On MicroEDU me by an information event in Münster encountered. First the concept was presented and the countries with which there are connections. Since I wanted to go to an English-speaking country as an English studies student and had already flirted with Canada, the offers from MicroEDU seemed very suitable to me. Then I signed up for the Canada newsletter on site. I then got informed about this as an employee at the University of Winnipeg came to Munster to get the word out. After some back and forth, I finally chose Winnipeg and MicroEDU was a great help with that. With the documents and instructions provided, the application process was very easy and ran smoothly. Only the choice of course was a bit tedious. I only got my courses confirmed in mid / end of July.
Travel before, during and after university
Before I started my semester abroad in Winnipeg, I traveled through Western Canada. I flew to Vancouver directly from Frankfurt and from there after 2 days I sailed to Vancouver Island. I visited a friend there for 5 days and then went back to Vancouver. From there, after 3 days, I left for the Rocky Mountains with 2 friends. On this over 1000 km long road trip I was able to experience fascinating landscapes as I had never seen them before. We first drove to Whistler, where we did ziplining. At Mount Robson we drove to Jasper National Park on the famous Icefields Parkway. We then drove this past the Athabasca Glacier to Banff. The famous Moraine Lake and Lake Louise awaited us there and the first grizzly bear I have ever seen! In the end we drove to Calgary, from where I flew to Winnipeg. Visit andyeducation.com to get information about University of California Riverside study abroad program.
In Reading Week in October I did another road trip, this time to the USA. We only drove to Minneapolis 7 hours by car. We stayed with a friend there for two days before driving 6 hours to Chicago. The city was stunningly beautiful, there are many skyscrapers, but these are often really old houses and “The L”, the city’s subway, runs over the streets in between. After 3 days we drove back via Minneapolis.
After university I flew to Toronto for 5 days. In addition to the CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium, a detour to the Niagara Falls should of course not be missed. There was even a kebab shop where I could finally treat myself to a decent kebab again after 4 months of abstinence. And so satisfied I flew from Toronto to Germany again.
The University of Winnipeg (often just called UW or UofW) is one of two large universities in the city (next to the larger University of Manitoba, UM or UofM for short) and its central location makes it unbeatable. The buildings are all within walking distance of each other and the hip Exchange District in downtown is just a few minutes walk away. The university is generally very well equipped. The buildings are older, you can tell from them, but everything is in top shape and well-kept. The on-site support is also very good, the International Student Service is THE contact point for all questions. The students and employees there are always super friendly and in a good mood, you can always have a good party with them and have a drink. They also organize many activities where you can get to know other internationals as well as Canadians without any problems.
There are several cafeterias on the campus, but they are quite expensive compared to Germany (well. . . like everything here except clothes, fuel and maple syrup: D). A sushi box is available for $ 7, a wrap or chicken fingers with French fries for $ 12.
There is a large and well-equipped gym at the university, which I also used a lot myself. Membership is included in the tuition fees, you only pay 33 $ per term for the locker. But there is also a fresh towel every time. In addition to the fitness studio, which has all kinds of fitness equipment and dumbbells, there is a huge football hall with artificial turf, squash and badminton halls and a large three-field sports hall with a running track on the gallery. So you can go jogging, kicking or playing basketball even in the cold winter. Balls can be borrowed for free and the halls can also simply be used when the Wesmen are not training or playing. (The university sports teams are called Wesmen).
Since this term (fall 2016) there is the so-called U-Pass, a semester ticket for Winnipeg. It costs $ 130 and is included in the tuition fee. Otherwise you always had to get a monthly pass for $ 70, but the U-Pass is a bargain.
The buses always run here often, usually every 10 or 20 minutes. During the day there are at least express lines, but otherwise there are stops at almost every intersection, which often makes bus journeys very tedious.
At night, the most important bus routes run until around 1. 30 a. m. (Mon-Sat) or midnight (Sun). But don’t worry, you can still get away afterwards: taxi driving is cheaper than in Germany. For example, for about 7 km, I only paid $ 16.
Most internationals live in dormitories (McFeetors and Lions Manor), college dormitories (Balmoral) or do homestays like me. You can already hear more of what is happening when you live in the dormitory. At the time, I feared that I would be surrounded by 17-year-old Canadians who were just leaving high school. That’s why I decided on a homestay, which is regulated by the university. It can happen that you want to change the host family, but the coordinators at the university are always very understanding and extremely helpful. I actually had to change the host family because my first host mother (57 year old single with two dogs and a cat) was very fond of her dogs. Unfortunately, she always locked the dogs in a box when she drove to work at 7 a. m. every day, whereupon the dogs began to howl terribly and never stopped and you couldn’t turn a blind eye even with ear plugs. When I asked if something could be done, she advised me or told me to change families. In the end, the matter ended very unpleasantly in a dispute. But my next host family was all the more cordial for it. My host parents were Filipino immigrants (good food but lots and lots of rice) and my two host siblings were very cute, but also sometimes very noisy. That’s why I often went to the bib to study.
The host family has the advantage that you don’t have to worry about food. Three meals a day (including lunch boxes) are included, so “all inclusive” so to speak. There is always cooking in the evening. If you live in a dormitory, however, you have to be aware of one thing: There is no bed linen, no dishes or cutlery. You have to bring it all with you or buy it here.
Some of them simply go to Winnipeg 1-2 weeks before the start of university and live in a hostel (as far as I know there is only one in Winnipeg) in order to look for a room on craigslist or kijiji (both similar to ebay- Classified ads).
If you do a homestay, you don’t have to worry about it.
In the dormitory you have to or can book a meal plan. It is compulsory at McFeetors and voluntary at Lions. There are different variants and you get a kind of cafeteria card on which a certain amount is booked. If you stay at McFeetors and order at “elements” (one of the restaurants / cafeterias that accepts the cafeteria card) for over $ 20, it will even be delivered to your room! Otherwise you can always take the bus to Walmart for 10-15 minutes. There are still Safeway, Superstore or Co-Op, but Walmart is certainly the cheapest supermarket. Apart from junk food, groceries are definitely a bit more expensive than in Germany.
Like any large city, Winnipeg is also linked to crime. You should only avoid the northern part of the city, west of the Red River. There, in the North End, it’s quite dangerous, you shouldn’t walk the streets alone at night. However, you hardly notice it in the rest of the city. There are crazy people everywhere and compared to all the other metropolises in the world I have been to, nothing is happening there.
Money / cell phone
Credit cards are essential here. Both for paying and for withdrawing money. If you open an account with comdirect or the DKB (it costs nothing for both), you get a free VISA card with which you can withdraw free of charge anywhere in the world. This is very useful, especially if you are also traveling to other countries in America. What almost turned out to be my undoing: VISA cards are no longer accepted at Walmart in Canada, but MasterCard is. In addition, as a UW student you can open a free account at the CIBC Bank here in Winnipeg and also get a free credit card. You need that to get a Canadian cell phone contract.
The Canadian providers only accept Canadian credit cards. Otherwise you have to be content with prepaid and prepaid tariffs are at least 10-20 $ more expensive than contracts. The contracts can also be canceled on a monthly basis if you take your own cell phone with you. In itself, cell phones are more expensive than in Germany. With the large providers Koodo, Fido, Rogers or MTS, as well as with smaller providers, you have to calculate 40-50 $ per month. You also pay here when someone calls you. In addition, it is more common here among Canadians to send an SMS and MMS than to use Whatsapp. That is why all contracts actually contain endless SMS and MMS worldwide (including to Germany). However, many friends managed to get by without a cell phone as there were a relatively large number of WiFi hotspots gives.
Winnipeg may not be the prettiest city in the world, but there are plenty of attractions here too. I would say that the whole city is underestimated. In the downtown Exchange District there are still an extremely large number of well-preserved buildings from the beginning of the 20th century that have long been displaced in Vancouver or Toronto by skyscrapers and parking lots. That gives the whole thing a touch of vintage feeling and it is worth strolling between all the old buildings. Numerous cafés and music shops and bars give the whole thing a bit of Prenzlauer Berg. Whether for “Booty Shake Monday”, “Tequila Tuesday” or “Thirsty Thursday” at Shannon’s: there’s always something going on in any downtown bar.
There is also Assiniboine Zoo, which is also home to polar bears. It is located in Assiniboine Park, in which the Botanical Garden is also located. A visit to Sergeant Sundae should not be missed, where they truly have the most delicious ice cream in town and all possible flavors from oreo to pumpkin spice to normal chocolate.
Directly behind the beautiful Central Station in downtown is “The Forks. ” This is a huge area with local clothing stores and regional and international culinary specialties and has the charm of an old industrial hall. Highly recommended! Next door is the Human Rights Museum, which deals with the inglorious treatment of Canada’s indigenous people. The Holocaust also takes up a large part of the exhibition. Every first Wednesday of the month, entry is free between 5 p. m. and 9 p. m.
On the other side of the Red River is the French-influenced district of St. Boniface. The streets have French names and there are several small bakeries and cafés with French specialties. For hobby shoppers, there is the PoloPark, which is Winnipeg’s largest shopping center. This is also about 4km west of the university on Portage Avenue. A bus comes here almost every 5 minutes and takes a maximum of 10 minutes to get there. There are actually all the shops there that are on the American continent. There is also a large cinema (Scotiabank Theater), Red Lobster, Olive Garden and Ye’s Buffet. All very recommendable!