Home City and Country: Graz, Austria (Österreich)
How did you hear about UNB Saint John? It is a partner university of my home university, so basically I heard about it when I did online research to pick a university to apply for.
What is your Major/Degree? Biology (with focus on Botany)
When did you arrive in Canada? August 25th
Languages spoken? I speak German, English and a little Spanish.
Why did you come to Canada? I have been to Canada before and I liked that people are open-minded to different cultures and because of the stunning nature Canada has to offer.
What was the hardest thing for you when you arrived in Canada? The hardest thing for me was getting my cell phone to work (but it wasn’t that bad).
Give a few examples of how Canada is different from your home country.
Traffic: Very different to me is that almost everyone has a car and as a result of that there are not that many sidewalks. In my home town most students would take their bike to get to places (school, work, shopping).
Taxes: In Austria all prices you see, either in a supermarket or in a coffee shop, have everything included. The price you see is the amount you will be paying in the end.
People: Canadians are very outgoing compared to people from Austria. Here people would talk to you just because you’re standing next to them at the bus stop.
Groceries: Lots of things come in very big sizes and sometimes in very funny packings like milk in a bag. In Austria you can only buy milk in one-liter-cartons.
Alcohol & Cigarettes: In Austria you can buy alcohol and cigarettes in every gas station and there are still restaurants, bars etc. where you can smoke inside. Teenagers, who are 16 years old are allowed to drink (beer and wine) and smoke cigarettes.
Has anything surprised you about Canada? I was actually surprised by Tim Hortons. On the internet lots of people make fun of Canadians because they love Tim Hortons so much. And I must confess, I was a little suspicious, but now that I’ve tried it I can really see why people like it!
So far, what is the best thing about Canada? For me, as a Biology major, the best thing about Canada is its breathtaking nature. I am very impressed by all the lakes, woods and wild life. And it is great that there are so many trails for everyone to enjoy.
What do you find different about studying in a Canadian University? Compared to my school, classes are smaller here and students have more contact with their professor. In Austria you wouldn’t get homework in a lecture but in a lab. Students don’t have to attend lectures at all; they just need to pass the exam in the end.
So far, what is your most memorable experience at UNB Saint John? I find that everywhere you go on campus people will be friendly and helpful. This is a great and welcoming feeling when you’re coming to different country, where you know anyone in the beginning.
What is your favourite Canadian food? Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup. Love it!
What foods do you miss the most? Pumpkin seed oil. In the region I come from, farmers grow a special kind of pumpkins. When the pumpkins are ripe, the seeds get harvested, roasted and cold pressed. The product given in the end is dark green oil, which smells nutty and has a great taste. People in Styria would put it over their salad (each kind) and combine it with apple cider vinegar.
Tell us something that people do not know about you. I love to cook and to bake. Preferably I make everything from scratch for example bread, jam and granola. High quality food and its preparation is my biggest passion!
Do you have any advice for future students interested in doing an international experience? Go for it! You will learn so many things and get to make a lot of friends.