To sum up my stay in one sentence: It was simply the best semester of my studies, and I definitely don’t want to miss the time in Winnipeg.
To start with, a few organizational things. I applied at the beginning of April 2012, got great support from MicroEDU , and so at the end of April / beginning of May the university accepted. Then it went on with the application for the student residence and the student loan application. I can only recommend to all of you, foreign student loans to apply – even if you’re like me gets none at home. With the Auslands-BAföG, the tuition fees of up to € 4600 are covered and you don’t have to repay a cent.
Then I booked my flight in June. I flew over Toronto and had a look at the city and Niagara Falls before I went to Winnipeg – definitely worth the trip while you’re there. Beware of flights that go via the USA, the embassy told me at the time that you need a US visa for $ 300 because Canada does not count as an exit. It’s best to ask at the US embassy in Frankfurt beforehand. Then I arrived in Winnipeg on August 28, 2012 and my adventure semester abroad could begin. Visit act-test-centers.com to get information about cost of living in Paris.
I have been given a place in the Balmoral houses. House 270. My roommates were really great, we were 3 Germans in total, but the fact that there were still others with us meant that we only spoke German when we were alone, so that one could improve one’s English. The rooms are furnished with a bed, desk, wardrobe, chair and bedside table. You have to buy new sheets, pillows, blankets, etc. ► just take the bus to Walmart, where you can get a whole set for less than $ 40. In the Balmoral houses and in Lions Manor you don’t have to take a meal plan, but in McFeetor (the newest dormitory) you have to take it. In the second week I decided on the meal plan:
- The food is definitely not as bad as everyone says and as you imagine it to be.
- Food in Canada is at least twice as expensive as in Germany (especially milk, cheese, meat).
- The nearest Walmart is a 20-minute one-way drive from the university.
- You will probably have to learn more than you are used to, so the meal plan can save you a lot of time.
Every day there was a noodle / rice bar where you could put together your meal from different types of noodles / rice, vegetables, meat and different sauces, burgers, fries, sandwiches, lettuce, soup, Mexican food, pizza and much more. Tip: You may say when you apply that you cannot order the meal plan afterwards, but it works. So check out the food, go to a supermarket, and then decide if you’re not sure.
The university is right in downtown. The university is actually pretty nice, relatively manageable and the professors are great. I’m studying business administration in Münster and I wasn’t used to working with them, getting ‘homework’ and doing a lot during the semester. At the University of Winnipeg you will have at least one midterm exam in October and a final in December. And then mostly case studies, reports, presentations, etc. that are graded. But the effort is usually limited, and personally I think it’s better if you also have the pressure to do something during the semester, then everything does not build up until the end – but always remember to enjoy your semester abroad too;) I have the courses: HR Management, Retail Management, Consumer Behavior and Organizational Behavior attended. Four courses are feasible, but in my opinion not more – unless you just want to sit at your desk.
In Canada it is common to buy books for every subject. Warning, they are super expensive, a book can cost $ 150. Tip: Have a look at the UWSA bookstore, buy the books about 6 days before the start of the lectures, because then there will still be enough, and if you ask the professor in the first lesson and he tells you you don’t need it, then you can Return the books to her within 6 working days and get all the money back. It is also worth teaming up with several people if roommates are taking the same course, or if you are buying some older issues (compare the content here!).
Winnipeg and the surrounding area
At the beginning everyone tells you how unsafe it is in Winnipeg. In all honesty, it drove me crazy at the beginning, but if I stick to the rule, that doesn’t necessarily mean walking alone in the dark and not turning the iPod all the way up, then nothing happens. I actually never really felt unsafe. So don’t let that unsettle you. Winnipeg is otherwise quite ok, the city is not NYC or Toronto now, but you can study well there and do a lot. The surroundings are also quite ok, just borrow a car for the weekend at the beginning and explore the surroundings. Here are a few tips:
- Riding Mountain National Park: about 4 hours by car but it’s worth it, just amazing and pure Canada
- Winnipeg Beach: about 2 hours by car
- Whiteshell National Park: about 2 hours by car and also really great, probably drives. Even further to Kenora, is a small town, is often offered as a tour from the ISS, but there is not that much to see, so it is better to do it on your own than to idle the whole day in the ‘kaff’
- The Forks: on the river, beautiful and especially in summer there are still some festivals
- WSO: Winnipeg Symphony, really great for music enthusiasts
Otherwise, be sure to check out Vancouver.
Yes, it will be very cold, but that doesn’t mean it can’t get very warm in August too. In August it was still as warm as 28 ° -35 °. From September it got cooler (15 °) and so from mid-October / beginning of November it was winter. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything anymore. The sun also shines in winter, well worth a walk to the river or ice skating at The Forks. The lowest temperatures we had were -35 ° at the beginning of December. But to be honest – if you dress properly, you can do anything. Buy mittens (gloves where not the individual fingers are, but the fingers together), themed leggings (for under the jeans), a good hat and you are well equipped. Also along Portage Ave. Skywalks, so you don’t even have to go out to walk down the street.
So, enough of the many words, if you have any further questions, please feel free to write to me. (You can get the address from MicroEDU).