University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: media
Study type: semester abroad
A little about me: I’m studying media management at the University of Cologne and have applied for the general courses (TFM) at the SDSU.
Thanks to MicroEdu, the application process has been made quite easy: the required documents are sent to CoCo, where they are checked for completeness and then sent to the desired university almost automatically. The biggest effort in my opinion was the organization of the foreign BAföG (similar to a normal BAföG application). See existingcountries for Sweden higher education.
I had a direct flight from Frankfurt to Los Angeles (in my case it was a lot cheaper than to San Diego). After a few days in LA, I took a Flixbus (about $15) to San Diego, which takes about two to three hours. Since I’ve already heard how expensive life is in California, I wanted to save a little at this point and can recommend it to all savers.
Studying at SDSU is exactly how you imagine studying at an American college and almost exactly how you see it in the movies. The university itself is very well maintained, has a beautiful campus that is quite clear. Frat parties, many “varsity clubs” featured in the first week (bowling, swimming, football, film society etc.), a huge gym, the Aztecs members (which you automatically are if you apply there through MicroEdu ) is available, a pool area and much more.
The range of sports on offer leaves little to be desired, especially the Aztec football games and the associated tailgates you should definitely take part in.
In general, the degree is more reminiscent of the Abitur and less of a classic German degree: many weekly assignments/homework, several exams every few weeks and attendance is usually compulsory.
First of all: If possible, choose the courses by Prof, very helpful website: ratemyprof.com, other students rate their professors on the site.
Depending on the course you choose, the course can be very easy, but it can also be very time-consuming. I decided to take courses in the field of media, from the faculty “TFM — Television Film Media”. Personally, I had a heavy workload and rather less free time, but I hardly got to know any international students and many Americans in my courses. For all media students: choose a maximum of two production courses, in my opinion even one course is enough if you want to travel more during the semester abroad.
Advanced Cinematography (Rich Underwood):
Interesting lesson content, some practical content, Rich is understanding but very very demanding. We had to pay weekly dues, should have handed in three short films after the semester and presented two photo series. The two excursions to film studios in LA were very interesting and very helpful for networking. In general, I was permanently occupied with this course.
Intermediate Filmmaking (Greg Durbin):
Greg talks a lot, a lot. Frontal instruction with short film units. However, many useful websites regarding filmmaking are presented, but it can also become boring at times. The lessons themselves are very theoretical, the biggest work comes when you have to produce a film in your free time. There is a surprise test about every two weeks.
Event Coordination (Jay Sheehan):
Jay is in my opinion one of the best profs I have met. It is important to him that students take something with them. Compulsory attendance and taxes are of secondary importance. Very interesting content regarding management issues in the music industry (Jay organized the Superbowl, among other things, and can mediate practically, also helps students with finding internships, etc.).
Acting (CJ aka Carolin Keith):
Clear recommendation: One of the courses I have benefited from the most and which I would absolutely recommend. The course was very practically oriented, but unfortunately also very popular – you should actually apply for the course as soon as the portal accepts course choices. The course consisted only of Americans and one other foreign student.
On Facebook pages I looked for a place to stay in San Diego about two/three weeks before departure. In the end I found an apartment in the notorious BLVD63. I then lived in a 6-person shared flat very close to the campus, a shuttle takes you from the apartment to the SDSU. Lots of parties, nice facility, but the management is rather unorganized. However, I met a lot of other exchange students there.
Student dormitories are not recommended, you can get nicer apartments for the money.
California is probably one of the best playgrounds for internationals: Many national parks in the area, San Diego itself has a lot to offer (especially beach-wise), the weather is usually a dream. If you live in BLVD, a car is not a must, but it is handy at times since public transportation is virtually non-existent in America.
The Aquatic Center, which cooperates with the SDSU, offers many water sports that are relatively inexpensive.
Yes, life in California is not cheap, you should definitely have saved up some money beforehand. Rent averages $700-$1000 (the upper limit is wide open here). Living expenses are generally quite high as well (everything can get as high as $100 a week for food).
All in all, I recommend studying at San Diego State University. California offers a lot, road trips are a dream and easy to do. Not all that cheap, but definitely worth it. I would do everything the way I did it again, except for the choice of course (unfortunately I underestimated the workload and hardly got to travel during the semester).
I would also recommend organizing with MicroEdu, the employees are very friendly, reply to all e-mails quite quickly and in detail — the application process was easier than I ever thought.