ISOIS ▸ Final reports

Host country:
Host institution:
Mobility type:
Program:
Faculty:
Ac. year:
Semesters:
Study level:
Language filled in:

Brock University

Canada 2018/2019 Partner universities

Personal data
Mobility type:
study

Faculty at MU:
Faculty of Education

Field of study:
English Language for Education

Level of study during period of placement:
Bachelor

Language used:
English

Summer/winter school?:
no

Period of studies:
spring 2019

Period of placement (from-to):
2019-01-07 - 2019-04-24

Number of months:
4.00

Activities before my departure abroad
Where can information be found about courses taught at the foreign school?:
At Brock website, the guide to choosing them will be sent by Brock's International Office.

Which documents were needed for acceptance at the foreign university?:
Learning agreement, TOEFL results, Transcript of Records

How far ahead did you have to organise your acceptance?:
I went through my interview in July 2018 and got the confirmation in September. I arrived to Canada on January 3rd.

Did you need a visa?:
no

Documents and materials needed for a visa:

Length of wait for visa:

Fee for the visa:

Studies
Did you have a Learning Agreement signed before your departure?:
yes

If not, why not?:

Before your departure did you know how your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
Yes.

During your stay did you change your Learning Agreement?:
Yes.

When and how did course registration take place? Are there any restrictions? Possibilities of making changes?:
Registration took place from December and you can make changes until the 2nd week of the semester. Some of the subjects require prerequisites, you will need to send your Transcript of records to the International Office advisors, but be careful in your judgments of the course content, because the work will be more demanding than at home university. 4 courses are enough and recommended by the International Office.

Did you take any examinations at the foreign school?:
Yes, final exams from History of Western Science from Aristotle to Newton 3h, and Syntax 2h. Mid-term and final exams from Historical Perspectives on Women were in form of take-home 7 pages standard academic papers.

Does the school use the ECTS system?:
no

If not then explain how the credits there were recalculated into ECTS:
One semester's worth was calculated as 0.5 credit x 6ECTS, so undertaking 4 courses = 24 ECTS.

Describe the teaching methods (theory, practical and projects) and assessment of students:
Courses required readings around 40 pages per course per week. Some projects and in-class group assignments that were a good way to wrap up the focus, leading a seminar for 20-40 minutes, group presentation.

Quality of teaching in comparison with home school:
It is quite incomparable because the two education systems are so different. Definitely, the impact is on students to participate in discussions which is marked every class and and then a participation mark is counted. The workload is twice bigger than at home university and almost every class require preparation either in form of reading and noting or analyticly solving problems.

How did you receive study materials?:
It was a bit difficult because most of the teachers require purchasing one's own copie from the Campus Store and the range is from 20-80 dollars per book. Luckily the library is well equpped and every teacher puts one copy of each required reading "on 3h reserve" so that students can borrow it for such a short time and let other acess it. Some of the readings are also made available throguh ARES platform, where teachers upload them.

Can you recommend an interesting course/subject/teacher?:
Robyn Bourgeois - historical perspectives on women syntax by Cheng - it is a struggle, but it is worth it

How well is the school library equipped?:
Very, very well. It's 10 floors with studying space, various study rooms and computer bases.

Availability of computers, internet access, level of software needed, requirements on notebook:
There are a lot of computer labs in the library and around the school. Most of the students carry their notebooks- useful on lectures but not really on seminars

Options from printing and copying:
There are printers in the library - you can set everything from your computer and just tap the card right on the printer, or connect to your Brock account on the computers there.

Does the foreign school/student organisation arrange special events for exchange students?:
yes

If yes then what?:
Yes, for example, Orientation Day, Niagara on the Lake trip, Niagara Falls trip.

How would you assess your integration with the local students (evaluation like in school from 1 to 5 with 1 as highest):
3

or describe in your own words:

Practical questions on your placement
Where did you live?:
In a house rented by 6 students in Thorold, 5 minutes by bus to Brock, 40 by walk on the highway.

Cost of accommodation - monthly:
465 USD

Additional comments to the price of accommodation (as to what the price includes):
The rent was 455 CAD and in included a single room, all bills, wifi. Didn't include food.

Describe the equipment. Tips for future students – what should they bring with them?:
Unfortunately the room had only a bed, desk and a chair, so it was necessary to buy a lamp ( second-hand 10 bucks) and as I didn't have money I improvised with making furniture from boxes or unused stuff at home. Definitely take a transformer for CANADIAN plugs.

How and how far ahead should accommodation be organised?:
I dealt it in the end of October, but I am sure it can be as late as December

What are the catering options?:
There is a lot of fastfood points such McDonalds, Tim Hortons, and other scattered pretty much around the campus.

What are the rough costs of groceries (compare with Czech prices):
The cheapest store can be Food Basics. generally speaking bread 2-4 dollars, butter 5 dollars, milk, 3-4 dollars, veggies 3-8 dollars, cereal 4-5 dollars, you can check some prices on line, local supermarkets are : Zehr's, Food Basics, Walmart, Sobey's, and a cheap store with a lot of things that you might need for stuying, room, cleaning etc, can be found in Dollorama, also small quantities of cheap sweets.

Transport to location of placement:
By MegaBus from Toronto tickets around 20 bucks one way

Rough prices for transportation:
students are required to purchase a bus pass that will be in the form of a little sticker given during the Orientation Day. It was around 230 CAD

Tips for purchasing cheap tickets and other recommendations:
Student card works everywhere around Niagara Region or at least St. Catharines and surrounding municipalities.

What are the local transport options (public transport, cycling, on foot, rough prices):
Buses stop runnin around 11:30 PM and don't start again until 6-7 am, you can check it on few apps.

What kind of formalities have to be arranged before arrival, for example residence permit?:
No, and we can't get a student permit as it's a 4 month stay, and therefore we can't work even on campus.

What health insurance did you use? (rough price, advantages, disadvantages, is it necessary to arrange insurance at the university other than your home (Czech) insurance?):
Brock required to purchase health insurance there for about 200 bucks

Did you have any experience with medical treatment abroad?:
yes, once I was sick and went to so called ' walk in clinic' on campus where after around an hour wait a doctor saw me.

Did you work during your studies?:
No it is not allowed for visitors

What are the conditions for working for MU students?:
Theoretically purchasing a student permit ( 150 CAD)would allow one to work on campus only, but the immigration officer told me that it's very unusual to issue it for students staying shorter than 6 months.

Tips for free-time activities:
trips and events organised by the International Centre, using the sport's complex. Honestly, in the winter there is not much to do there, so studying is your best option.
Reading Week is a winter week break often used to travel. International Center organizes a 3 days trip to Quebec or you can organize something on your own.

Financial support and expenses
Total grant from Centre for International Cooperation:
700000 CZK

Monthly grant in CZK:
17500 CZK

Number of supported months:
3,5

Total number of months:
4

What other sources did you make use of to finance your placement?:
I worked before leaving to Canada but spent all the money on ticket one way, 1st rent, and Brock fees for buss pass and health care. Then I borrowed money from my partner.

If you received another grant, state which and how much in CZK:
I got a scholarship from PDF Muni 60.000 czk - 80% before and 20% later.

 
Total fees associated with enrolment at the university:
0 CAD

a/ amount of enrolment fee:
0 CAD

b/ amount of tuition fees:
0 CAD

c/ amount of other fees (which):
0 CAD

 
What was your average monthly expenditure?:
755 CAD

a/ of which for accommodation:
455 CAD

b/ of which for catering:
250 CAD

c/ travel and recreation:
100 CAD

Any comments to the average monthly expenditure:
The cheapest store is Food Basics, on Tuesdays, there is a 10 % discount for students at Zehrs.

Recognition of foreign studies at the home faculty
How many credits did you gain during your studies (in the system of the foreign school)?:
2

How many ECTS credits were recognised at MU?:
24

Did you know in advance which of your courses would be recognised by your home faculty?:
Yes.

What problems did you have with recognition?:
None.

Overall assessment
Assessment of personal benefit (1 = excellent):
1

Assessment of academic benefit (1 = excellent):
1

Evaluate the information and support provided by the foreign school (1 = excellent):
1

Did you encounter any serious problems during your stay:
I didn't get the money until 18th January and 1st of February, so better save up enough not to worry about finances, because the school can be demanding and time-consuming.

What would you recommend to take with you:
Not too many things, it's only a few months and you'd better find out whether your room is furnished and bed linens provided. I had to buy a lamp, pillow, hangers etc.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a positive way:
A huge library, access to study rooms, or study corners scattered pretty much everywhere. Very nice sports complex and some classes for free running on daily basis, nice swimming pool, indoor track. Some events organized for international students every few weeks, even a trip to Quebec.
School was demanding but great and touching many topics not really present in Czech education.

What most surprised you at the partner university in a negative way:
not at university but it was difficult to not be able to work, but rely on money from scholarships. Also, in St. Catherines the buses running only until 11:30 without a nice bus, quite expensive Uber.

Further comments: