another thing to note is that it is not so common in Canada for students to rent out furnished rooms, which means that both times I have lived with elderly people who owned the home. This may not be that fun, but it’s ok!
If someone is interested in the dormitories, I can only say that you will definitely participate in student life in this way. The dormitories always hold all kinds of meetings and activities.
Above all, I was deterred by the high price and the fact that you had to book the food, so to speak.
3. Upon arrival
I flew to Canada before New Year’s Eve so I could spend some time in Canada before the course started. I would recommend this to everyone because it still gives you the opportunity to see something different from Canada than just Fredericton and the surrounding area;)
So I spent a couple of days in Halifax, which is really recommendable. In addition, I was able to go about looking for an apartment. The weather in Halifax was also wonderfully mild, on New Year’s Eve it was drizzling a bit. . . so you couldn’t feel the bad cold!
When I got to Fredericton, I did a few apartment tours and finally found an apartment. At first I didn’t like Fredericton that much. It just looks like a typical American small town. In addition, it was winter and some things look a bit more bleak. But over time I really learned to love it. The idyllic campus, the considerate drivers, the professors and the fellow students.
4. The study / life
The university tries to make it as pleasant as possible for the exchange students. When we were introduced to the supervisor, we were told that we were here to experience Canada and not to study. Sounds very pleasant. Nevertheless, one should not underestimate the learning curve.
I only know it from my universities in Germany, but I didn’t know that you have to read a lot for every course, every week and that you have to buy the books that go with it. So I quickly got stuck with reading because legal specialist literature in English is exhausting, and if you are supposed to read around 250 pages a week and then have to write essays in other courses, it gets really tough! I soon had myself deleted from a course because I could no longer follow it and realized that I would not pass the exam. It all went very smoothly and you can always talk to the professors if you have any difficulties or go to the deputy dean. I ended up having to write directed research and two courses to do the homework during the semester. That was really very pleasant!
At first I didn’t get much of life in Fredericton because I was too busy with the books. But after I dropped the most strenuous course, I also became more and more relaxed and got involved in student life. The students in Fredericton take quite a lot and there are also some events. Law school had the Law Ball and Legal Rites. The Law Ball was a “semi-formal” ball, which means that the men were dressed nicely in suits, but as a woman you didn’t have to appear in a flowing ball gown, but a chic black or cocktail dress did it (that’s how they came most).
The Legal Rites is a talent show for law students, with sketches and musical interludes. Really highly recommended and fun! And of course with lots of alcohol! Because the Canadian students like to drink when there is something to celebrate:-)
Otherwise I went to clubs and pubs with fellow students who have now also become friends. The nightlife of Fredericton is actually really acceptable!
What should also be noted is that food and cosmetics are more expensive in Canada than in Germany. Much more expensive, in fact. The prices from Germany should really be suppressed, because otherwise you won’t buy anything anymore!
5. The weather
Since I came to Canada at the end of December and had to go back to Germany on Good Friday, I unfortunately only experienced winter. It was cold and there was a lot of snow. I had never seen so much snow before! And so high!But I said to myself, it’s Canada, that’s normal. Until I was told by many Canadians that it was a really hard winter, even the hardest in years. Judging by that, I have to say, it’s not as bad as is always said. It snows a lot, but even if the thermometer shows -20 ° C, it doesn’t feel as cold as -10 ° C in Germany! I was really not frozen much. And in Germany I am one of those people who freeze very, very quickly! Of course you should still pack warm clothes, but you don’t need any special clothing. There were only two days that were really mean. A very cold wind was blowing on them, which after a minute in the fresh air made you feel like you were brain freezing. The cheekbones just hurt like cramps.
Then it started to thaw in mid-March. Just so that it would be freezing again the next day and so that all the melted slush turned into a single, mirror-smooth layer on the sidewalks. The locals only drove from A to B in their cars on these days, as using the sidewalks was really life-threatening. Then it snowed again. . . approx. 20-30cm in an hour. . . and the next day it was warm again. So it went back and forth for a few days.
In April it finally got really warm! 12-15 ° C doesn’t really sound like warmth, but the Canadians are already walking around in shorts and ballerinas. Even I was too warm for a light jacket. Wearing a t-shirt is really possible in these temperatures!
Unfortunately, it rained a lot in April, so I couldn’t enjoy the warmth at all. Sometimes it even really snowed again at the beginning of April. But that thawed away quickly the next day. So while many in Germany welcomed early summer, I still had winter and rainy spring. On the day of my departure, Good Friday, Canada really wanted to say goodbye to me again, and it snowed! So winter goes on for a long time!
My stay in Canada started with some difficulties, but I would do it again and again! I miss Canada and Fredericton very much and I want to go back again! The time of 4. 5 months was also far too short! I can only recommend everyone to go for a year, because after 4. 5 months you have only just settled in and made friends. For me the time in Fredericton was really enriching! I’ve seen and experienced a lot that I don’t want to forget!