San Diego State University Review (109)

University: San Diego State University

City: San Diego

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: Psychology, English / American Studies, Tourism Management

Study type: Academic gap year

San Diego State University Review (109)

Hello everyone, before I report on my experience of my semester at San Diego State University (fall 2018) and give you tips from my time there, I would first like to introduce myself. My name is Eva and I come from Regensburg. I did my high school diploma there in 2018. Since I was still unsure what to study, I quickly decided to do a gap year. In the course of a student exchange I was in Phoenix/Arizona in 2016 and got to know a lot of American students there and was enthusiastic about the university system there from the very first moment. My decision to do my first semester at an American university was also influenced by the fact that General Studies is a great opportunity to get a taste of a wide variety of subject areas and then be more certain about your final choice of study, as this is the best way to determine your interests. Finally, in August 2018, I was allowed to start my little “adventure” at SDSU. See iamaccepted for 6 best countries to study architecture.

Application process:

I was asked again and again why I chose the SDSU. The answer to this is quite simple: I am someone who does very well without winter and the cold weather that comes with it. Just the idea of ​​what feels like 365 days of sunshine, palm trees, beaches, surfing, etc. makes me smile. So California was set! I was able to “get to know” San Diego a little during a family vacation (it turned out afterwards that I had explored San Diego from scratch and was not aware of the beauty and charm of this city before my semester abroad).

At this point, I have to express my sincere thanks to MicroEdu, who made the whole application process a lot easier for me. It was explained to me step by step what I have to do, which documents I have to fill out and what for. When I had questions, after a short time I had all the answers explained in clear and understandable e-mails and also received information over the phone. I can’t say much more about the application process because I don’t remember most of the steps, it was so stress-free. The SDSU accepted me fairly quickly and the search for a suitable apartment began.


Many international students, especially Germans, look for other people to rent an entire house on the beach. Probably the most popular residential area is Pacific Beach, because of the many students there are also many bars and clubs and it is a very young area in San Diego. Although it is of course great to live on the beach and to be able to go surfing every morning in front of the university, I would personally advise against it, because firstly you absolutely need a car to get to the university, secondly because of the constant traffic ( Rush hour in particular is exactly when most of the universities are out) instead of 20 minutes you sometimes have up to an hour’s driving time and thirdly there are many events at the universityand can’t take advantage of SDSU life as much as living closer to uni. For these reasons, it was clear to me to move close to the university.

I initially wanted to stay in one of the ALI accommodations (Suites on Paseo, Fraternity Row, Sanctuary Row) but then started hearing more about Blvd63. In order to live there, you have to find your own roommates through a Facebook group. You have the option of founding a “new apartment” yourself or joining one. There are also different types of apartments (single / shared rooms) and different floor plans that can be seen on the website. In addition to its own fitness center, Blvd63 has two pools, barbecue areas, a clubhouse, study rooms and a free shuttle to the university(about 7 minutes driving time). There is also a CVS and two supermarkets in the immediate vicinity. It feels like 70% Europeans live there, especially many Germans, Swedes, Norwegians.

Because Blvd63 also hosts various events, it’s easy to meet people and you don’t stay alone for long. Unfortunately, you can only conclude an annual contract there, which is why you have to look for a new tenant yourself. Some have complained about not being able to find a new tenant and having to keep paying. From the middle of the semester I started looking in the Facebook group for someone who wanted to “sublease” my room and had no problem finding someone.


As I have already mentioned, my goal was to get a taste of the subjects that I can imagine for my future studies. I had this opportunity through the so-called General Studies, which unfortunately do not include business administration courses.
Long story short, I took Introduction to Psychology (PSFA 101), Hospitality, Tourism and Event Management (HIM 201), and Adaptation to the US American Culture (PSFA 280) courses. In order to get the F1 student visa (12 units are mandatory), I filled up the missing three credits with sports courses (Beginning Weight Training, Self Defense for Women, Surfing!!!!!! ).

I found my psychology course particularly interesting, which was due to the subject itself, but also to the professor. If you are looking for an easy course, I recommend PSFA 280; the workload is almost zero, you can get an A in the exams without studying. In general, the American university system is more comparable to our school system: you don’t just have a final exam, but midterms and finals. You also get points for attendance, class participation, presentations, homework and small quizzles.


When I recalled all my trips after my return home, I noticed how much I was able to see in a relatively short time. I went to the USA with my parents two weeks before the start of my studies. After exploring LA and touring Universal Studios, we went to Dana Point and Huntington Beach, then to San Diego.

My first road trip with friends was to Joshua Tree, Mount San Jacinto National Park, Coachella Valley and Palm Springs. The second we drove to Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon. A weekend later I visited Disneyland in Anaheim with a friend. On the way we stopped at the Salvation Mountains and at Jesus East. The rest of the time we went to LA, Venice Beach and Santa Monica twice. We also took the long way (about 8 hours) to Yosemite National Park, which is especially beautiful in winter with snow.

My exchange family invited me to Phoenix/Arizona for Thanksgiving. With what felt like 10 pounds more on my ribs, I flew to Honolulu, Hawaii, just two days after arriving back in San Diego. If you somehow have time for it, definitely do it, it’s a dream!!!

As you can probably guess from the long list of trips, I haven’t spent most weekends in San Diego and try to explore San Diego during the week. Many students have more courses than me and cannot / do not want to study on the plane or in the car like me. I suggest these people to plan at least two more weeks after the semester to be able to travel.

Since I was only 18 and unfortunately didn’t have time for it anymore, I didn’t go to Las Vegas. In 2009 I visited Las Vegas and San Francisco with my family and recommend everyone to see these cities. Mexico is also very popular with students due to its proximity to San Diego, especially Tijuana is a popular party city for a weekend.

I always spent the rest of my free time with my friends in San Diego (beach, downtown and so on).


Yes, California is expensive. I was friends with some people studying in Switzerland who said the prices are similar in Switzerland. Of course, you have control over your expenses: How many trips do I make? Where do we sleep? do we cook ourselves? I recommend looking for an apartment, room or house on the Airbnb site for accommodation. These accommodations are much nicer and more communal than hostels and you can cook for yourself, which saves money.

Not only do the costs for trips outside of San Diego add up, but the many activities within San Diego eventually become expensive. I didn’t have a car there myself, which is why I always drove Uber. I guess if you team up with a few people and rent/buy a car for the time (Dirt Cheap Car Rental) it’s worth it. Even though Uber is relatively cheap, the many trips just add up. By the way, public transport in San Diego is only moderately available.

You can also save a lot of money when shopping: I always bought my fruit and vegetables from Trader Joes, which is located at the university, everything else at Target, Smart and Final or Vons (the last two are right next to the dorm). Even Aldi or the one dollar shop are certainly not a stupid idea.

Top ten things to do in San Diego

  • Coronado : Here is the Hotel del Coronado, known from the movie “Some like it hot” with Marilyn Monroe, which is located on my favorite beach in San Diego. If you walk down the street you will find the Seahouse, which is a must eat place. Coronado itself is a beautiful district with gorgeous houses. One of my best experiences in the hotel was skating under the palm trees (skating by the sea) by the sea with a wonderful Christmas atmosphere.
  • Balboa Park : The Christmas Nights here were especially great, so you can get into the Christmas spirit even with over 20 degrees in December. In general, you can escape the big city life here.
  • Little Italy : The district offers a very nice atmosphere, especially in the evenings. There you will find a lot of Italian restaurants, the best ice cream parlor in San Diego (Salt and Straw) and a small square with street musicians, so that you really get the feeling of being in Italy. The weekly market is also held here once a week with delicious, free bites.
  • Aztec : Of course, if you go to an American university, you can’t miss the many sporting events. Especially the tailgating before the football games is a lot of fun. I’m still overwhelmed by the importance of sports at universities. Believe me, it’s like in the movies! The Uni Spirit is unbelievable, make sure to wear SDSU clothing or you will attract negative attention.
  • Duke Dive : Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday. You go to bars (we’ve always been to PB at Duke Dive), eat tacos and wait for the DJ to come. Then all the tables are pushed away and the big dance floor is opened.
  • La Jolla : Super surfing beaches and cute sea lions!
  • Jet skiing and surfing : If you’re ever in California, you have to do it! With the jet ski we drove past the San Diego skyline, under the Coronado Bridge, to Coronado itself. Since I discovered the fun on my board through my surf course (once a week), I also hang out with friends outside of the course liked to go surfing when time allowed.
  • Better Buzz Hillcrest : Favorite coffee shop and perfect place to study!
  • Potato Chip : This hike is perfect for anyone who wants to exercise. And the view is worth the climb! Don’t go out in the midday sun and take water with you!
  • Uni Concerts : I was excited about the leisure program at SDSU. I went to a J Balvin and the NF concert, both of which were held at Uni Stadium. The atmosphere is simply unbelievable due to the many students!


In conclusion, I can only say – as clichéd and cheesy as it sounds – that these five months were the best time of my life and I look back on them with great fondness. Since I’ve been home, the time seems more like a dream than reality. I met incredibly great people, had a lot of fun in my courses, learned a lot of interesting things, saw so much of the country and enjoyed every moment.

My tip to everyone: do something with the time!!! It may sound silly, but what I mean by that is make sure you do your varsity stuff conscientiously and enjoy American varsity life!! I assure you that you will not regret your decision to go to SDSU. Take advantage of the university’s leisure activities, then you can relax again at home!

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