Why Halifax ?!
It quickly became clear to me that I was going to Canada. Why Halifax will probably be asked more often during your semester abroad. Yes, why actually? Halifax is great! It didn’t take long for me to completely fall in love with the wonderful town, the people and Canada.
Halifax is located directly on the North Atlantic and is fully absorbed in its small-town charm. Both that and breathtaking nature just around the corner, as well as a few of Canada’s countless lakes, quickly become very convincing.
Not to be underestimated: Canada is expensive! Especially the cost of living.
At first it seems like a lot of information and you have to read a little bit for the first time, but the homepage and experience reports often help with open questions.
TOEFL or other comparative certificates are not required here. Fill out the application form and wait for an answer. As soon as the application is in progress, various leaflets, and tips from students there so far will be of great help. Your website really helped: always friendly, helpful and patient. You get a time management list and if you roughly stick to it, organizing the AS shouldn’t be too difficult to manage.
The video presentations of the SMU also helped me a bit personally and gave me a little insight.
In any case, let yourself be put on the contact list with the other participants so that you will have like-minded people right away when you get there and don’t know anyone. At least I was able to make the closest friendships right away.
Study / course choice
Once you have got the hang of choosing a course via the self-serve banner, you can still change it up to two weeks from the start of the semester. Many courses are popular though, so check out which courses you want to do beforehand. Paul Dixon or the professors may be able to help you if you have problems getting into a certain course.
I had to take four courses which was definitely more than enough. Most of them prove three which is absolutely sufficient in terms of the time required. You don’t have a lot of lessons (2x 1 ¼ hours per week per course), but the learning curve of some subjects is enormous!
Assignments, essays and group presentations often take longer than intended. The reading effort is also very high, although I have to admit that in some subjects you can get through quite well without reading beforehand.
You shouldn’t take the university too seriously and just be able to switch off from time to time, otherwise you could easily spend your AS in the library and at your desk.
The campus is really nice and the library is well equipped. You usually spend breaks with Tim Hortons. Depending on which courses you take, you have to pay quite a bit of book money. My most expensive one cost $ 120, which unfortunately was rarely used in class. Of course, that doesn’t always have to be the case.
Most of the exams were multiple choice or short answer questions. Of course there are exceptions, but most of them were reasonably manageable. Germans who study at the SMU are known for their good reputation, as the majority of them usually get an A.
In any case, the system is simply different from that in Germany. Not only the two exams (midterm / final) are assessed, but also assignments, presentations, essays, attandance and participation. Check toppharmacyschools to see more reviews from current students.
Accommodation / YMCA
It was important to me to have a place to stay when I arrived in Halifax. I decided to go to the YMCA, which initially turned out to be quite a shock. You definitely have to be able to reduce your demands there.
The shared bathroom and kitchen take some getting used to and you can get a mouse or two running over it. The rooms are relatively small and simply set up, but require a good “move-in cleaning” when you arrive and want to try to get used to it.
The first impression can knock you a little, but I have to admit that I got used to it pretty quickly, especially because many other international students live on the two floors, I could save on rent and anyway not too much at home was. Another plus point is the fitness studio (+ courses), the reception open daily and you just live right in downtown.
To give you a “heads up” right away, with a rent of $ 600 you are great! Looking for a flat is unfortunately not that easy, especially for the winter semester, and it is easy to despair, especially when you see some rental prices.
The YMCA costs $ 500 and the AST $ 400, making them some of the cheapest accommodations I’ve heard of.
Leisure time / excursion possibilities / party
Halifax offers a lot of recreational opportunities, especially in the summer it is beautiful! Jog along the harbor, visit the famous farmers market, watch free concerts or just take a ride out.
The Point Pleasant Park near the SMU brings the sweet little town the quick feeling of pure nature. There are often festivals or events that often depend on the seasons or the holidays.
For Peggy’s Cove, Lunenburg and Mahone Bay you can rent a car for a day, preferably in Indian Summer.
Cape Breton is ideal for a (longer) weekend: nature, hiking, whale watching or beer pong and kings games in the holiday home.
Toronto and Montreal can be easily reached by plane (1-2 hours by flight) and at the end of the AS many made a detour to the USA.
Halifax only has pubs and no party life? This is definitely not true! There are many great pubs with a Scottish flair with great food and often with live music. Still, partying in Halifax is not as capitalized as some say. Pre-drunk is usually done at someone’s home, as you can easily pay 8 $ for a beer in a pub. This usually all happens very “early”, as the clubs (apart from two or three exceptions which close at 3:30 am) already close at 2:00 am. No matter how full the place is or how good the mood is.
Recommended here: Toothy Moose, Alehouse and Cheers.
An absolute must for the “midnight meal” after partying – Willys Poutine!
All in all: Canada is relatively expensive, but a semester abroad in Halifax is definitely worth it!