Nanaimo, Canada: “Explore. Discover. Excel.” (by Benita)

Hey there! My name is Benita and I’m from the Macromedia in Stuttgart. I’m spending my semester abroad in Nanaimo, a little town on Vancouver Island in Canada, which I can finance with the help of the BWS. I already have so much to talk about, but I try to mention only the important and very interesting things.

The adventure began at the airport of Frankfurt. After a 10 hours flight, I finally arrived in Vancouver. As soon as I saw the city, I was overwhelmed by how big it was and the excitement grew rapidly. Before going on the island, I spend one week visiting Vancouver. It was really worth it. There is so much to see, and I would recommend everyone to discover this city before the semester at the university starts.

Vancouver has its own flair and the city offers many different districts to discover. From wild nature at the Stanley Park to high Skyscrapers in Downtown and the Waterfront with the beautiful view of the skyline, Vancouver is a truly remarkable city. At first, I thought that the city wasn’t that different to other big cities that I have already visited in Europe, but after the first few days and a heavy jetlag I realized a clear difference in the serenity of the atmosphere and the behaviour of the people. People are standing in a straight queue to get into the bus or the Skytrain, the other person is saying “sorry” when you are accidently bumping into him/her, if there is a misunderstanding because of a language barrier they will be more than happy to help you. These habits of most of the people I met in my last few days are making the pleasant atmosphere that you are feeling and experiencing everywhere.

Vancouver Downtown

There are also many different things to do around Vancouver, if you are not that interested in the city life. For example, there is the Capilano bridge, a suspension bridge, with an incredible view and beautiful nature. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t that good and I had to leave Vancouver without seeing it, but I already planned my second trip to this amazing city in October, where I hopefully won’t miss it again.

Skyline of Vancouver

Vancouver Island is in front of Vancouver and you need to take a ferry to get to the harbour of Nanaimo. On the ferry, my friend and I met a very kind older couple and they offered us, to take us along in their pick-up truck to our apartment for the next four months. We checked in and met our roommate, another Macromedia student from Hamburg. Our apartment is ten minutes away from the university. So, the next day, we could walk to the “orientation day”, where we met the other international students from all over the world and of course the other Macromedia students from Germany. Nearly a third of all the students were Germans, so it was very tempting to speak German. On that day we had different presentations about activities we can join while we are in Nanaimo and there was a guided tour around the campus.

The University cannot be compared with the campus of Macromedia in its size. It is spread out on a hill, so you need to walk up and downstairs nearly all the time you want to go to another building. The slogan, which you can read nearly everywhere is called: “Explore. Discover. Excel.”. Another important topic at the university is: building new friendship with people from all over the world. It is supported in many ways.

The courses at the VIU are a little bit different from the courses at the Macromedia. There are different assignments you need to do during the semester and there are many readings with corresponding quizzes at the beginning of each course. There is a final exam in most of the courses at the end of the semester, but also a Midterm exam in the middle of it. I think that this system of teaching is very effective, because you learn even more if you are preparing yourself constantly for any quiz or the Midterms.

Westwood Lake, Nanaimo

In Nanaimo itself are many different things to do and I fell in love with this town. Last week, we went whale watching. We even saw an Orca family and had much fun on the speed boat, because of the beautiful nature around us and the animals we saw on our way to the whales. There is also a pretty harbour and different parks to visit. We also bought bicycles to be more mobile around the city, because the public transport isn’t that good.

The university offers also many tours and trips at the weekend. It is an advantage for me, because I can get to know the island better for little money. Two days ago, for example we visited the city Victoria in the south of Vancouver Island. It was incredibly beautiful and a good opportunity to go shopping and have a look at the oldest Chinatown of Canada.

I’m just at the beginning of my time here in Canada, but I already saw and experienced great things and met fantastic people. I’m looking forward to everything which is coming next. I will write about it in my next blog.

Till then a lot of greetings here from Canada!

Benita Montag (Media- and Communication Management)