University: San Diego State University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Communication sciences, journalism, media management
Study type: semester abroad
I spent the winter semester 2015/2016 at San Diego State University. In Germany, I’m studying the bachelor’s degree “Communication and Multimedia Management” at the Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences. Due to the rarity of this course and the unusual course content, it is generally quite difficult to find a suitable university abroad whose courses are recognized at the German university. However, I knew from fellow students who had studied at SDSU in the past that it offered a variety of suitable courses. In addition, the department “Journalism and Media” (as part of General Studies), where I took the courses, is nationally known and awarded. After submitting a selection of American courses to my home university, my semester abroad was approved. See jibin123 for Singapore higher education.
The application process itself is quite simple, as MicroEdu will send you an exact list of the documents to be submitted, which you can then compile bit by bit. MicroEdu also checks the documents for completeness and correctness before they are sent to the SDSU. All I had to do was fill out and submit the necessary forms, proof of eligibility to cover the costs incurred get and fulfill an English test with level C1. The proof at the bank could be filled out quite quickly, as I had worked a lot in previous years and saved up so that my account had the necessary amount. Unlike most other students, I wasn’t able to take the English test through my university, but I could be tested by an examiner at a language school in Düsseldorf for little money. I sent all the documents to MicroEdu at the beginning of the application period in autumn 2014 and just a few weeks later I received the acceptance from America. In the spring of 2015, of course, I had to apply for a visa and have it issued in Frankfurt, take out international health insurance and the transfer tuition fees. I took out health insurance through the ADAC, which is much cheaper for members than alternative international health insurance policies, and I conveniently transferred the tuition fees to my bank by international transfer. These documents were then also reviewed by MicroEdu and forwarded to the SDSU.
I also decided to forgo the SDSU housing offer and wanted to look for accommodation on site first. So I booked my flight for July 25th, even though the first day you had to be at the university wasn’t until August 11th. I got to know another fellow student through a friend who would also go to SDSU at the same time, with whom I planned the flights and everything else. Booking through a travel agent saved us a significant amount of money compared to many other students, which is why I highly recommend it. We landed in San Diego late in the evening and had the hostel for the first few daysRented Lucky D’s downtown for lodging. This is not only cheap, but is also very centrally located in downtown, offers free breakfast and joint activities in the evenings, so that you can already make first contacts. Many of the hostel’s residents were also aspiring SDSU students.
From here we started looking for an apartment in the following days, and we quickly realized that a car was a necessity. We therefore rented a car right from the second day, with which we could then easily drive to the sight-seeing. We then kept the car for the entire semester to drive to the university and to be mobile in general. Through friends who were in San Diego last year, we got the contact details of their old landlord, who invited us directly to the apartment and gave us the promise on the same day. So we had already found permanent accommodation in San Diego on the third day. Most of the other students looked for houses through local rental agencies and then found suitable roommates for them. Since our house was rented until August 15th, we moved into a cheap Airbnb for the meantime, which was very well maintained and clean, so that we felt very comfortable there for the two-week stay.
Our home was in the South Mission Beach neighborhood, close to Belmont Park. It was a small beach house with a large eat-in kitchen, two bedrooms and two bathrooms. I shared the larger bedroom with my fellow student from Düsseldorf, while two male Danes, who we met on site, moved into the smaller bedroom. Since San Diego is a city with very high rental prices, it’s totally common to share a room with someone else. We were paying like $750 a month which is the average price for a house in this location. Overall, I was surprised at how well sharing a room can work out, although I was initially opposed to it.
August 24th was the official first day of lectures and thus the start of course crashing. General Studies students do not receive any confirmation in advance for the desired courses and must first obtain approval from the teaching professor on site. To do this, you go to the first lecture and ask the professor to sign his form in order to be accepted into the course. Because some of the courses are overcrowded, not every student can get the courses they need, so most students were quite tense in the first few weeks of the semester. I ended up only getting two of my first choice courses, but in the end I was more than satisfied with my lectures. I have the subjects Principles of Public Relations, Principles of Advertising, Advertising Creative and Advertising Strategy and Social Media, all of which are appropriate to my field of study and the required courses in Germany. Even if the courses were all very busy, I can only warmly recommend these other students because you learn a lot and the professors are very fair.
Especially in the beginning of the semester, the SDSU tries very hard to welcome the new students, so there are various activities and events where you can get to know the university as well as other students. For example, I took a surfing course at SDSU, which I can only recommend to a limited extent. It is relatively expensive for the whole semester and it makes a lot more sense to buy your own surfboard and teach yourself how to surf. But you also get to know new people very quickly outside of the university and so a large new circle of friends formed very quickly. SDSU sporting events, such as Aztec football and basketball games, are the perfect opportunity to meet new people and experience American culture at the same time.
San Diego is a breathtakingly beautiful city with very diverse areas. For example, the area around Mission or Pacific Beach is located directly on the Pacific and offers miles of sandy beaches. Downtown San Diego, on the other hand, is like a small city with high-rise buildings and a lot of traffic. There is always something new to discover even within San Diego. Aside from San Diego itself, I’ve also traveled to other cities and states. For example, I was in Hawaii, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and visited my former host family from school over Thanksgiving in Florida. Unfortunately, due to exams, I had no other opportunity to go away and so, for example, I didn’t visit any of the famous national parks. I would actually recommend this to anyone and I really regret not having had the experience. However, I am sure
All in all, my semester abroad was a complete success and I am very happy to have had this experience. I would do a semester abroad again at any time and can warmly recommend San Diego and San Diego State University to any student doing so. I’m sure I forgot to tell a lot because there’s just too much to tell. You are welcome to contact me at any time with any questions.