Saint Monica University: The American International University, prides itself for its international character. Designed as an international university, it is very friendly to people from early culture and nationality. It doesn’t discriminate in matters of race, national origin, creed, sexual orientation etc. This diversity is seen in both our faculty and staff, as well as our students. We, therefore, welcome you into SMU, no matter where you’re coming from. We currently have students, faculty, and staff from a total of 13 countries, which is impressive for a young African-based university.
Our tuition is quite affordable for students from all over the world, including developing countries. Life in Cameroon is also inexpensive, making an SMU education quite within reach of anyone. Here is your opportunity to earn an American education, without actually enduring the expense of going to the US. However, if you’re interested in actually going to America, then be rest assured that we’ll take care of that thanks to our partnerships with reputable universities in the US. We also have links with universities in Britain, India, and Russia, permitting students to experience a truly international university.
Our Admissions Office is ready to assist each international student to have a seamless transition into student life at SMU Buea. We assist you in getting a visa where required, providing you with pre-arrival information, picking you from your port of entry, and helping you find campus or out of campus accommodation as your preference may be.
Welcome to SMU! If you’re still to apply, don’t hesitate to do so and if you’ve already been granted admission, don’t hesitate to ask any questions.
International Students Admissions Officer
Before Your Arrival: Cameroon
Cameroon is a beautiful country, diverse in culture, welcoming and rich in natural and mineral resources and fondly referred to as “Africa in miniature.” The country has a population of about 21 million and a GDP of $25 billion. Cameroon is located at the crossroads of West and Central Africa bordering six countries, and has a seaport, opening it to trade through the Atlantic. French and English Languages are the official languages of Cameroon; the latter is widely spoken in the Southwestern part. Cameroon has its major cities, including capital, Yaoundé which is also the location for most diplomatic missions and several businesses.
Another major city in the country is Douala, fondly called the commercial capital of the country. Douala has a seaport, an international airport and is home to head offices of major businesses located in Cameroon. Then there is Bamenda, Garoua, Maroua, Buea and Limbe, with firms, and commercial activities alike.
The currency of Cameroon is Francs CFA, abbreviated as Frs (XAF). One US Dollar is usually around 500 Frs, considering uptick and downtick in foreign exchange markets. Banks in Cameroon have provided the possibility to accept MasterCard and VISA Debit cards. Credit cards might work, if proper notification is given to your issuing institution before leaving your country.
Cameroon serves African meals, then, has vendors that provide continental dishes, similar to what is obtainable anywhere in the world. There is rice, plantain, salad, yam, chicken, beef, tripe, fish, beans, etc. Cameroon has a youthful population, engaged in schools, mostly, and other sectors. Cameroon also loves soccer (football), music and has restaurants and shops to hangout.
Crime is not exactly rife in Cameroon, but it is necessary to be watchful; avoid night movements and, hide keep pricey materials in public places.
Cameroon has its dry and wet season. The wet season runs from around July to September, which is usually torrential. Average temperature of the country is around 25 – 30oC .
Before Your Arrival: The City of Buea
Buea, pronounced Bo-ya, is in the Southwestern part of Cameroon, where English is predominantly spoken and is home to Mount Cameroon – one of the biggest mountains in Africa. The historic City of Buea was the first capital of Cameroon under German colonial administration, as well as capital of the British Southern Cameroons. Today, it is the capital of the Southwest Region (one of the 10 regions of Cameroon).
The city has many institutions of higher learning, with Saint Monica University being amongst the most prominent. Young people are found everywhere, living, schooling and working.
Public transportation, like in other parts of Cameroon, in Buea is majorly through yellow cabs, with fare ranging from 100 – 200 Frs. At full capacity, three people sit behind while two passengers join the drivers at the front seat. There are also motorcycle-taxis that ride two to three people at the same time, for faster arrival across the city, including inner streets. Rickshaw or three wheelers aren’t popular in Buea.
The city is serene with most commercial activities taking place in Molyko, where the University of Buea is located. Here you’ll find the major commercial road of the city, with banks, offices of telecom firms, Western Union and other money transfer services, energy firms, food vendors, gas stations, insurance firms etc.
The city has a firm presence of the three telecommunications network in the country, MTN, Orange and Camtel, providing call and data services for subscribers. There are branches of international banks in Buea, with presence in other parts of Africa or other parts of the world, allowing cash transfers across countries.
There is also the mobile money service growing in use across Cameroon. It lets people transfer money from one place to another, between individuals and to also lodge cash locally.
Buea has hotels, then food shops where continental dishes can be eaten. Meals vary from 500 – 3000 Frs, with drinks like small bottled water, Coca-Cola, Fanta, and resident drinks, selling from around 250 Frs.
The roads in Buea are mostly tarred, then with bumps at certain intervals but portholes are rare. There are internet cafés & shops that sell consumables. Call credit is done by transfer from vendors, starting at 100 Frs to more than 10,000 Frs. Data subscription can also be possible as telecoms agent are spread and identified across Buea in branded colors.
There is the Pidgin English (the koine used across the streets. It is a skeletal kind of English and natives of the town understand this), English and French. A good command of French is useful, if leaving Buea to other part of Cameroon, especially the Francophone areas.
Electricity cuts are intermittent, but most times the city goes for days without interruption. Buea also has Mount Cameroon, where tourists and hikers visit round the year, and host an annual Mountain Race in February of every year.
Buea’s local government (council) office is located around Bongo Square, and has offices that serve the needs of the people. They do not have a website yet, but are opened to questions and to provide support.
There are markets across Buea, and with market days. Those days have traders gather in their numbers with goods at competitive prices to sell. There are health centers also, and accredited pharmacies across the city.
Life on Campus
Life on the SMU campus is quite interesting. The first thing you’ll realize is the degree of concern that the school administration has on international students. International students are consulted on many issues.
Accommodation is available on campus for all international students, and although they are encouraged to live on campus, they are not required to do so, and at the moment, there are a few international students living out of campus.
Sports is encouraged and soccer (football) facilities abound, although other sports are not prominent. In addition, there are music lessons and the school is about to buy a new band.
International students have their own student union and the president a member of Student Government Association.
There is a Newman Center on campus with Chaplian available for christian counseling. However, students are free to practice any faith of their choice or no faith at all. Although the school is proud of its Christian orientation, there is no faith requirement.
Prepared by David Stephen
International Student – 2013/14 Academic Year