University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: communication sciences
Study type: semester abroad
First of all, I can only say that the four months of the “Fall Semester 2006” in San Diego were absolutely amazing and I can only recommend going to SDSU to everyone. From an academic and personal point of view. See liuxers for what is GMAT.
..is a beautiful, clean and really safe city! It has about 1 million inhabitants and is therefore not too big, but definitely not too small either. Thanks to the trolley (tram) and the bus system, you are well connected to all parts of the city and, apart from trips out of town, if you have lived on campus like I did, you do not necessarily need a car. You can shop really well in Fashion Valley and in the outlet stores a bit out of the way, as well as in Pacific Beach. Some supermarkets are open 24/7, which is really nice. In any case, service is very important to the Americans. Among the top attractions in San Diego are the world-renowned Zoo and Seaworld, well worth the entrance fee! There are also plenty of beaches. La Jolla (San Siego’s prettiest beach) is recommended for surfing and quiet sunning, and Mission, Ocean, and Pacific Beach for beach life. Another tip: Don’t mess with the police! So don’t walk around drunk on the street and drink in the car is also not allowed..
.. in San Diego are culturally very diverse. Every continent is represented here, from South Americans and Afro-Americans to Asians and Europeans. The number of rude people I’ve met in four months in San Diego is close to zero! Everyone there was super German-friendly! For Americans it is always a great experience to meet someone from Europe and it is also a dream of many times to come here. What is striking, however, is that many do not really know what is going on overseas, neither politically nor geographically. I guess that’s due to the gorgeous weather and the distinct entertainment landscape in California, which makes it easy to forget more serious topics, as I found out about myself..;)
The SDSU Campus..
..is also just impressive and very modern and clean. That’s when you realize why you have to pay “a little” more tuition fees (approx. $5100, as of autumn 2006) compared to Germany. The library is huge (with a decent DVD collection..), there are for example several food corners where you can have lunch and the huge Aztec shop, which has tons of SDSU merchandise. The top modern gym has 4(!) basketball/soccer fields, 3 spacious training areas as well as a sauna, climbing wall and soon even a swimming area! In the Hallenstadion, the Cox Arena, in addition to the College Basketball Games (must see), there are always nice concerts and events that have already attracted Britney, Gwen and Bob Dylan to appear.
Courses and credit.
SDSU has a wide range of courses (from nutrition to surfing) with a focus on business and communication. I’m studying applied media studies and could choose from both pools. The first two weeks of university were very stressful because of the course crashes (crashing = begging in;). To give you a little insight: I had 14 courses on my crash list, from which I finally, with a lot of commitment, got my four very good courses (Marketing, International Cinema, Advanced Public Speaking and Sound Editing ). In my opinion, there is a more personal atmosphere in the courses than at German universities, which makes the subject more fun. But at SDSU you had to do a lot more during the week for the university. There is already a lot of homework and 4 courses don’t sound like much at first, but they fill the free time well. In contrast to the people in Münster, who were blessed with an Excel spreadsheet, I felt more like Columbus at the TU Ilmenau, who didn’t know whether anything was recognized at all. But if you coordinate the course selection with the content of your curriculum, you should, like me, get credit for most of the achievements.
..is not necessarily cheap in San Diego. I stayed at the Piedra del Sol Apartments ($645/month), which I can only recommend with a few caveats. They are right on campus (in the middle of the fraternities), which firstly means that you don’t necessarily need a car and secondly that you can fully experience student life away from the university. The apartments are furnished and offer everything you need, but you should apply very early via MicroEdu. Disadvantage of the whole Piedra del Sol story: as a foreigner you can’t live there with Americans. In my opinion, it is particularly important for the 4 months that you have a lot of contact with Americans in order to brush up on your English. I lived with two Germans and an Italian with whom I really got along and made friends and have seen a lot of Cali. The average rent for a room in San Diego is between $500-700. Be sure to arrange accommodation beforehand or be there 2-3 weeks before the start of university and search craigslist.com!
Of course, San Diego has a lot to offer as well!! Thursday, Friday and Saturday are the party days in the college area. It means putting on a proper accent and convincing the bouncers of the frat houses to show a few cool Germans an even cooler party.;) You should have seen what’s going on there (comes quite close to the film templates in some cases..) . Pacific Beach is the part of town to head to if you’re into dancing with a surf vibe. There is really one bar after the other here and the people are easygoing! “Bar and Grill” is the spot to go here!
Downtown San Diego is more chic. You can have a nice meal in the Gaslamp Quarter and then go out on 4th or 5th street very well. The top clubs include “On Broadway”, “Belo” and “Aubergine”. I personally liked Belo best. Hammer the club! Ah well, for the sake of political correctness, don’t ask about “black music”..was smiled at a few times by American friends..it’s called hip hop, rap or R’n’B. After all, Frank Sinatra doesn’t fall under “white music” either, I was informed.
..are the decisive point whether you can do a semester abroad or not. For the funding opportunities from the DAAD to the foreign student loan (in contrast to the domestic student loan, nothing has to be repaid here and the budget limits of the parents are broader) you should definitely apply and see if you get financial support.
Although a semester at San Diego State University is advertised as “Best Buy”, you should expect a total cost of around EUR 10,000 for the semester. My monthly expenses (food, trips, parties, clothes) ranged from around $500-800. Ok, living alone in San Diego and going to university would probably only cost 8,000 euros in total, but you also want to do something and see Cali..
If the dollar rate (1: 1.30, as of December 2006) continues to fall, a semester will of course become cheaper and cheaper.
All in all, I can only say that going to San Diego for a semester abroad was a great experience. Not to mention the weather, travel, entertainment, and shopping that California has to offer! I also had the opportunity to see LA, Las Vegas, San Fran, Yosemite Park, Santa Barbara and Tijuana, Mexico. The only thing that I remembered as a little negative was the somewhat high concentration of Germans at the university and of course the extremely high tuition fees compared to Germany.. In the 4 months I met super nice Americans (and Germans, Italians, Croats, Mexicans, Cambodians etc.) and I have the feeling.
So, if you’re wondering if a semester at San Diego State University is worth the hassle and effort, all I can say is yes, definitely!