University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I applied through MicroEdu. I first asked for information for San Diego State University and received it immediately. MicroEdu is a great help in the application process, as they tell you exactly what you have to do and what you have to do and take a close look at everything again. So big thanks to MicroEdu. Since I also have courses in English during my studies, I didn’t need any further proof of English, which saved me the TOEFL test. See iamaccepted for vocational training in united states.
Otherwise, the application process was relatively easy, only the visa application and appointment at the American embassy took a while. But otherwise everything was fine.
Since I have never been to the USA, have already had good experience abroad in Australia and needed a semester abroad for my studies, I decided to go to San Diego State University in San Diego. The university there can hardly be compared with the German universities. The university campus is huge- It takes me about 15 minutes to walk from one end to the other. The grounds include a gym, a swimming pool, several tennis courts, an American football arena, a soccer field, a hockey field, a baseball arena, a basketball arena, several bowling alleys, a large library, several supermarkets, a clothing store, several fast-food restaurants, a bar, a pond with turtles and fish, large lawns and completely normal classrooms spread over several buildings.
There is a welcome program for international students. This program lasts about 1 week. Here we try to ensure that everyone has a good start, one has the feeling that the lecturers have a personal interest in you liking it. There are also events such as a city tour, a stay at the bowling alley with information stands about the sports on offer. Every week the university offers various activities, of which I only took part in the visit to the zoo.
For the university you have to take courses with a total of 12 to 15 units (that is usually 24 to 30 ECTS). As a foreign student, I had to take two so-called special courses. These are extra courses for foreign students. I have two business courses – Organizational Behavior and Leadership in Organizationswith 4 units each – and was quite satisfied so far. In “Leadership in Organizations” we had to set up a group project in which we were to spend 100 hours and 100 dollars making the world a better place. We (4 Germans and 1 Swede) decided to prevent part of the food waste by creating a connection between various restaurants and supermarkets and a non-profit organization. All the food that is no longer allowed to be used due to legal guidelines was donated to this organization. In “Organizational Behavior” we were taught the best possible methods to get the maximum out of employees. The proportion of Germans in the special courses is very high, which is why a lot of German is spoken there.
I also chose Spanish because I needed it for my German university. I was in the introductory course and I have to say that for the course having 4 units, it was very easy, comparable to the first years of English classes at high school.
For the remaining 2 units I chose swimming and surfing for beginners. Swimming for advanced swimmers was relatively easy with 2 x 50-minute swimming units for a normal athletic person. Surfing was theoretically once a week but the surf instructors said you can come when you want so all very relaxed and worth it if you want to learn to surf. Surfboards and wetsuits ($1 rental per use) are provided. When I was surfing, dolphins even swam under my surfboard once.
In all my courses I had to pass written exams. Theory was tested in surfing and swimming. In Spanish there were grammar and vocabulary tests. The other two courses had multiple-choice tests, which is common in America – which I find questionable as it limits the student’s creativity.
In addition, attendance at SDSU (probably other universities in America as well ) is compulsory. When I reach a certain number of allowed absences (varies from course to course), percentage points are deducted from my grade, which I find a bit strange. But the Americans seem to value it. So if you want more free time during your semester abroad, you should either look for a good doctor who will issue certificates or go to another country;)
I lived in the accommodation “5025 Apartment”. This is 1.5 km away from the university and there is a regular shuttle bus to the university. I had a single room and a private bathroom. I shared a living room with a large kitchen with 3 other students. Unfortunately I have to say, I was with 2 Chinese and 1 Vietnamese. Unfortunately, the cultural difference between China and Germany is large, so there were a few problems from time to time. In hindsight, I would say I live with a fellow countryman, even if you tend to speak more German. The English of the Chinese wasn’t so good anyway that I could use it to improve my English. However, I got along well with the Vietnamese and am still in contact.
The property also has 1 gym (but SDSU’s is a lot better), 1 swimming pool (I’ve never been to that though as others said it wasn’t worth going and 1 huge parking garage which unfortunately was on my window side and it was often loud when, for example, the alarm system went off 5 times during the night.
I paid US$ 900 per month for the accommodation, so that makes good money. My room was about 12 square meters and the bathroom 4.
City of San Diego
San Diego is a beautiful city.With 1.3 million inhabitants, the city is not too big. However, it is very large in terms of area, so I can only recommend a car. The city has several beaches where you can surf, swim or play beach volleyball. There are also a few sea lions on one beach. I was there in the summer semester and the weather was nice, but probably still relatively cool for the local conditions (i.e. 20 to 30 degrees during the day, but in the evening you did need a sweater). The people in the city are extremely friendly and it’s quite possible that you’ll strike up a conversation with complete strangers, which isn’t the norm in Germany. Because the city is on the Mexican border, the Mexican influence is strong, which is evident in the food and the Spanish language.
People in San Diego like to party, but from 2 a.m. at the latest everything is closed, which surprised me a lot, since in Germany people tend to only start going at 2 a.m. In addition, club tickets are very expensive and a dress code is required. Tuesday is “Taco Tuesday” across the city, which means you can go out for cheap drinks and food.
Advantages and disadvantages
San Diego and the university compared to Germany it was a very expensive stay. Expect to pay around US$20,000 if you want to travel a bit. Living in San Diego is also expensive.
My recommendations to you
I can only recommend that you (together) get a car, either buy it or rent it.
In addition, I would look for an apartment locally myself in retrospect and try to live on the beach. The effort is greater, but you really live right on the beach and you have the opportunity to choose your roommates and go surfing more often. (A friend of mine lived at BLVD 63, an apartment complex that has a lot more to offer than the “5025 Apartment”, so I can only recommend it if you want to live close to the university.)
If you don’t want to meet any or just a few Germans abroad, then San Diego State University is definitely not for you, since the majority of foreigners are Germans (approx. 60 to 70%). As a result, I also unfortunately spoke a lot of German.
If you want to go to San Diego or the USA, you have to be aware that you will lose a lot of money quickly.
California is great for travel. I’ve been to Mexico (Tijuana and Rosarito, but I would have liked to go to Baja California), Hawaii, various national parks (Yosemite, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Brice Canyon, Hoover Dam, Big Sur, Mammoth Lakes, Sequoia) and of course LA, Las Vegas and San Francisco including Silicon Valley.
The Americans eat a lot of fast food, which of course tastes good on the one hand, but on the other hand they eat a lot of crap there and the quality of the food is worse than in Germany.
If you want to go shopping cheaply, then I recommend you for clothes Ross, Old Navy, Marshalls, Forever 21, Las Americas Premium Outlet, for food in the supermarket 99ct Store, Dollar Tree, Trader Joe’s (with organic goods) and of course Fast- Food chains like my favorites PandaExpress and In-N-Out Burger.
In general, I have to say that I enjoyed my stay very much and I will definitely go abroad again.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me, otherwise have a good stay and have fun.