University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Study type: semester abroad
For me, it all started with a MicroEdu information event that took place on our campus. The lecture was about a different university, but you got a good picture of what a semester abroad in the USA can look like and I then searched the MicroEdu website for universities that would be suitable for me. See iamaccepted for higher education in united states.
Planning & organization
I then decided on San Diego State University for a number of reasons: SDSU has a very good department for Film & Television, and the tuition fees are expensive, but still manageable compared to other US universities and the last point was still the Location and Weather of San Diego.
After making my decision to go to SDSU, I first connected with MicroEdu at the end of January and from that point the organization started for me. My questions about the required documents, the language tests, housing options and visa were all answered very well. I proved my language qualifications with the DAAD test at my university, which worked great and I didn’t have to pay any fees for it.
I applied for the visa in May and went to the embassy in Munich. The interview took less than 5 minutes and after a few weeks I got my visa. But already with the visa there are some costs. I booked my flight to San Diego for August 12th, which was very close to the start of the semester.
Apartment search & orientation week
I didn’t want to get an apartment from ALI because I just wanted to be independent and also wanted to have seen the room beforehand. In the run-up to this, I was constantly looking for apartments near the college on various platforms from Germany (e.g. Craigslist or Roomster, although I cannot recommend Roomster). However, the search was quite unsuccessful, among other things I found it difficult to agree to an apartment that you had not seen before.
For the first few days in San Diego, I booked a motel with a friend so that we could look for an apartment and explore the city and surrounding area before university started. The first apartment I viewed was posted on the MicroEdu Facebook group by a group member. I was pretty lucky and got the apartment.
In the orientation week, the actual choice of course was presented, university tours were offered and the most important places were visited on a bus ride through San Diego. However, there was still a lot of time before the lectures started. I took advantage of that and went on a road trip with friends.
Studying at SDSU
The university is huge and it takes time to get used to it. It really is like a small town in itself, there is a great variety of food and there were always stalls set up with food from all over the world on Thursdays. Campus life is much livelier than I ‘m used to, student organizations and student associations are everywhere with their small stands, people are always chilling on the meadows and you often see sports groups such as slackliners. The green areas and small gardens are beautiful and often make you forget that you are studying here. Then there is a library, huge sports facilities, a large gym and the Viejas Arena, which is a stadium for sports and music events.
The final course selection takes place on site and American students are given preference. It can therefore happen that you can only get into some courses via the waitlist or not at all. The choice of course actually worked out quite well for me, only one course was full. I clarified the whole thing with my university in Germany and was able to get credit for another course. But you should be flexible and don’t expect to get all the courses.
For me it was very impressive how well equipped the film department at the SDSU was. The equipment rental and the studios where you do your projects are very professional. You can also feel the proximity to Los Angeles in this area, many students want to work there after their studies, we also had two very interesting excursions to Hollywood and Burbank. The exams are somewhat different than in Germany. You often have several small tests, essays and presentations, but at the end there is only a small exam or no exam at all.
Living in San Diego
Living in San Diego is pretty expensive. On the one hand, the rents are very high, on the other hand, food and shopping are not cheap either. I didn’t rent a car during the semester to avoid paying more. It also worked without it, but you are very limited, especially because the public transport network is not really well developed. There is a trolley and buses, but it usually takes much longer than by car. I then borrowed a car for a few days for Thanksgiving break to get out of the city and see the surrounding national parks. After the semester I borrowed a car for three weeks and went on a longer road trip in the Southwest of the USAdid. In retrospect, the decision not to rent a car during the semester was okay, so as not to stretch the financial framework even further.
The weather in San Diego is great, almost always sunny. Even in winter it is still very pleasant during the day, in summer it can get very hot. Since it can be endured well on the beaches in San Diego.
In my free time I used to go surfing a lot. Like many others, I also did a beginner’s course at Mission Bay Aquatic Center, where you also get a very good price as an SDSU student. You can also rent boards there for free and the wetsuits cost a dollar per rental. It gave me a good balance to studying and I loved it. I would recommend everyone to try surfing because the beaches have great surfing conditions and when else do you have the opportunity to learn to surf for so long?
Due to its geographical location, San Diego also has a lot of Mexican culture and accordingly there is also a lot of Mexican food and specialties. You should definitely try it out.
Otherwise, of course, I went on many trips and explored the country. I really liked the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, San Francisco, Death Valley and Antelope Canyon. I did most of it after the semester, but you can also do some at the weekend. I would definitely use the time after the semester.
In summary, I can only recommend it to anyone who is considering doing a semester abroad. You learn a lot about other cultures, break down language inhibitions / barriers and grow with the challenge.