In last year September, I was exchanged to Memorial University of Newfoundland for one semester. I spent unforgettable time there. It is really a wonderful experience, people there are very friendly.
Following are some information that may be helpful.
This university is located in St. John’s, the capital city of Newfoundland and Labrador province. Newfoundland is an island. Surrounded by ocean, it is quite windy there. Sometimes, wind speed can reach 17m/s, don’t forget to take warm clothes. Normally, in the mid of November, there will start to snow. The average temperature in November is around 2 C°, and in December, the temperature is around –4 C°, but you may feel much lower than – 4 C° due to the strong wind.
Although it is located in a capital city, the public transportation is not very convenient because many people have their own cars. On weekdays, bus comes every 30 minutes from 5:30 until midnight, and on weekends, bus comes every 60 minutes from 6:00 to 19:00. The fare of bus transportation is CAD $2.2 (around €1.5) per time, 10 times bus pass is CAD $20 (€ 14.3), monthly bus pass is CAD $70 (€55.15) and semester bus pass is CAD $245 (€ 175.5). Therefore, it is better to live near campus or bus stop and grocery stores. Every bus has its schedule, check the schedule before you plan to take a bus to somewhere. You can download an app which called “m-Mobile” in you mobile phone.
In St. John’s, there are many independent houses, and few apartments. Most students share independent houses with others. The price for renting goes from CAD $400 to $600 (€286.55-€429.83). It depends on the location and the time you book it. Normally, the earlier you book it, the less you pay for the rent. You can find housing information on a practical and useful website called “Kijiji.ca” ( http://www.kijiji.ca/h-st-johns/1700113) There is not only housing information, but also “buy and sell”, “jobs”, “vacation service” etc. When you look for a house in this website, you may see “P.O.U”, this means “Pay your Own Utilities”. Thus, you need to pay attention to whether the rent includes everything and whether the room is furnished or not.
- Living expenses:
Food there is a little bit more expensive than in France, but not that much. In general, it may cost you approximately CAD $250 to CAD $ 400 (€179.1-€286.55) on food and other necessary daily products per month. There are some 24h open supermarkets, pharmacy and convenience stores. Usually, supermarkets, pharmacy, and shopping malls are open from 8:00 to 22:00 on Monday to Saturday. On Sunday, they are open from 9:00 to 18:00.
The price tag on the products is the price without tax. Don’t forget to add the the 13% tax to get the final price. This rule suits to most situation, except for some uncooked food. Besides, when you go to a restaurant, except fast food restaurants, a tip of 10%-15% of your consumption is generally given to the waiter or waitress.
Downtown is near the harbor, and you can then see some huge ships there. There are also many mountains and trails. On some mountain tops, you can see the ocean and enjoy the scenery, it is a good place for hiking lovers. The stadium of the school is a good choice if you feel too cold to do exercise outdoor. If you want to play basketball or badminton in the indoor court, you have to make a reservation first. You can borrow the equipment in the stadium. Bring a locker to the stadium so you can lock your outwears in the closet.
- School Life
The teaching way in Memorial University of Newfoundland is different from GEM. As a graduate, you also need to buy textbooks. The brand new textbooks are very expensive, the price go from CAD $130 to CAD $200 (€92.7-€143.5). But you can buy a second-hand one or an electronic edition. They are cheaper than brand new hardcopy ones. There are two mid-term exams and one final exam. However, for some courses, there may have no final exam but a paper or a group project. Each lecture lasts 75 minutes. The latest lecture can be ended at 21:30. It is better to pay attention to deadline and arrange your time well accordingly, so you can do a good job.
The International Student Advice of the university and each faculties’ Students’ Union will organize some activities, like hiking, Halloween party, Thanksgiving dinner etc. They will sent an e-mail to you or post a flyer in bulletin boards.
It is very safe there, you don’t need to worry too much to walk outside even at night.
MUN is a good university, you will improve yourself through this exchange.