At that time I chose Saint Mary’s University because the registration system was simple and straightforward and you didn’t have to submit anything other than a transcript of records (no Toefl test and no letter of motivation). I got an acceptance very early and all important documents were sent to me by the university. All you had to do was look for accommodation or apply for a dorm room and book the flight.
VERY IMPORTANT for the flight: The semester starts on September 1st and ends on November 30th. one year, then the exam phase takes place. So it can be (and it was also in my case) that you will be ready in early or mid-December. So, if possible, you should book a flight on which the return date can still be set or fly back shortly before Christmas (if you don’t want to travel, etc.) to avoid expensive rebooking.
I applied for a place in a dormitory at the accommodation. There are three different options and I have chosen a place in the Rice Residence. There are always four students living here in a small apartment with a kitchenette, living room and bathroom. Two students always share a double room (preferences such as a German-speaking or international roommate are taken into account in the application). I made a conscious decision to have international roommates so that I can improve my English and I was very lucky and lived with extremely nice and friendly girls (two Chinese women and one South Korean woman). The advantage of Rice is that you can cook yourself and don’t have to take the meal plan (a lot of fast food and not exactly varied).
The university is manageable and very well equipped. The rooms are pleasantly small and air-conditioned (sometimes a bit too much for my taste). It also offers its own fitness studio that you can use for free (both fitness equipment and fitness courses), enough shops for coffee and small and large snacks, two hairdressing salons and a shop for books and paperwork. The books are very expensive, so you should clarify in advance whether you really need a book for the course and possibly buy a used one (but they sell out quickly), share the costs with other course participants or buy a new book and sell it it is returned to the bookstore at the end of the semester (you get half of it reimbursed in some cases, but only a small remaining amount in some cases).
The courses are a bit school-heavy, so a lot of homework (online tests and assignments) and intermediate tests (midterm) and finally the final exam. In some courses there are also group projects. I had informed myself in advance at my examination office whether my courses would be credited and had accordingly registered for the courses before the semester. Your website gives enough help to register successfully. However, it is not a problem to swap courses on site. The staff at the university are extremely friendly and pull out all the stops to help (that would never happen here in Germany!). In conclusion, it can be said that you can achieve good grades with less effort than in Germany.
Halifax itself is not a beautiful city, but you have a small shopping street with a few shops, enough pubs for a beer and enough clubs to party in the evening. Two larger shopping centers are also very easy to reach by bus.
So you should take the opportunity to visit the surrounding cities. At the beginning (where the weather was still nice) we made a trip to the island of Cape Breton. We rented the cars from Enterprise (cheapest provider, but take care of them in good time, because they are always booked out quickly) and slept in a super cute hostel (Bear on the Lake). With a national park and the famous Carbot Trail it is definitely worth the trip. Mahoma Bay and Lunenburg are also worth seeing. It should be said at this point that the International Office also organizes some trips and provides information about trips from other tour operators, so there are plenty of options. I also made a trip to Toronto and Montreal. Toronto is really a city worth seeing (CN Tower, Niagara falls, shopping center and and and), you should definitely visit. In Montreal, however, I was a bit disappointed, which may also have been due to the weather (knee-high snow and wet and cold weather). Domestic flights in Canada are not quite as cheap as flights to the USA.
The events held by the International Office keep you informed about everything you need to know and you can quickly connect with people (so don’t be afraid of driving alone). It is therefore advisable to register for the introductory events. And as a German you are never alone for long, because quite a few Germans go to the SMU every semester.
Finally, a note on costs: Such a semester abroad is not exactly cheap. So you should try to apply for a Auslandsbafög. That helps you a lot, especially because of the tuition fees.
In conclusion, I would like to say that I would always go to the SMU in Halifax, because my semester abroad was a unique experience that I would not want to miss.