Looking back, I am very satisfied with my stay abroad at VIU and I would hardly have done anything else. MicroEDU was a great help to me with everything and the VIU itself has a lot of experience with foreign students, which was noticeable: many competent and friendly contact persons who supported you at all times and also an excellent system for foreign students in the university -Integrate everyday life.
In the following, I have divided more detailed information and experiences into some areas in order to make it a little clearer. I said briefly in advance: For me it was an all-round successful stay abroad that I can highly recommend. Note: According to abbreviationfinder, VIU stands for Vancouver Island University.
With the help of MicroEDU. com, the preparations were completed fairly quickly and all ambiguities could always be quickly cleared out of the way. In addition to a relatively short list of what you need for the application, there is hardly anything to consider. If you only have one semester, you don’t even have to obtain a visa / study permit and the national driver’s license is sufficient for six months in BC.
I only needed my passport to enter Canada, but I heard very different things. Better to take a few too many papers with you (certificate of enrollment!) Than too few.
The costs for one semester at VIU should not be underestimated under any circumstances. In addition to the high tuition fees, there are also high costs for books and study materials and not to be forgotten are expenses for the bus semester ticket and sports and leisure activities / excursions.
Under no circumstances should you rush to buy all the books listed, even if they say you have to have them! Often you can buy used copies in the first few days at the university or in one of the bookstores downtown. In some subjects it has also been found that the books are not necessary or that the texts can be found online for free.
As a German student, I had to be a little surprised at times. The whole system is more like that of a school, so there are grades for attendance, oral participation, homework, term papers, presentations, tests, intermediate and final exams. Lecturers are always addressed by their first name and it can be assumed that most lecturers know the name of the student. The workload is extremely high. I had five courses because otherwise I would have had problems with my recognition and was already at the upper limit. The timetable looks very empty at first, but with homework etc. there is a lot of work associated with every course!
Nevertheless, it is advisable to take a course just for fun, as many have turned out to be the best (e. g. theater, Chinese, geology – the VIU has a wide range of options). It is also surprising that for many it seems normal to hand in homework or simply read the entire text for presentations. It was also not uncommon for the lecturers to leave the room for five minutes in the middle of the exam and find it acceptable to be half an hour late for an exam.
The VIU simply offers everything that a student could think of. This ranges from a pub, hairdresser, shopping bus shuttle for dormitory people, workshops on learning, writing and other things to a simply great BIB with an armchair including a sea view.
The sports program isn’t bad either, with outdoor activities such as canoeing, kayaking and many others on offer. However, you should really go there as early as possible on the first day of registration, as they fill up very quickly.
Since I come from a very small university on a mountain in a forest, I was very enthusiastic about university life and found the campus just great. Depending on how you are used to it, opinions will probably differ here, as with all things.
The only thing that bothered me a little (and that shouldn’t mean angry) was that the international students consisted of almost Germans. Germans were everywhere! You sit in the bus and there are Germans in front of you, there was at least one German in every course, they were really everywhere!!! I really have nothing against Germans, after all, I’m one of them myself:-p, but that made it very difficult To stay away from the other Germans and only speak English.
Nanaimo itself isn’t really a big city with much to do. However, since Vancouver is nearby, it doesn’t really matter. Excursions to Vancouver, especially to Victoria, Tofino and Seattle are recommended. Vancouver and of course Seattle are ideal for shopping, in that respect Nanaimo doesn’t really have much to offer.
A whale watching tour in Cowichan Bay, near Nanaimo, is also highly recommended.
The public transportation system in Nanaimo is not the best. Once you have understood the bus schedule, you have to find the right bus stop and then know exactly where to get off. Bus stops usually only consist of a bench and a sign wrapped around a tree. There are no announcements or display boards on the bus and since the bus timetable only contains a few stops and the times are only guide times, the whole system takes a bit of getting used to. It took me half an hour by car from home to university, and by bus I had to plan for an hour and a half due to inconvenient travel times and unsuitable connections. On Sunday the bus hardly drove at all and on average the last bus left around midnight.
I opted for the peerstay program, living with a Canadian family but with self-sufficiency. Most of what bothered me, however, was that I had to plan an hour and a half bus ride to and from the university due to unsuitable bus timetables, connecting buses, etc. Also leaving in the evening turned out to be a bit difficult, because then there were simply no more buses. Accordingly, I envied everyone who got a place in the dormitory or an apartment near the university. A lot of international students came without a room and spent the first time in the hostel. Then they not only got to know each other, but also found cheap and well-located apartments. If there is a next time, I would do it that way too.