University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I decided to study in the USA for a number of reasons. On the one hand it was very important to me to improve my English, on the other hand I wanted to live in the land of unlimited opportunities for a longer period of time. It was very important to me to live in this fascinating, multifaceted and incredibly diverse country for a longer period of time. I also wanted to enjoy the “American College Feeling” and experience what it’s like to be part of an American university. See jibin123 for Slovakia or Slovenia where to study.
Ultimately, the choice fell on San Diego and the University of SDSU. There are several reasons for this. MicroEdu is a popular agency among German students and does a lot of work for everyone when applying. The application process is clearly described and the individual application steps are listed in a structured manner. Furthermore, one is always very friendly and helped within a very short time. This agency is really highly recommended, it is 100% free and reliable. In addition, with tuition fees of $6500, the SDSU is still relatively inexpensive compared to other American universities. Another reason for many is of course the constantly good weather, the sun almost always shines even in the winter months and life can simply be better enjoyed there when the temperatures are high. The climate is temperate, meaning it’s not too hot, although there are of course days that are better spent in the university’s outdoor pool or on the beach. San Diego is also a very good starting point for excursions, for example Los Angeles is about a 2-hour drive away. Almost all international students have completed the main program of travel, which is a must when in California. Of course, these include above all LA, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and the Grand Canyon. I recommend going to San Francisco in August/September, as it can get very cold there towards the end of the year due to its location in northern California, it is an 8-12 hour drive depending on the highway route and the semester can get very stressful towards the end ( If I remember correctly it’s 2 flight hours, but then you miss out on the beautiful California coast). The Mexican border is only about 30 minutes from San Diego and many have only gone to Tijuana for a night of partying as prices are significantly lower there. Since Tijuana has a certain reputation, I definitely recommend going there only in a larger group. Do not forget your passport and the I-20 form (visa) as these documents will be required upon re-entry. Depending on time and preference, San Diego provides a good tie-in point to Hawaii and Santa Barbara, which is where I’ve been. On the outward and return flight, of course, there is still a stopover on the east coast, for example I was in New York for 3 days on the outward flight. I would also rather advise doing this in the summer.
With regard to the application and the formalities, there are all kinds of things to be clarified and observed. I recommend an absolute minimum lead time of 6 months, better 8-9. Since this is the USA, special deadlines, regulations and formalities must be taken into account. This is exactly why I recommend MicroEdu to get a detailed overview. The first thing to do is to apply to the SDSU. These require, among other things, financial proof that covers the financial needs in San Diego. To do this, you need to get a letter from your bank. In addition, the responsible foreign student loan office in Hamburg can certify that you will receive foreign student loans and other grants (the so-called confirming statement). These subsidies include, for example, a flat-rate flight fee, International health insurance and a large part of the tuition fees. Together with your own savings, this must reach a certain sum. In any case, you should apply for foreign student loans at least 6 months before the semester abroad, since – unlike the normal student loan application – many more forms are requested and it is a significantly higher effort. Even students who normally do not receive student loans should try it, as there are different assessment bases for foreign student loans.
Another important part is the visa. It is very complex and takes a lot of time. First of all, various forms have to be filled out on the Internet, which also cost a few hundred euros. Then you go to one of the embassies (Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich) with all your documents and hand them in. Normally you will then be told that the visa will be sent back together with your passport within a few days. If you have received the visa, you have already done a large part. One should keep in mind that the visa is only valid in combination with the I-20 form that is obtained from SDSU. Therefore, you should always be very careful with these documents. In California you can even apply for a California ID, which means that you don’t have to carry your passport with you for nightclubs, Bars and also for alcohol etc. It is very tightly controlled and if you are under 21 you are denied everything. This California ID can also be used for domestic flights. You should apply for this as soon as you arrive, as the process can take several weeks.
Arrived in San Diego, I recommend a hostel first. You should probably find out in Germany where you want to live and where your own preferences lie. A popular dormitory is the Fifty Twenty Five (5025). A shuttle runs every fifteen minutes to the university and back. The apartments are shared with other students who have 2-4 rooms. The rooms can be shared with other students, but you can also rent a single room, although the rent will of course be higher. If sharing a room, it was $670 a month to pay. The apartments have everything you need (kitchen, washing machine, dryer, etc.). If you’re lucky, you’ll get an apartment with only native speakers, so you can improve your English.
I lived at the Suites on Paseo which is a few minutes walk from SDSU. However, the rooms are very small, have no kitchen and are shared. A single room is extremely expensive there. I shared a room with someone and paid $450 a month with at least another $150 to pay for the on-site canteen. This meal plan includes 5 meals a week, but the food there leaves a lot to be desired. For me, the Suites on Paseo was enough and compared to other accommodations it was the cheapest.
If you want to surf regularly and live close to the beach, I recommend Pacific Beach or Mission Beach. There you can rent houses with other students. However, rents here do not go under $700. In general, one should plan that rents vary widely and can range from $450 to $1200. So you should know where you want to live and what you are willing to pay. However, if you don’t live in the college area, you should note that a car is required to get to the university. The bus and tram connections are poorly developed and do not run at all times. They also take a lot more time. Almost everyone had a car that was shared with other students. Many things are not possible without a car, you should know that. Many places cannot be reached without a car,
The university has a very nice campus and you can see very quickly why you pay such an amount to the university. The university is very well equipped, the library has uncomplicated scanners, copiers, printers, etc. There is a 24/7 area where you can stay and learn at any time. You can also use the university gym and swimming pool at any time free of charge. There are many leisure activities that you can find out about at the beginning of the semester. The university has a food court, but the food there is quite overpriced and doesn’t always taste good.
Since I’m a master’s student and wanted to have a complete semester in Bremen recognized, I had to choose 3 master’s courses with 3 units each. 3 units corresponded to 10 CPs and that was justified. The courses are much smaller and more reminiscent of school days. However, this makes the lessons much more personal, much more interactive and informal. You have more or less a personal relationship with the professor, which you can already tell from the fact that you are always addressed by your first name. I had a course with Americans, the other two courses were exclusively for international students, ie I was only in the courses with Germans and Danes. The teaching style and effort compared to German universities is completely different. one is stopped to learn. In almost every course, oral participation in class makes up a certain proportion of the final grade. In addition, the usual midterm exams, which ask about the subject matter in the middle of the semester, must be observed. In addition, various group presentations are planned for each course, as well as individual term papers, analysis of case studies, etc. There are also final exams in each course. It’s a lot of work and can be very stressful. Therefore, you should plan everything in good time and get your work done. You are forced to meet deadlines. If you make enough effort and work continuously, good grades can also be achieved. However, it’s important to know that SDSU doesn’t give them for free and they really have to be earned.
Nevertheless, the quality of teaching is much better than at my home university. A lot of current topics and practical examples are dealt with and discussed in detail. The lessons are more practical and not just memorizing theoretical content. I learned a lot this semester and I would almost like to say that this one semester trumped several years at my home university in terms of the learning effect.
Overall, I had a very great and outstanding time in San Diego. Of course, all the excursions and weekend trips made this even more exciting. The semester brought me a lot further – interculturally, personally and also socially. The teaching from first class professors was brilliant. However, I would have liked more contact with Americans, at least the university should be suitable for this, but it was also made more difficult because of the courses that were only set up for international students. Speaking English consistently is a bit difficult in San Diego due to the extremely high number of Germans and difficult contact with Americans. In my experience, it takes a lot of nerves to maintain relationships with Americans.
However, the organizational stress at the beginning is quickly forgotten once you have settled in in San Diego. The semester was expensive, but it was worth it in every way. Groceries are generally more expensive, as is the food in restaurants and bars, which can quickly escalate due to the special tip philosophy. However, one should not miss the restaurant chains such as Cheesecake Factory, Olive Garden, Phil’s BBQ, Domino’s. But other things like the car and petrol are cheap. In general, you should watch out for the “fines”, as the fines pay many times more than in Germany and are very disproportionate (be it for loud parties, driving too fast, crossing the traffic light at a red light or throwing garbage on the street)..
The city is absolutely recommendable and I definitely had “The time of my life”. It’s a different world, which is exactly why I chose it and not Europe. You get to know a lot of people who can become real friends. I would return anytime and wish everyone an exciting and exciting time in California.