University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: mechanical engineering
Study type: semester abroad
The application process:
The application went pretty smoothly. The application documents will be sent to you by MicroEdu and are largely self-explanatory. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with your respective contact person. The answers are usually quick and very detailed. After you have filled out the documents and sent them back, you have to wait for the confirmation from the university. After that is also completed, you can transfer the tuition fees and apply for a visa. I have also applied for foreign BAföG and advise anyone who wants to do this to start early, as it is a more complex process than the application itself. See iamaccepted for best cities to live in Canada.
I spent about two months looking for an apartment before leaving and can recommend platforms like Facebook or Craigslist because there are so many offers there. The search was relatively uncomplicated and I discovered my room in the College Area on Facebook about a month before my departure. Rents in San Diego are incredibly high, typically starting at $600. In the beach areas, the average prices are significantly higher (about $1000-1200) and you need a car. I chose a shared room near the uni so I don’t have to rely on a car (rent: $725). Luckily, some of my eight roommates had a car that I could borrow.
At the beginning of August I flew to San Diego and had a few days to settle in before university started.
I had enrolled in the General Course program and had selected a few courses I wanted to take prior to the trip. I was only able to choose the courses on site when the SDSU students enrolled. As a master’s student, I was able to take two graduate courses (600-799) and one undergraduate course (100-599). In the first week of the course you have the opportunity to choose more courses and attend different lectures. The ratemyprof.com site also has reviews of various courses and professors that you can look at. In the end I decided to take the following courses:
ECON102 Principles of Economics
The course was not very complex and teaches the basics of microeconomics. Prof Gorden taught the course and liked to walk around the lecture with a microphone and question students. There were four exams spread over the semester. Attendance was not checked, but the exams were only announced in the lecture.
ME645 Mechanical Behavior of Materials
This course dealt with material behavior and properties of different materials. The course instructor Prof. Youssef made the lectures interactive due to the small course and selected course topics were discussed in depth. The exam consisted of small tests, presentations, a project and a final exam. All in all it was a bit complicated but also interesting.
This course is a more demanding course in which the field of aeroelasticity is introduced. The course instructor Prof. Demasi is extremely competent and the course was very well structured. The behavior of an airplane wing was simulated and homework had to be handed in regularly. There was also a project and two exams. This lecture was definitely my favorite. It took a lot of time to prepare and I had to learn a new program for the course, but it was totally worth it.
Life & Leisure:
SDSU has a phenomenal campus and a wide range of recreational opportunities. I took a surfing class at Mission Bay Aquatic Center. The course costs only $175 for the whole semester, surfboards can be borrowed for free and you can theoretically go surfing every day. Sailing, wakeboarding and stand up paddling courses are also offered. Apart from that, the SDSU offers a gym with a climbing wall, a pool and a bowling center and there are many evening events (Aztec Nights).
Of course there is also a lot to explore and experience in San Diego and the weather is almost consistently above 20 degrees. I can recommend Torrey Pines to anyone who wants to go hiking. Of course you can also see the classic sights like the sea lions in La Jolla or just hang out on one of the many beaches.
Outside of San Diego, your options are virtually limitless. There are many national parks as well as amusement parks to visit. In addition, a city trip to Los Angeles and San Francisco is a must for everyone. I recommend planning road trips as early as possible so that you have enough time (it also gets pretty cold at the Grand Canyon from November, for example). My personal highlight was driving along the coast from San Francisco to San Diego and enjoying the view.
Finally, I can only recommend absolutely everyone to do a semester abroad in San Diego. While it’s expensive fun, it’s definitely worth it.