Université Sainte-Anne: Student life on campus
An insider’s guide to the best place to live, campus food and more
Emily Fisher, 22: English and French
Why did you choose Sainte-Anne?
A primary schoolteacher with whom I’d stayed in touch turned my attention to the school in rural Clare, on Nova Scotia’s Acadian shore. She had attended the university some years before, and thought its reputable French immersion program would be of keen interest to me. I’d taken French immersion since I was five, and it made sense to me to continue my studies in French. When the time came to apply for university, I took a risk by applying only to Sainte-Anne. The acceptance letter I got in the mail a few weeks later marked the start of an inoubliable four years.
How do you find the school’s administration?
The super-small and diverse student population and all-immersive environment (pre- and, I hope, post-pandemic) means you can get to know everyone by name, and you’ll see most of them in class. Not every class is offered every year, and some mandatory courses can be scheduled at the same time, so make sure to take the classes when they’re offered. If there happens to be a conflict, though, talk to the necessary department heads. They’re more than willing to help you find solutions.
What do you think of your professors?
Sainte-Anne’s approachable, compassionate and engaging professors manage to turn boring, learn-this-material lectures into exciting and interesting discussions. Teachers and students are on a first-name basis in the mostly small classes. Put the effort into your studies, ask lots of questions, and your professors will help you succeed.
Do you participate in extracurricular activities?
Once you’ve been accepted, ask to be added to the Activités socioculturelles et sportives de l’Université Sainte-Anne Facebook page to keep up on campus activities and events. If you’re not so into extracurriculars, you can walk the trails in the Petit Bois (the woods around campus), feed the chickadees and have campfires with friends. The campus offers its own seaside charm—it sits along the scenic shore of St. Marys Bay, framing sunsets that you can enjoy from, say, the swing by the observatory on Lighthouse Road. (It gets windy and cold off the water, though, so bring a jacket.)
What is off-campus life like in Clare?
Clare is as rural as an area three hours from Halifax can get. The campus bus takes students to Yarmouth every now and again, but shack-wackiness can creep up on students who don’t drive. If you have wheels or can catch a ride with a friend, though, there are a few places you should visit at least once. Sip Café is about a 15-minute drive from the university; its ambiance and private study space attract students daily. In the warmer months, the long stretch of Mavillette Beach or Smugglers Cove are perfect spots to blow the study-stink off yourself.
Best place to live: If you’re car-less, your best bet is living on campus
Best place to study: If you prefer silence, the library is great. But the Castelet (open 24/7) and the student-run café Bric à Brac are much better for group projects and bavarder.
Best campus events: Retrouvailles is the annual homecoming event in November that starts with edge-of-your-seat volleyball games and typically ends with an all-nighter. Bal de Noël, the next month, sees staff and students dress to impress and enjoy a nice dinner at the meal hall. There’s a party at the Château afterwards, so bring your dancing shoes!
Best bar for hanging out: You can’t go wrong with the Château—it’s right on campus. Seaside Bowling Lanes and Lounge is hardly a five-minute drive from campus, and you can bowl and shoot the sea-breeze over some vodka-crans until the cows come home, though you’re far more likely to see chickens in Clare!
Best hangover breakfast: The Ptit Robicheau, a local roadside takeout stand about 10 minutes from campus
Weirdest tradition: Poissondredi, or Fish Friday. The meal hall welcomes students, staff and Clare locals to eat fish and chips.
Best place for a nap: If you’re cool with the possibility of other students seeing you drool, the sectional in the Castelet is très comfortable.