University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Art and design, journalism
Study type: semester abroad
A semester abroad, in the USA and also in the “dream state” of California, sounds like lots of sun, lots of partying and lots of adventure and fun. Well, there was plenty of adventure and fun and the sun was probably there too, but it soon became clear that there would be a whole lot of work to do with parties and lounging on the beach. See anycountyprivateschools for San Jose State University Study Abroad.
In order to have a smooth start and to be able to enjoy the entire semester right from the start, we had already done a lot before the semester started. We had bought a car from Germany, which we only had to pick up, rented an apartment and even ordered mattresses so that we could sleep somewhere for the first night. In terms of university technology, almost everything is still taken over by “MicroEdu” in Germany, which is really very pleasant.
When you arrive in the USA, however, things really get going. You have to register the car in your name, you need a television, cell phone and, of course, furniture.
All of this involves a lot of stress and walking, but nothing compared to the upcoming course selection at the university.
Since local students can choose their courses online before the semester, most courses are full at the beginning of the semester. This is where the so-called “crashing” comes into play. International students have to ask the lecturer for a free place in every lecture that might be relevant for them. The international “crashers” are joined by the locals who failed to register online. These are given priority over international students.
The stupid thing about this system is that most locals don’t enroll in the usual four courses, but rather 6 to 8 and then decide in the first few weeks of the semester which courses they actually take. Thus, of course, the lecturer cannot give any clear information about free places in his course at the beginning.
So it can happen that you get a “let’s see” answer for 8 courses and have to run to 8 courses in the first few weeks, of which you actually only want to take 4.
It all gets on your nerves at first, but after a few weeks you have almost everything organized and you can finally start.
The university is pretty big. About 30000 students and a lot of ways to get lost. Fortunately, the departments are organized in such a way that you mainly stay in one place on campus. The campus itself is very beautiful, lots of greenery, lots of palm trees and almost everything in the open air. The sun is omnipresent.
The nice people from ALI are responsible for the international students, and they were always friendly, courteous and helpful. Even if they had to answer the same question for the 100th time.
There is no real canteen like at German universities, only various fast-food restaurants. But there are always good and cheap student prices here.
The level of the course was actually very similar to that in Germany. However, the whole system works a little differently there. Studying is simply a lot more school-based and so it is not okay to miss a lecture without an excuse. An attendance check by signature is also common for larger lectures and is taken into account in the grading.
In addition to compulsory attendance, there is also homework, which must also be done conscientiously and count towards the final grade right from the start. In most courses there are also several midterm exams during the semester.
Housing and San Diego
You will have to get used to the fact that the Americans generally have a different standard of hygiene than we Germans. Public interaction is also different. Californians are very polite and helpful, but also superficial and fake.
Since San Diego is very large and American cities are naturally spacious, a car is highly recommended. There are buses and even a tram, but they are not supposed to be very trustworthy and the expansion of the network is rather ridiculous compared to a major German city.
Even if a lot of things may have sounded negative now, I would definitely recommend a semester abroad at San Diego State University. You just have to be aware that such a project not only means fun and party, but also a lot of work. The price-performance ratio is in no way comparable to that of German universities.
If you are aware of this and want to experience an instructive semester with lots of nice people and lots of sun, you shouldn’t be put off.