With the intention of learning English, I decided on this semester abroad and made exactly the right choice. I recommend it to everyone and would do it again in a heartbeat. I’ve gained a lot of new experiences and made friends with people from all over the world. I really enjoyed the time on campus, in my multicultural dorm and in the small Canadian town in the middle of the forest between moose and bears. I am still in contact with my friends from all over the world. You made this semester so unique. My expectations regarding progress in speaking English have been fully met. The university and the courses were very engaging and interesting.
Canada is definitely the right choice for students who simply want to experience something new from a distance or who simply want to get away from everyday German life. Since I was able to get little information before I decided to join UNB Fredericton, the following report is a little longer so that future UNB students can get a good impression of the local conditions in advance.
Short for UNB by abbreviationfinder, the University of New Brunswick in the Canadian provincial capital Fredericton offers German students a wide range of courses in the fields of economics (VWL), business administration, computer science, teaching, engineering (mechanical engineering), forest and environmental management, kinesiology / sports management, law, natural sciences, Arts and nursing. The courses of study are in the bachelor and master system available and are also offered with dual degrees. The lesson plan follows the semester system (fall term from September to December, spring term from January to April).
The course content is of high quality and very instructive. The lecturers are very helpful and open-minded towards students and teach at a high level. Foreign students are neither favored nor disadvantaged, but are always supported by the teachers if they have language or comprehension problems.
The students live in dormitories directly on campus and also have the opportunity to find their own accommodation in the area.
The campus of the 225-year-old, and thus the oldest study facility in Canada, is very nicely laid out and offers various sports facilities, numerous green spaces, as well as its own shops and restaurants. The city of Fredericton is idyllically situated on the Saint-John-River with a population of 60,000 and maintains old British traditions such as the official greeting of students by the city council and the Queen’s governor and the custom of the changing of the guard in the afternoon. Fredericton offers a variety of shopping opportunities.
There are some worthwhile excursion destinations such as the cliffs of Fundy Bay, the New Scottish port city of Halifax, the Kejikumjik National Park with some offers for adventure in nature or whale-watching tours on the Atlantic.
The language on campus and in town is English. Some subjects can also be chosen in French. In addition, various language programs are offered, both in English and in Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, etc.
My decision for the UNB
I myself was looking for a semester abroad at an English-speaking university. The British Isles and the US were eliminated very early in my decision-making process. Australia and New Zealand quickly turned out to be too costly, both in terms of travel and housing costs and in terms of tuition fees. In addition, language certificates in English are almost exclusively required here, which, however, I did not have and because of the costs I did not intend to acquire. Using a list of tuition fees and requirements for all Canadian universities. Then the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg and the University of New Brunswick (UNB) in Fredericton emerged as suitable. The UNB was a bit more expensive, but in terms of degree programs it had more suitable courses for my studies in Germany and was also convincing with its location on the Atlantic Ocean in the province of New Brunswick.
Preparation and application
When looking for a suitable university in Canada, I turned to MicroEDU ‘s free assistance. I can highly recommend this, as the company provided us with all information about universities, experience reports, study programs, financing options and visas and also took on the complete application to the UNB. MicroEDU was also the number one contact for problems with fees or accommodation during the stay in Canada. However, you can also count on good on-site support from the International Student Advisor’s Office. After I had decided on the UNB, MicroEDU gave me information material on what I had to do and when and which documents I absolutely needed to apply to the UNB.
First of all, I needed English-language descriptions of all courses that I had completed in Germany. I created these myself and had them proofread by an English teacher. In addition, so-called transcripts were necessary. All subjects that I had completed in Germany were listed in a table with the year of study, hours per week, type of examination and grades. I created the transcripts myself and had them stamped by my university’s international department. Furthermore, a study permit from the home university was necessary. Getting an English version of the high school diploma turned out to be the most inconvenient. Translation by an interpreter is very expensive. I translated it myself with various aids from the Internet and had it confirmed as “linguistically correct” by an employee of the language institute at my university. Signed by my former high school, it was fortunately accepted by the UNB.
Finally, a few forms such as the application form for the UNB and application for accommodation on campus had to be filled out and a copy of a foreign health insurance policy attached. It is strongly recommended to take out German health insurance, as the UNB is extremely expensive at $ 1,000 for one semester.
A visa is not necessary for 6 months. To immigrate, the UNB’s confirmation of acceptance as a student is sufficient. A student visa (“Study Permit”) is required for longer periods of time.
The documents were checked for completeness and correctness by MicroEDU and forwarded to Canada. The “Letter of Admission” was then sent to MicroEDU first. From there I received my approval as well as various information material about flights, accommodations, surroundings, etc.
The eight months between the idea and departure to Canada were completely sufficient.
Fees and Finances
Unfortunately, if your university is not a partner university at the UNB, you are faced with numerous fees. These sums seem alarmingly high at first, but are almost the lowest in Canada (USA and Australia are even more expensive) and can be compensated very well with foreign BAföG. The latter should be requested very early, as the processing takes place in the typically German bureaucratic time horizon of up to 6 months. I was only able to see my notification 5 days before my planned departure date (!) To check whether I was being funded at all. That was the last day to cancel the whole thing. The decision came after I had been gone for a while.
Anyone can get the BAföG abroad if the study abroad fits into the study plan of the German university and you do not exceed the usual BAföG barriers. I could not have any of the four UNB subjects credited to my home university, but my choice of course was still recognized as “suitable for my studies”.
The student loan includes a lump sum for the flight (in my time € 1,000, this is sufficient for a return flight), costs for health insurance, all tuition fees and monthly maintenance payments, which are slightly higher than in Germany.
To be enrolled as a full-time student at the UNB, you have to take at least 4 courses. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is more than enough to fill a week with lectures and self-study. For 4 courses, the tuition fee is $ 6,000. The converted € 4,600 is exactly the maximum amount that will be taken over by the Bafög office.
The dormitory with meal plan (compulsory!) And some other fees were around $ 5,000. Because of the meal plan, there was no need to go shopping all the time. So I was able to cover a large part of the sum with the monthly student loan payments. So it wasn’t as expensive overall as it looked at first glance. But of course you shouldn’t underestimate the cost of such a semester abroad.
The UNB campus is very large and beautifully laid out. All buildings are clad with red clinker bricks and give off an attractive overall picture. In between there are some green areas, parking spaces and sports facilities.
The university has a large library (and several small ones) and two sports complexes with sports halls, courts and fitness rooms. There are also three canteens – a large, centrally located dining hall and 2 smaller ones in dormitories. The food is typically American and takes some getting used to – but enjoyable.
In the middle of the campus is the Student Union Building. Here you will find a variety of rooms for studying and all bistros. There are also a few shops and a hairdresser. And so that the sociable student life is not neglected, there is a pub in the basement and a disco club and a ballroom in the attic. For events such as Halloween, the club and ballroom are combined to form a large-scale disco. The prices are high, but relatively cheap compared to prices in the bars in the city center. There are also various specials on different days where you can get sociable for little money.
A full range of courses is available to foreign students to study at the UNB. All course combinations from various specialist areas can be selected via a very modern online portal. As a “foreigner” you can already attend full courses. The events take place in mostly modern lecture rooms. The equipment cannot, of course, be compared with the partially modern infrastructure of German universities, but it is still perfectly adequate to North American standards.
The lecturers give very informative and high-quality lessons and always follow a textbook (books and other “paper articles” are extremely expensive in Canada due to the protection of natural resources, here you should definitely plan money for them). The course itself is much more intensive than ours. Since the lectures only take place from the beginning of September to the end of November, the content is very condensed and the knowledge of the students is constantly checked. For example, exams – so-called mid-terms – take place in mid-October and homework must be submitted regularly. The latter, however, depends on the course selection. With my selection of business administration and economics subjects, I was largely spared. In the case of technical subjects, the effort involved was much higher. For some subjects, project work with lectures is due at the end of the semester. It is definitely worth it to get together in groups with Canadian students. They are very friendly to foreign students (like all Canadians in general) and also help out with language problems. During the lectures, consideration was always given to foreign speakers.
In other subjects there was a final exam at the beginning of December. It happened the way I know it from Germany. With moderate effort and (almost) regular attendance at my lectures, I was able to complete the subjects quite well. It definitely wasn’t the most stressful semester of my life.
I lived in McLeod House on campus and can only recommend it. The McLeod House is traditionally the residence for the foreign students. About half of the 160 residents were foreigners. From all over the world – from Uganda, Ethiopia, through various European countries, to Bangladesh, Taiwan, Korea, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico. The house thus had its very own flair. The premises are relatively old school, but absolutely sufficient. Internet is of course available. Everyone has their own desk, a closet-like wall opening, chest of drawers and shelves. Showers and toilets are accessible to everyone. However, there are so many bathrooms per hall that each is only used by a few students. Everything was very clean and spacious. In the McLeod House there was also a small cafeteria, a games room, which was also available for celebrations, a laundry room and a mini gym. The way to the lectures and the Student Union Building (with shops, pub, disco) was about 10 minutes on foot. Furthermore, a street with hundreds of shops and fast food chains as well as an even larger mall were not far away and could be reached quickly and easily on foot or by bus.
The Living in the dorm has identified definitely also something special this semester abroad because all the people were constantly together, always what was going on and it was never boring. So it could well be that the door suddenly pops open and two sparsely accompanied Canadians come in and play guitar and sing – just like that. . . I can’t say anything about living off campus.
Personally, I was never bad at English, but I was very reluctant to use it. After the semester in Canada, I can’t speak English fluently – there is simply a lack of talent – but I was able to get rid of all inhibitions. I can record and save words much faster and, above all, since then I have enjoyed speaking, hearing and reading English. . . It was exactly the opposite before. In any case, you shouldn’t make the mistake of dealing with Germans or Austrians all the time. Many tended to. As long as I was reluctant to approach Canadians and start chatting, I always tried to hang out with international students. These usually have a similar vocabulary and the same problems, which makes getting used to it very easy. Gradually more and more contacts arose with Canadians, who also helped you with mistakes and didn’t laugh at you.
You don’t even have to bother to refresh all the grammar rules from school. Actually, 3 tenses are sufficient. Some rules that one has learned in school are not applied at all or the Canadians do not know them themselves (e. g. “going to” or “will” future). I was also able to experience that if the grammar was wrong, understanding never suffered. They always understand you. . . somehow . . .
In class, I was able to understand a lot right from the start and had no problems in this regard throughout the semester. All lecturers spoke very clearly and understandably. Technical terms were not a hurdle either, as they are mostly very similar to German. There were probably problems understanding with Asian lecturers. English courses are also offered, but I’ve only heard bad things about it. But can’t say anything about it in detail.
Leisure activities and excursion destinations
Numerous sports activities are initially offered by the UNB and the dormitories. I played on the McLeod Outdoor Soccer Team myself. Every week we competed against teams from the other dormitories or from the city. Despite our relatively unsuccessful streak, it was a lot of fun and I – as anything but a soccer ace – can only recommend it. The UNB also has an amateur team in all disciplines, whose games you should take a look at. Basketball and hockey are really exciting. American football was too boring for me personally.
For the evening entertainment, the Social Club (student disco) and the Cellar (student pub) are definitely recommended. Really blatant parties are possible here – some with live music, drinks and holiday specials. In downtown there are numerous pubs and discos with a wide variety of offers. The taxi to downtown costs just 8 dollars – even if there are 12 people with you.
The dormitories also offer pub tours every semester, where you can take the legendary yellow school buses from club to club. This is a very fun event and definitely not to be missed. The city of Fredericton also has a few annual festivals. The Harvest Blues’n’Jazz Festival is definitely recommended.
Should it be really warm, you can take a bus to a lake on the other side of the Saint John River (costs only $ 2) – Kilarney Lake. This one has a small beach and is very refreshing and clean. If you want to see the country a little, you can take a short tour of Saint John – Kejikumjik National Park – Halifax – Prince Edward Island – Moncton – Fundy Bay / Hopewell Rocks. In a few days you can see the essentials of what Atlantic Canada has to offer around Fredericton. Halifax, as the capital of Nova Scotia, has a traditional Scottish citadel and a pretty port as well as a brewery and some iconic clubs. The Hopewell Rocks are the symbol of New Brunswick and well worth seeing.
If you still have more time or would like to travel around after the semester, you can still visit Quebec City, Montreal or Ottawa. Everything can be reached very inexpensively by public transport such as the well-known intercity buses. Hostels are relatively cheap. Another popular destination was Boston. Toronto or New York are also practically “round the corner” on a Canadian scale and are easy to reach.
Money – it is not necessary to exchange money beforehand. But you should definitely get a credit card. There are various student offers such as B. at the DKB. You can then use it to withdraw money free of charge anywhere and, if necessary, also pay. Paying by credit card is very common in North America.
Flight – Cheap flights are available from STA Travel on the Internet. On request by e-mail, you can also have an individual flight plan created here, for example if you decide to stop by New York again. I can recommend flights with Icelandair. These are relatively inexpensive when you change trains. You should be careful that you choose the transfer times in Canada a little more generously, as you have to wait up to 3 hours for the corresponding approval, especially when entering the country. However, it is “normal” for Air Canada that people miss their flights because of this. You are then simply rebooked or sent to the hotel.
Arrival – It is best to arrive 1-2 weeks in advance so that you can get used to the land and the people. It takes a while to recover from the culture shock. Various first-year programs are also offered a week before the start of the course. Organizational questions about fees, ID, etc. should also be clarified early on. You can live z. B. in hostels in the city. Most of them are already tailored to the students – so narrow, old-school, but cheap. You can make your first contacts with other students there.
Meal Plan – 14 meals a week are perfectly adequate. There’s a lot of dining cash on top of that. You can then use it to eat in some bistros on campus. The meals are all-you-can-eat.
Car – You can buy cars relatively cheaply, but for smaller trips it is of course sufficient to rent a vehicle. There are numerous local providers for this. Enterprise Car Rental has proven to be very affordable for a trip through New Brunswick / PEI / Nova Scotia. There is no train station in Fredericton. If necessary, you have to fly.
Books – textbooks – and these are usually mandatory – are extremely expensive. Books over $ 200 are not uncommon. But you will often find what you are looking for on the usual online platforms. You shouldn’t be put off if a book suddenly says “in the US” instead of “in Canada”. The content is then mostly the same.
English Certificate – I didn’t need an English certificate yet. In my case, a certificate from my home university was sufficient, stating that I was able to follow the English-language lessons. To do this, I used a form from the German Academic Exchange Service and had it signed by the university. But I think the requirements have changed a bit. You should definitely find out more.
The University of New Brunswick is definitely the right choice when deciding on a semester abroad in Canada. The friendliness of the people, the environment and the quality of the university help you to get used to it quickly. But you should be careful not to get used to it too much – otherwise you won’t want to leave. . .