Study Abroad in Canada

Sofia Vella – BSc (Hons) Criminology

My names Sofia and I’m a third-year criminology student at Surrey University. I undertook my study abroad in Brock University in St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada. Studying abroad was an incredible experience and something I will never get to do again. It taught me so much about myself and the culture of other countries. Partaking in this allowed me to go outside of my comfort zone and make friends with people who I would never have the chance to meet before.

Being in St. Catharine’s meant that I got to visit really cool places like Florida, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto, Niagara Falls and even New York at Christmas. As I have never been to North America before this was a must for me and as the Falls is only 15 minutes from the university, it’s so close and accessible! Furthermore, Toronto is only an hour drive away and I would definitely recommend visiting. I went to a raptors game which was so much fun and worth every penny. 

In Canada, you are able to take minor electives which don’t necessarily relate to your course but interest you. This was exciting as it allowed me to try new things where I did a psychology, law and sports course and people I know did a wine tasting course or a recreational course. The assignments are also different as instead of just two assignments worth 50/50, there are more assignments worth lower percentages so if you don’t do so well in one you can make it up. You also get marked for participation and attendance. 

I would 100% recommend joining a club or a sport as this is where I was able to meet most of my friends. It allows you to take part in lots of socials and expand your friendship group and do things you wouldn’t normally do. I also was lucky enough to do competitions and overnight stays with my team which allowed us to bond and experience new things. Being British definitely helps making friends and speaking to people as most Canadians love the British accent. I would suggest being open minded and saying yes to every plan as until its over you don’t realise how quick the 8 months goes and you regret saying no to a night out or bowling with your friends. You can also watch other sporting games such as volleyball and basketball and it’s a really fun environment especially because Brock is ranked one of the highest in Canada for these. 

There is a study abroad organisation where students at Brock University create events for people to mingle and make friends. Some of the events they organised while I was there was wine tasting, going to a maple farm, a trip to Niagara Falls and an ice hockey game. These were super fun and allowed me to meet other people in the same boat as me from multiple different countries such as Sweden, The Bahamas and Ecuador.  

My main challenge was getting from the airport to the university and vice versa. When I went for the first time, I had no idea how to get from the airport to the university. I was unaware of the FLIX and Mega buses available, however, these buses don’t travel late at night so if you have an evening flight you may want to consider getting an Uber or a hotel in Toronto.

Overall, my trip to Canada was incredible and something I wish I could do again. I cannot emphasise enough to people to partake in this experience!