It was clear to me early on that I would spend a semester abroad. For me it was primarily about studying cheaply in an English-speaking country, at a university that has a wide range of courses so that I can find creditable courses. So my choice fell on the University of Winnipeg. I’ve broken my experiences into sections to organize them thematically:
When looking for a place to stay, you have 3 options: McFeetors Hall, Balmoral Houses or Lions Manor. McFeetors is the most modern but also the most expensive dormitory. Accommodation is in relatively small rooms with their own toilet / shower and refrigerator in the room. Washing machines are also in the building. In addition, there are two large common rooms including TV with well-equipped kitchens. These rooms can also be rented for parties. I did not live here, but I know from fellow students that these rooms are used relatively rarely. The advantage or disadvantage of McFeetors is that you have to use the meal plan. At the beginning of the semester you pay a fixed amount (the meal plan is available in 3 versions) and can use it to make cashless payments in three restaurants on campus. I consciously say restaurants because it has little to do with German canteens. The food on campus is actually quite expensive, but “diversity food”. On the one hand you don’t have to worry about food, on the other hand you have to use up a fairly large amount, which can be difficult with a menu that doesn’t change much. In addition, the money cannot be paid out at the end of the semester. Visit act-test-centers.com to get information about 8 best universities in South Korea.
In the other accommodations you can book the meal plan voluntarily, but I would not recommend it. If you choose the Balmoral Houses, you live a few meters away from the campus, but still within walking distance. As far as I have noticed, you live with 9 people including a resident assistant (student from a higher semester) in one house, like a large flat share. I’ve never been in a house like this, but I can imagine that it can be great accommodation, especially for a semester abroad.
The third option is the Lions Manor. This is actually a retirement home in which the university has rented a tower. You have larger rooms than in the McFeetors, but the premises are not that modern and you only have your own toilet in the room. 6 showers are in the hallway, which is shared with 20 people. I imagined it to be more problematic than it was. Ultimately, you never had to wait for a shower and it was perfectly okay. There is also a common room with kitchen in each corridor. There are enough refrigerators available. The lounge also has a TV. Alternatively, you can also opt for 1 room apartments. These were newly renovated last semester. There are also washing machines and dryers in Lions Manor. Furthermore you can use the cafeteria of the seniors, in which there is good and relatively cheap food. I would choose this type of accommodation again. The communal kitchen made it very easy to come into contact with other students and get to know each other so well. As in the other accommodations, resident assistants are available to answer any questions. There are also regular events to get to know each other better. The lounge was always a common meeting point to pre-drink or hang out.
The university also offers a family stay. Advantage: If you are lucky, you end up in a great family and you are constantly speaking English. There were quite a lot of Germans in the dormitories last year, so it was sometimes difficult to escape speaking German. Disadvantage: You are often a little further off the beaten track and I would have missed the international flair in the dormitory.
University and campus life
The university I really loved it. The course selection was pretty simple. I wrote to the professors in advance and received detailed course descriptions from everyone in order to clarify the crediting with my home university in advance. Even when I had to change a course at short notice in the second week of the semester, it went smoothly.
The level of the courses was definitely lower than in Cologne. The lectures are more school-based, which was probably also due to the small course sizes with sometimes only 20 people. In each course there were several mid terms or assignments and a final final exam. From the policy area “Government Business Relations” I took the sociology course “Social Policy and Social Welfare” as well as the economics subject “Intro to Econometrics”. If you have any questions about the courses, please feel free to contact me.
I found taking 3 courses to be ideal in order to have enough free time on the side. Incidentally, 3 Canadian credits were credited to me with 6 ECTS. The only thing that bothered me a bit at university was that a fee is really charged for every little thing: For example, if you want to receive your transcript at the end, it costs 12 dollars and an additional PDF file costs another 3 dollars. That’s not a lot, but a fairy here and there is annoying. Costs that were not expected at the beginning.
Since then you have all the more pleased that the gym back in the tuition fees included was. This is well equipped and perfectly fine. Furthermore, you can almost always borrow a basketball / soccer / volleyball and play in the hall. The Duckworth Center includes a three-field hall in which one section was actually always free. In addition to balls, you can also borrow squash rackets. The RecPlex opened next to the Duckworth Center at the end of last year. Inside there is an indoor soccer field, another smaller training hall and a sprint track. In terms of sport, a relatively large amount is offered free of charge.
The university and the International Students Service Center organize many events that are definitely worth attending. This is how you quickly get to know students from all over the world.
Winnipeg is not the prettiest city, you have to be very clear. Much is said about how dangerous Winnipeg is, but when you know where not to go it’s less of a problem. There are certainly worse cities.
There’s a lot you can do in Winnipeg with a population of 700,000. The nightlife is surprisingly great. I can recommend the Whiskey Dix, the Union Sound Hall and the Booty Shake Monday in the Palomino Club should be taken at least once. Driving a taxi is one of the few things that, besides fast food, is cheaper in Canada than in Germany, so that you can get home safely at night.
Winnipeg is also home to an NHL franchise, the Winnipeg Jets. The tickets are relatively expensive, but I was told that it is worth a visit. The home games of the CFL team Winnipeg Bluebombers are also a great event. Other great places: Lake Winnipeg, The Forks, Polo Park (biggest mall, right next to it is a big, pretty cheap movie theater) and the Sky Zone. I can only highly recommend a visit to the very impressive Human Rights Museum, which opened in 2014.
There are many national parks and lakes in the vicinity, which are also worth a trip. From Winnipeg you can also fly relatively cheaply to Las Vegas, which many internationals have also used. Personally, I took a weekend trip to Minneapolis to see an NBA and an NFL game (there’s an NHL team here too). If you are into sports, I can only warmly recommend it. Minneapolis in itself is also a beautiful city and has the largest shopping center in the USA with the Mall of America.
All in all, I was very happy with my semester abroad in Winnipeg. The university is really great and the support and everything around it fit. It’s one of the cheapest ways to spend a semester in North America, and it’s definitely a great experience. Nevertheless, calculate your budget generously, because the prices for food and alcohol should not be underestimated. Still, I would choose Winnipeg again and again!