Canada vs. Germany: 7 Differences in the Student Life

Flag-Pins-Canada-GermanyMy time here in Canada is slowly but steadily coming to an end. Only two weeks left until I’ll be leaving Victoria and going on some travels before heading back to Germany.

However, this also means that I can confidently say that I truly experienced the Canadian and the German student life.

Therefore, I thought it’s time to bring you the ultimate list of differences between going to university in the Great North and studying in my home country across the pond.

1. It’s called “school”, not “uni.”

I really had to get used to this. In the beginning, I always said things like “yeah, I’m just heading to uni” and got some pretty weird looks for that because, well, you would say “school.”

In Germany, on the other hand, you shouldn’t dare to tell a university student that he’s going to school because naha! School’s over, it’s uni time now! That’s where the grown-ups go!

textbooks2. Super. Expensive. Textbooks.

On top of tuition fees. I don’t know what to tell you guys other than… I am so sorry for you.

I feel a bit bad when comparing that to the fees we pay in Germany because, yeah, it’s basically… free. Here. I said it.

3. UVic has Macs. A lot of Macs.

They are everywhere, on university and on student side! It might be the tuition fees that buy them for the former but who’s buying them for the students? Do they buy them themselves? Tell me, please.

It’s definitely a fascinating, but for me rare, view when you get up to give a presentation and stare at a classroom full of silver shiny rectangles.

4. The self-evidence/casualness of Google Docs.

Everyone’s just like “I’ll start a Google Doc for that, no worries.” Before I came here, I didn’t even know that the silly YouTube account I created when I was 13 could do this for me!


water station

Water stations around campus

And special fountains to fill up your bottle. THIS IS SO AMAZING! It makes it so easy: You don’t have to buy bottled water and help the environment at the same time. Or you just bring your reusable mug and favourite tea to school to save some dollars.

In Germany, you can easily drink the tap water as well but it’s not as conveniently accessible as it is here in Canada. Also, you definitely can’t get free hot water at the campus coffee shops. Or can you? I have to say, I simply never tried because it is so uncommon.

6. Classes include actual work during the semester.

It makes the classes more hands-on, yes, because you immediately apply in assignments what you just learned in the lecture, but, well… it’s work.

My workload in Germany was a walk in the park compared to this and mostly consisted of some reading plus a final exam. That’s it. And I would still complain about how this is too much, ha. I really learned to appreciate the German student life here.

7. The university is a real community.

IMG_2083You could spend your whole day, your whole life on campus: living, learning and free time activities in the form of clubs or even a pub – everything is happening at the university.

In Germany, we don’t have such an extensive club culture, apart from a gym/sports, and the community feeling on campus is far from being as strong as UVic’s. It feels like it’s merely a place to attend classes and study, while the campus here feels like a place to live.

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4 Responses

  1. Aazim Lakhani says:

    Thank you Anna … It’s a well written post … I’ll b joining UVic in Fall 16 & would like to know abt the culture as much as I can …

  2. Alicja says:

    This post is really great! It’s very interesting to get to know the cultural differences. I come from Poland and honestly, I’ve never realized this before I read this acrticle 🙂

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