Since my community service ended at the end of March, but my desired subject of business informatics only starts in the winter semester, I had to look for a good opportunity to bridge this free time.
Why a Summer Session at Thompson Rivers University (hereinafter TRU)?
Normally, the preparation time for studying abroad should always be at least a year, but I only had three months! German high school graduates do not need a language certificate for the TRU, so that I have saved several weeks of time (registration test, test, evaluation) and money. In addition, Germans can travel to Canada for up to 6 months without a visa, ie simply tick the Study entry form and show the officer the confirmation of registration from the university.
The tuition fees in Canada are of course expensive, but still below those of the universities in the USA. Since I wanted to be back in Germany in time for the start of my studies, there was no time for a whole semester and I decided to do a summer session. This only lasts 7 weeks plus (optional) an introductory week.
Since the time of Summer Session I fit very well into my plan, I decided – after a few e-mails and consultations with MicroEDU – for TRU. Abbreviated for Thompson Rivers University by abbreviationfinder, the TRU also has a decent selection of courses in the summer semester, so the decision was not an easy one for me.
Overall, the entire procedure was quite unbureaucratic and simple. MicroEDU will send you some registration forms from the university. It is quickly filled out and then faxed back to MicroEDU with a copy of the high school diploma. These are then checked and, if necessary, errors are pointed out. After a correction, these will be forwarded and I received my preliminary approval after two weeks.
Unfortunately, only then did I find out that I had to pay the full tuition fees for one semester (~ 7,200 CAN $), and that I would only get the excess money back after my return. Then I booked my flights (from Frankfurt via Calgary to Kamloops with Air Canada – recommended!) And looked for an accommodation. A month later, after paying the money, I received my final approval with the confirmation of both of my courses in the mail.
There are two dormitories directly on campus, the large and more luxurious TRU Residence & Conference Center (www. residence. theplace2be. ca) with large rooms and decent furnishings, but expensive.
I chose the other dormitory: On-Campus Housing or McGill-Housing (www. trustudenthousing. com). Small rooms (!), Bathroom is shared with three others, but everything you need (fridge, hotplate, microwave in your own room; internet + telephone connection possible).
With a little luck (I didn’t have that. . . ) you might find yourself on the right side and are thus turned away from the street and have access to the university’s WiFi. Registration takes place on the Internet and is quite easy, but should be done in good time, as I was only lucky enough to get a room after a few back and forth. It was still pretty full when I arrived, and only half full when I left.
Other options include Upper College Heights (3 minutes’ walk to campus) and accommodation with a host family. It should be noted, however, that the TRU is located on a hill above the city and not directly in the city center.
The first days & introductory week
After my arrival on Thursday and setting up my room, I first went to the nearby superstore (approx. 400m, cheaper than Safeway – approx. 1km). The food prices are similar to or just above the German level.
On Monday the very useful and recommendable Orientation Week for internationals began. The week is run by TRU-World, the department for all international students. This gives you useful insights into the peculiarities of the Canadian system (compulsory attendance, final exam only counts approx. 40%, participation is expected and can be graded), your timetable, important information, a campus tour and a cam-loop tour, registration and re-registration options for his courses. Finally, there is a lunch with a program for all new internationals and important people at the university.
In principle you are treated like a customer and not like a student. The ladies and gentlemen from TRU-World are really great!!
Start of studies & study conditions
Before I came here, of course, I was very nervous about my English. I really didn’t do well with my Abitur (grades ~ 07, basic course), but in the introductory week all employees at TRU-World spoke very clear English, but what about the professors then?
The next Monday at 9. 30 a. m. my first course (Principles of Microeconomics) started. The surprise came first, there were around 30 people in the course (max. 7 Canadians), the professor came from South Africa and was initially very difficult to understand. But by halfway through the lecture, I got used to the accent and had fewer problems. The process remained fairly constant: Powerpoint presentation, sketches on the blackboard and short discussions in the course).
At 11:20 it was over and off to my second course (Fundamentals of Mathematics for Business and Economics), which started 10 minutes later in another building. But thanks to the small campus, I was able to take my time, the lectures usually started five minutes later on time. This time the instructor was Canadian, estimated to be in his early 30s and really good. Always friendly, very helpful, fun and easy to get along with.
At 1:20 pm it ended and the first day of study was around. My schedule was quite relaxed from Monday to Thursday 9. 30am to 1. 20pm, Friday to Sunday free.
Almost all of the buildings on the green campus are very new (built in 2000 or later) and very modern, with the exception of the “Old Main”. . .The library is surprisingly small, but a new one will be built right in the middle (completion 2010).
So the time flew by and the English caused significantly fewer problems than expected and so – to my surprise – I finished quite well (see below). Especially in the summer semester, when many Canadians go on vacation or do an internship, it is much quieter and there are fewer Canadians than internationals. These come mainly from Asia, the rest from really all regions of the world. The TRU has students from over 65 countries!
Kamloops & Canadians
Kamloops is east of Vancouver, has a population of around 80,000 and is one of the best places in Canada in terms of weather. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case when I arrived, the snow had only melted for a few days (end of April!) And the temperatures were mild. But after a few days it was usually very hot (around 25 degrees +). Kamloops is located directly at the junction of two rivers and is, so to speak, at the end of three valleys. The surroundings are mountainous and almost savannah.
The very friendly and open atmosphere is not only found on campus. Canada has the highest immigration rate of any large country in the world. Anyone who has been there for a long time can understand that.
The people are all (!) Extremely friendly and helpful. Just ask and they will do their best to help you. The whole daily routine is much more relaxed than in Germany and I quickly got used to it.
A time abroad is certainly generally recommended. But the summer session in Kamloops was a great experience for me and confirmed my view that I should definitely do at least one semester abroad during my studies. This is also the best option for all people who are not yet a student and who might like me to bridge some idle time. At least for Canada I wouldn’t worry about my English skills!! You will always be helped!