University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Application and preparation:
Since the application deadline is quite early, you should find out early enough when and where you would like to complete a semester abroad. I got the official confirmation in January 2013 and even then the first preparations had to be made. I applied through MicroEdu, which saved me a lot of work in terms of preparation. Not only did the entire application go through the organization, but also any further contact (if you wanted) up to the beginning of the university. I found it very pleasant to always have a German contact person. The communication was always very personal and I never had the feeling that 1000 other students were also looked after by my contact person. I can only recommend everyone to use this organization, because there are no additional costs for you. A checklist was used to explain to me down to the last detail how and what I had to do by when (apply for a visa, get important documents, etc.). See jibin123 for United Kingdom higher education.
On the recommendation of a friend who had also spent his semester abroad in San Diego, I only started looking for an apartment shortly before the trip and made no decision until I had seen the apartment. The Facebook groups (International Housing SDSU Area, International Housing PB/MB) and the Craigslist website, which is very widespread and well-known in America, were very helpful when looking for an apartment. It was clear to me from the start that I didn’t want to live close to the university, but close to the beach. Living on the beach once in a lifetime – a dream. In addition, the average age at the university is very low. At 25, I was one of the elders there. As a master’s student, I only took 3 courses, 2 of which took place in one day. So I only had to be physically present at the university twice a week. After a few days of searching from the hostel, (Here you should choose one that is also in the part of town you are looking for) I decided to move into a house in Pacific Beach with 5 other students. Instead of renting a car for the period of the semester abroad (recommendation: ask Dirt Cheap Car early) or even buying one, I chose the alternative bus and train (150 USD semester ticket) to go to the university. This cost me 20 minutes more travel time (about 1 hour) compared to the car. However, many exchange students and almost all students have a car, so I was usually picked up in the evenings. There was even a Facebook page (MB/PB Car Connection) where you could organize your driving. I was pretty happy with my decision as it saved me a lot of complications. To this one must say that the bus and train system in San Diego is pretty good compared to the rest of America. With the money I saved I bought a famous beach cruiser (bicycle) at Walmart which was great for getting around Pacific Beach and Mission Beach. Most of the people I knew either lived in a house with other exchange students or in housing complexes that are offered especially for students. The most popular residential areas are the SDSU Area, Crown Point, Mission Beach or Pacific Beach. In each one, I want to give you a message that you shouldn’t despair if you can’t find an apartment fast enough. You should also be prepared that 90% of the time you will live with a German exchange student, since 70-80% of the exchange students come from Germany.
Since the SDSU is pretty good at accommodating exchange students, most of the time any questions you might have are answered in some form right from the start. All other questions can best be clarified by email or in the office of the ALI (American Language Institute). Here I made the experience that I was always helped quickly. However, I noticed that the bachelor students probably had more difficulties getting into courses than the master students. In general, it can be said that due to their popularity, marketing, management and finance courses are more difficult to take than business informatics, logistics or mathematics courses. It is important to know that in the bachelor’s program at least two out of four courses (in the master’s one out of three) must be so-called special sessions, This means that these courses are only used by exchange students and are therefore easier to get. These are chosen before the start of the trip. All other course choices will be clarified on site before the start of the semester. You first have to get permission to “crash” certain courses at an official appointment. You introduce yourself to the professor after the first lecture, as you need his signature to take part in the course. This process is based on the fact that regular students have priority in the choice of courses and the number of exchange students presenting must be limited, otherwise some courses would burst at the seams in the first lecture. As a master’s student specializing in logistics, I had no problems here, since all the students were accepted into the course and the rest was just a mere formality. Bachelor students, on the other hand, sometimes despaired when choosing a course. Despite everything, every student has received enough courses to meet the visa requirement for credit points, be it surfing or camping courses. So I recommend every student to be quite open in their choice of courses in case the dream courses don’t work out.
During my stay I made a lot of trips. After choosing the course and moving into the house, I still had a week before the start of the semester. We decided to take a trip to Yosemite National Park. During the semesters we visited friends in Los Angeles (who weren’t entirely happy with their city choice, by the way : )), went skiing to Mammoth Mountain, Mexico (Ensenada and Tijuana), Vegas and the Gran Canyon. If possible, consider a long weekend when choosing a course, so that traveling is really worthwhile, as people tend to underestimate the distances in California. The most common means of transportation here is a rented car.
If I could pack my suitcase again, I would probably take a warm jacket with me instead of a down vest. This has nothing to do with the San Diego weather. It is pleasantly warm almost all the time and a thick sweater is usually enough. However, if you plan to visit San Francisco or the Gran Canyon in December, the jacket comes in handy. Regarding the rest of the suitcase: Since the Californians are quite sporty and casual on the go, I would adapt my suitcase to it. Sports gear is always worth it too. The gym at the university is huge and free for exchange students. It’s also great for jogging on the beach! Don’t forget a chic outfit for Vegas☺ But: leave some space! There are great deals in the outlets…
California is a great state that is really worth visiting. The people are absolutely helpful, always friendly, open and courteous. San Diego was perfect as a place to study: The city is not too big to be everywhere within an hour (compared to Los Angeles is a pure chaos even at night) but big enough to get a certain big city feeling. I would choose San Diego again and again. I could even really imagine living there because of the very high quality of life. When looking for an apartment, definitely prefer the beach areas if the university allows it. Finally, I have to say: Please don’t underestimate the costs you will incur! A shared room alone costs between 650 and 850 USD (regardless of whether it is on the beach or in the university area). Save as much money as possible so that you don’t miss a trip because of the money. You never know how soon you’ll get back to California..