Vishwa Bhayani, 20
I landed in Halifax in September 2012. It was my first time here and I was blown away by how cold it was, especially since I have lived in both India and Oman, where 40° to 50° C is considered normal. After a half-hour ride in a taxi arranged by the SMU International Centre (one of the many amazing services it offers), I reached the small and compact, yet absolutely beautiful campus of Saint Mary’s University. In the next few weeks, I was delighted to see how friendly everyone was and how close-knit the on-campus community was. SMU is a relatively small university with around 7,000 students, which means you are sure to meet someone you know, no matter where you go.
That brings me to my next-most-favourite thing about SMU: Almost all the buildings are interconnected, which means you do not have to walk in the cold too much (if at all) in the winter. You can get from one end of the campus to the other in about 10 minutes, at most. That being said, the smaller size is in no way a disadvantage in any area—academic, professional, as well as extracurricular. Be it career services, financial-aid services, student services, or anything else you might need, SMU offers outstanding attention in every field.
Initially, I had inhibitions about such a small university that didn’t score very high in world rankings. But now I can say with absolute conviction that SMU is one of the best universities around, regardless. It represents a small community that is passionate, committed and driven toward excellence in everything.
SMU has more than 70 student societies on campus. Every year, some new ones are ratified by the Saint Mary’s University Students Association. In addition to those, there are many external organizations that allow SMU students to explore the world: language immersion programs, international volunteering programs, exchanges, conferences, and so on. Further, the Sobey School Business Development Centre is probably one of the best around and supports budding entrepreneurs in every possible way, regardless of their fields of study.
SMU is located in the south end of Halifax, a 10-minute bus ride from downtown Halifax, the city’s main commercial street, and two grocery stores. It’s also a 10-minute walk from the stunning Point Pleasant Park. Beyond all of this, Halifax offers a variety of entertainment options, from peaceful hideouts for people who just need to relax, to the most upbeat and vibrant restaurants, pubs and clubs for those who thrive on fun and activity. The Seaport Farmers’ Market is one of the most popular places in the city, and supports the growing trend of buying local. There is also Pier 21 and the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic for the history buffs.
Check out DestinationHalifax.ca’s blog to find out what’s going on in the city.