Re: [webdesign-552] Advices for a future exchange student

From: Steve
Sent on: Monday, April 30, 2012 3:14 PM
Hi Igor,

I thought I'd chime in because live in Ottawa and previously lived in Halifax during my twenties and early thirties (I still have family there). I also studied business and computer science at Dalhousie (a long time ago) and I work with startups including some spun out of uOttawa. In addition to what has already been written, here are some incremental thoughts. Ten or fifteen years ago the tech startup scene in Halifax was very modest. This has improved but does not compare to Ottawa IMO, either in absolute size or in proportion to the overall employment/population. Ottawa does have a very vibrant RoR community and Tobias Leutke, co-founder of Shopify and one of the original core team that lead RoR, is based here.  You might want to connect with people at

You are coming from Rio and everything here is a much smaller scale. Greater Ottawa is about a million people. Halifax is about a third of that size. However Halifax seems to have a younger, more free spirited vibe and draws people from across the Atlantic Canada region. The number of students as a % of the downtown population is much greater in Halifax than in Ottawa. Finally, I should say that living in Ottawa I still miss the ocean. Believe it or not, there is a very avid year round surfing community in Nova Scotia and it you are a sailer, there is no comparison. Both Ottawa and Halifax are great cities if you like to explore nature, but our river is no replacement for the Atlantic Ocean. 

Good luck with your next steps where ever you land.


On Sun, Apr 29, 2012 at 12:17 PM, Igor Santos <[address removed]> wrote:

I'm a PHP/Ruby developer from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and I'm applying for a one-year exchange program for undergraduate studies. I have to opt between Canada and Australia.
I'm currently in the second half of my Information Systems course, and I'm looking to improve my abilities with interfaces, web technologies, performance and, secondly, project management.

I'm a little bit inclined to choose Canada, but I'm collecting some opinions at this time. If I choose Canada and get approved, I'll be sent to one of these four institutions: Laval (that's unlikely, since I'm applying for english classes) Alberta, Dalhousie and Ottawa.
The program chooses the university based on my current course and needs; I've read a little bit about them, and I think I would be sent to Dalhousie (Halifax) or Ottawa.

What do you think/know about those cities and universities? And how about their courses?
Any, ANY information would be sooo appreciated (:

Thanks in advance for your attention!

Igor Santos
PHP / Ruby Developer

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