University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: urban and spatial planning
Study type: semester abroad
As a spatial planning student, I chose SDSU Bachelor courses in Public Administration / Urban Studies and one course from the Master City Planning. The courses turned out to be very similar in terms of academic standards, although the course numbers sometimes differed considerably (420 – 710).
I chose three courses from the Public Administration bachelor’s program, all of which had a more economic focus. The master’s course dealt with urban planning, albeit only theoretically.
Overall, the demands were lower compared to Germany and, above all, more superficial. However, the image and developments of the American city were presented very clearly, most of which were new to me. See jibin123 for 8 best cities to study in Australia.
The university’s range of sports, on the other hand, is unbeatable, and you can practice just about any sport you want. For about $18 a month you can use a huge fitness center and the aquaplex. Football, handball, volleyball, basketball or baseball are also possible.
San Diego is an expensive city, the cost of living and rent are high. Expect to pay around $550-$700 for a room last year. However, the financial crisis is helping and many rental prices have fallen in recent months. This gives the opportunity to even rent a house with several students. In our case it went very easily, which after a long search was also due to our very helpful landlord. Disadvantages are the independent registration of electricity, gas, water and telephone/internet, some of which require high deposits. Here you have to take care of the termination at an early stage.
Clear advantages are a lot of space, your own kitchen, garden/pool and parking spaces for cars and in our case even the rental price.
Our house was in the college area, near the university, which had advantages and disadvantages. You could walk to the university, which was very convenient with daily courses. However, you had to drive to the beach and the parties. A car is essential for the next 4-5 months. The entire city is only tailored to the automobile and with the light rail line it sometimes takes hours to get to the desired destination. Cars can be rented or bought comparatively cheaply. But you should be familiar with car technology, otherwise you will quickly be ripped off.
Especially at the beginning you can hardly do without fast food consumption because there are fast food chains like McDonalds, JackInTheBox or Taco Bell really everywhere and other food is expensive. But as soon as you have your own accommodation, it is worth cooking for yourself and buying groceries as cheaply as possible, for example at Food4Less.
San Diego offers many opportunities to spend your free time alongside your studies. In addition to numerous beach and water sports activities such as surfing, jet skiing or sailing (partly offered as courses by the university), there is Balboa Park with the famous zoo and museums. In the evening there are enough (but expensive) ways to spend the evening downtown. Those who prefer something more casual/alternative should go to Ocean Beach or Pacific Beach. There is always something going on in the college area at the weekend, mostly private parties. You can also find a few bars and pubs along El Cajon Boulevard, which runs right through the city.
For those interested in architecture, the Salk Institute by Louis I. Kahn in La Jolla, which belongs to UCSD, is certainly interesting.
One of San Diego’s greatest assets is its location between Tijuana and Los Angeles, giving you the opportunity to explore two very different cities. Tijuana can be reached in about 10-20 minutes by car and offers a stark contrast to the American city. The flair is certainly not the most typical Mexico either, but it is a welcome change. The numerous warnings about the insecurity in the city are, in my opinion, completely unfounded.
Los Angeles, on the other hand, offers many famous places (Hollywood, Getty Museum Venice Beach, Beverly Hills) that are definitely worth a visit, which definitely cannot be said of downtown LA (it’s dead after 6 p.m.). Make a plan beforehand of what you want to see, because the city is very large and confusing.
Also absolutely worth seeing is San Francisco, which you can very well take as a destination for a trip along the coast on Highway 1. The views are incredible, so even the long drive passes quickly.