My interest in Canada was aroused during my school days, as Québec was an essential topic in the core French curriculum. In class we dealt intensively with the discovery and subsequent colonization of Canada, as well as with society and its development. So I was sure that as soon as an opportunity arose, I would definitely have to go to Canada.
According to topschoolsintheusa, Canada is a country full of history that has a valuable cultural heritage due to the interdependencies between the French, English and the First Nations – the country’s indigenous people. Canada is also a very popular immigration country and it is therefore not surprising that all sorts of nations can be found in Canada.
You can only imagine that Canada is a huge country when you travel around the country. You will quickly find that the distance between two supposedly close cities on the map actually extends several hundred kilometers.
As the destination of my stay abroad, I have chosen the city of Winnipeg, which is not only the capital of the Prairie Province of Manitoba, but also has a relatively high proportion of First Nations. Because of my interest in the history of Canada, I was fascinated by this fact and wanted to learn more about the country and its indigenous people.
There are three universities in Winnipeg, of which the University of Winnipeg is the most central and most visited university. The semesters are divided into Fall, Winter and Spring Term.
To qualify as a full-time student, you have to attend three courses. The university has a really huge range of courses, all of which seemed very interesting. However, I wanted to take the chance to study in Canada, so I tried to choose courses that are very specific to Canada and deal with history, culture and literature. So I chose these courses: “Topics in Canadian Literature and Culture: Text and Images in Canadian Contemporary Art”, “History of the Aboriginal Peoples of the Northern Plains” and “Feminisms: Background and Fundamentals”. Although three courses don’t seem like much at first, the effort per course is higher than at a German university, as you have to hand in many essays and other tasks within the semester. However, so many individual notes can be collected.
The atmosphere in the courses was always great: the lecturers were all very helpful and friendly, the other students were often very accommodating to international students.
The “International Students’ Services” has a wide range of offers that have helped international students to quickly integrate into new university life and to find their way around the city of Winnipeg. Before the beginning of the semester, for example, there was an “Orientation Day” where the various departments of the university were presented, important contact information was given and much more. Furthermore, during the semester the opportunity was given to take part in a “Meet & Greet Dinner”, to take part in “Cookies & Conversation” sessions and the monthly “Potlucks”, where every student should bring traditional dishes from their country.
Since I came to Canada with the intention of speaking as much English as possible and getting to know as much of the culture as possible, I decided to stay with a host family. After a few initial difficulties, I finally found the right family that made my semester abroad something very special.
In Winnipeg you can get around relatively well by bus, but the city was also very easy to travel through and explore by bike. Winnipeg looks very large at first, but it is actually the perfect size to find your way around. It doesn’t seem like a very beautiful city straight away, but Winnipeg has so much to offer, especially in terms of culture, that you quickly come to love the city. We highly recommend a visit to the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, which presents a large selection of ballets and is fascinating every time. The ballet “The Nutcracker” has become a tradition in Winnipeg and is performed every December just before Christmas.
I also found the various museums in Winnipeg interesting, with something for everyone. In the “Winnipeg Art Gallery” the art of the native people of Canada could be admired, in the “Manitoba Museum” a lot can be learned about the history. The “Human Rights Museum” was also very impressive.
Winnipeg’s francophone district “Saint-Boniface” is also worth a visit, because this is where the city was created, so to speak. The “St. Boniface Cathedral ”and the“ St. Boniface Museum ”is also an interesting place to find out more about how Winnipeg came into being.
If you want to take a leisurely stroll, enjoy a delicious smoothie or a cupcake, a visit to “The Forks” and the neighborhoods “Exchange District” and “Osborne Village” are a must.
When thinking of Canada, it is inevitable not to think of the beautiful natural landscapes. It is therefore highly recommended that you explore Canada beyond your stay in Winnipeg and get an impression of the size and diversity of the country. Before I arrived in Winnipeg at the end of August, I was traveling east with my sister and we were able to explore Toronto, Niagara Falls, Québec, Montréal, etc. An experience that I will never forget is my trip to Churchill during the semester. Winnipeg is the ideal starting point to take a little trip to the north and observe polar bears. It’s very expensive, but it’s so very worth it!! Since I was sure about this trip from the start, I had saved more money because of it. In December, after the semester ended early for me, I spent another week on the west coast in Victoria and Vancouver.
The semester abroad overall was a time full of new experiences, acquaintances and adventures. There is so much to discover that a semester is already pretty close. If you want to try out the different options, it really pays to save a lot beforehand in order to be open to every experience. That should always be the motto: Be open to everything and take every opportunity that presents itself with you!