San Diego State University Review (116)

University: San Diego State University

City: San Diego

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: business administration

Study type: semester abroad

San Diego State University Review (116)

Preparation:

I went to San Diego State University (SDSU) as a free mover. Since as a freemover you have to organize your stay abroad yourself, I turned to MicroEdu for my application to SDSU, which I can recommend without reservation. This mediates the application to the SDSU and takes care of everything related to the application and is free of charge for the students. The good thing about it is that if you apply early enough (the application deadline is around the end of February of the same year) and pay the money, you will definitely get a place. See iamaccepted for South Africa economics and education.

In addition, I applied for foreign student loans and received them. The requirement limit is higher abroad, so that all domestic Bafög recipients and those at the border abroad receive Bafög.
In addition to the monthly requirement, you will receive a flat rate of 1000 euros for the flight and up to 4800 euros for the tuition fees. Actually, this amount covers the tuition fees at SDSU, but I was unlucky that the exchange rate was very bad. It should be noted that firstly you apply early (six months in advance) and secondly – importantly – you will only receive the BAföG for the tuition fees after you have chosen your courses and submitted your certificate of enrollment. For me it was the end of October! So plan on paying the fees yourself for now.
Furthermore, you should take care of a visa as early as possible. Getting the visa is actually just a formality, so you don’t have to worry about being denied it. However, the appointments are often fully booked well in advance and the appointment itself can last several hours. The talk will only take place in Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg. The visa costs just under 120 euros and the Sevis fee for your student status is another 160 euros.

I traveled to San Diego without researching accommodations beforehand. If you arrive early enough and before the majority of the students, this is not a big problem either. However, the housing market is very crowded and San Diego is a very expensive place to live. I paid $1100 warm for a 36sqm studio that I shared with my girlfriend. If you live alone and want your own room in a shared apartment, you have to reckon with at least $700. In general, you can live either on campus or off campus. I lived off campus in an apartment complex in the College Area called 5025. There are quite a few of these complexes in San Diego and they are very popular with students. Living off campus is a bit cheaper and much more relaxed on house rules. in case you’re wondering whether you should move to uni or to the beach, I can tell you that I have no regrets about moving to uni, but I think everyone has to decide for themselves. The location, the price and the fact that a large part of your life takes place at the university (courses, group meetings, basketball games) speak in favor of the college area. In addition, you do not need a parking space at the university, which is a big advantage, since the parking situation at the university is rather bad. If you live on the beach, you experience more of the Californian lifestyle with surfing, sunbathing, skating and have the sea at your doorstep and the nicer part of town. However, you have to reckon with at least 20 – 25 minutes each way to the university plus traffic jams, which often occur. But I think everyone has to decide for themselves. The location, the price and the fact that a large part of your life takes place at the university (courses, group meetings, basketball games) speak in favor of the college area. In addition, you do not need a parking space at the university, which is a big advantage, since the parking situation at the university is rather bad. If you live on the beach, you experience more of the Californian lifestyle with surfing, sunbathing, skating and have the sea at your doorstep and the nicer part of town. However, you have to reckon with at least 20 – 25 minutes each way to the university plus traffic jams, which often occur. But I think everyone has to decide for themselves. The location, the price and the fact that a large part of your life takes place at the university (courses, group meetings, basketball games) speak in favor of the college area. In addition, you do not need a parking space at the university, which is a big advantage, since the parking situation at the university is rather bad. If you live on the beach, you experience more of the Californian lifestyle with surfing, sunbathing, skating and have the sea at your doorstep and the nicer part of town. However, you have to reckon with at least 20 – 25 minutes each way to the university plus traffic jams, which often occur. In addition, you do not need a parking space at the university, which is a big advantage, since the parking situation at the university is rather bad. If you live on the beach, you experience more of the Californian lifestyle with surfing, sunbathing, skating and have the sea at your doorstep and the nicer part of town. However, you have to reckon with at least 20 – 25 minutes each way to the university plus traffic jams, which often occur. In addition, you do not need a parking space at the university, which is a big advantage, since the parking situation at the university is rather bad. If you live on the beach, you experience more of the Californian lifestyle with surfing, sunbathing, skating and have the sea at your doorstep and the nicer part of town. However, you have to reckon with at least 20 – 25 minutes each way to the university plus traffic jams, which often occur.

Studies:

Studying in the USA differs significantly from that in Germany. In general, the SDSU offers a relatively large selection in the field of business administration and many other areas. In almost all courses there are several small exams/papers/group work, so that the exam at the end of the semester usually only contributes 20% to the overall grade. In most, especially those with fewer students, attendance is compulsory. The lessons are much more practical and the contact with the professors is more personal and intensive. Lessons in the USA are more comparable to schools than to universities in Germany.
The level is lower compared to Germany, especially if you take courses intended for first-year students (100 courses). However, you should note that the courses are simpler, but very time-consuming, since you will be busy the whole semester and have to invest a lot of time in group work and presentations.
If you go to SDSU as a freemover, choosing a course is a bit difficult. You are officially “only” students of the American Language Institute (ALI) and the students of the SDSU have priority when choosing courses. You then have to “crash” the courses, which means you run with forms to the professors in the courses you want to take and have to hope that the professors will still offer you places. This means that you can only take the remaining places or take a course organized by the ALI, which is identical to those of the SDSU, but in which 80% are German. In general, there are extremely many Germans at the SDSU, which I found quite annoying at times, as it really makes contact with Americans more difficult. The business administration courses in particular are extremely popular at SDSU. I didn’t get a business course at SDSU, only two non-business courses and had to go to an ALI course for the business courses. The ALI had some problems getting all the students with appropriate courses and there was a lot of chaos in the first four weeks. Students sometimes only had one of four courses after four weeks and many missed classes for the first few weeks. Even though in the end everyone probably got some kind of course and probably nobody failed a course due to the chaos, the first time was very stressful and really badly organized. Since we have a free choice of courses and can bring in all courses, you don’t have to worry about not being there at the end. The ALI had some problems getting all the students with appropriate courses and there was a lot of chaos in the first four weeks. Students sometimes only had one of four courses after four weeks and many missed classes for the first few weeks. Even though in the end everyone probably got some kind of course and probably nobody failed a course due to the chaos, the first time was very stressful and really badly organized. Since we have a free choice of courses and can bring in all courses, you don’t have to worry about not being there at the end. The ALI had some problems getting all the students with appropriate courses and there was a lot of chaos in the first four weeks. Students sometimes only had one of four courses after four weeks and many missed classes for the first few weeks. Even though in the end everyone probably got some kind of course and probably nobody failed a course due to the chaos, the first time was very stressful and really badly organized. Since we have a free choice of courses and can bring in all courses, you don’t have to worry about not being there at the end. Students sometimes only had one of four courses after four weeks and many missed classes for the first few weeks. Even though in the end everyone probably got some kind of course and probably nobody failed a course due to the chaos, the first time was very stressful and really badly organized. Since we have a free choice of courses and can bring in all courses, you don’t have to worry about not being there at the end. Students sometimes only had one of four courses after four weeks and many missed classes for the first few weeks. Even though in the end everyone probably got some kind of course and probably nobody failed a course due to the chaos, the first time was very stressful and really badly organized. Since we have a free choice of courses and can bring in all courses, you don’t have to worry about not being there at the end.

Everyday life and free time:

Arguably the biggest (and in my opinion only) downside to San Diego is the high cost of living. On the one hand, as already mentioned, living is much more expensive and you often get significantly less apartment for your money than in Mannheim, for example. In addition, almost all foods are significantly more expensive in the USA and especially foods that are more “European” (cold meats, bread).
Another major cost factor is certainly the car. In my opinion you don’t necessarily need a car in SD, but it is really exhausting to get around by bus and train in SD and with a car you can experience much more spontaneously and much more. The nearest supermarket was about 2 km from my apartment and it would have taken me almost half an hour to get there by bus. In addition, San Diego is very spacious, which means that it takes you more than 1 hour to get from the university to the beach by bus instead of 20 minutes by car. I had a car for 4 out of 5 months and was really happy about it and can only recommend everyone to get one. I rented a good car from dirtcheap car rentals for $550 a month including comprehensive insurance. If you know a lot about cars, you can also buy and save a lot of money here. Gasoline is incredibly cheap (about 70 euro cents/litre) and makes the car even more attractive.
Clothing and shopping in general are also a good 30% cheaper in the USA. It is best to take as few things as possible with you and get dressed on site.
Overall, however, the cost of living is significantly higher than in Germany and you should plan at least $7500 for your stay, depending on your lifestyle, in order to be able to cover all costs for housing, travel and leisure time.

City/Climate/Leisure:

San Diego really is a beautiful city by American standards and offers a high quality of life due to its location on the Pacific Ocean. It’s not for nothing that San Diego is “America’s finest city”. San Diego has a perfect climate: about 25-30 degrees in summer and 15-25 degrees in winter, about 300 days of sunshine and only 15 rainy days a year. Due to this climate, the Californian lifestyle is lived out to the full in San Diego. Flip flops are a must with every outfit and San Diego has almost every water sport there is. Sights and activities to take with you include:
Coronado – Peninsula off San Diego with a beautiful beach and panoramic views of San Diego.
Balboa Park – the green lung of San Diego with numerous museums.
Sea World – amusement park with great shows (killer whales, dolphins).
San Diego Zoo/Safari Park – the best zoo I’ve ever been to.
Pacific Beach – or beaches and the coastline in general.
La Jolla Cove – Slightly rougher coast in San Diego with numerous sea lions and seals, which also like to just lie on the beach.
You can save a lot of money, especially at the amusement parks, if you buy annual tickets or combination tickets. I had a Sea World pass through the end of 2012 for $70 (single pass ~$65) and a combo annual pass for the Zoo and Safari Park for $110 (single pass ~$50 each).
As is well known, San Diego is located in California, a fantastic and extremely diverse state in the USA. In addition to San Diego, the Golden State offers other places worth seeing. Los Angeles offers a lot with Hollywood and various film studios, as well as the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice Beach, but as a city it was a bit disappointing for me. The insider tip in my opinion and one of my best memories from the USA was the recording of Two and a Half Men at Warner Studios in Burbank, for which there are free tickets on the Internet at Audiences Unlimited. Get the tickets in time! San Francisco is definitely one of the most beautiful and “European” cities. Due to its location on the sea on a hill, San Francisco is really something special and offers the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and the cable cars a lot to see. Don’t miss the California coast with cities and beaches like Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Malibu and Santa Barbara. Definitely a must during your stay abroad are visits to Las Vegas (5 hours by car), Grand Canyon (8 hours) and Yosemite National Park (8 hours by car).
The mentality of the people in San Diego differs significantly from that of the Germans. The people of San Diego are extremely friendly, polite and accommodating, a clear contrast to those in Los Angeles and New York. You apologize as soon as you get in the way of someone and thank the bus driver for the ride. In the supermarket, people ask how the day was, how you are doing and whether you felt comfortable in the shop. This is simply part of the greeting, even if this is unusual at the beginning and you should definitely show this interest to your counterpart.

Conclusion:

My best experience was actually the whole stay in San Diego and California. I have experienced so much in a short time, got to know the most spectacular places in the world and lived in one of the most beautiful areas in the world. My only bad experience was course selection, which as described above was stressful and extremely poorly organized.
However, I can only 100% recommend the semester abroad at SDSU to everyone and everyone who has been to San Diego shares this view. You will spend the best time of your life there and experience so much in such a short time as probably never in your life. For those who like sun, sand and travel, this is the perfect place for your semester abroad.

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