University: San Diego State University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: marketing
Study type: semester abroad
- Selection of the foreign university
Before the journey can start, the destination must be determined. Personally, it quickly became clear to me that I wanted to go to San Diego. The first decision I made was that I would go to the USA. All other countries were directly excluded because I always wanted to travel to the USA. I was particularly interested in exploring American culture, experiencing the “American Dream”, exploring the diverse national parks, American university life. The question of whether it’s really like we know from stories made me curious, and the Californian weather, the unique opportunity to live on the beach, the pictures of the university, the good reputation of San Diego State University, the Proximity to many places of interest and the enthusiastic students who just came back from San Diego and told us about their incredible semester, convinced me of San Diego. See liuxers for is there an ideal SAT score.
But what I wasn’t sure at first was whether I really wanted to do a semester abroad. The long separation from friends and family, the distance from home, the change in everyday life and language barriers scared me. I was always one of those who said: “I will never leave here!”. This has completely changed after my five months in San Diego. I can anticipate this much: It was the best five months of my life! I have never been able to collect so many new experiences and impressions at once and I would do it again at any time.
- Registration and application
Registration and application was fairly straightforward via MicroEdu. A company that is available to you free of charge and supports you throughout your stay. Here is the link to the “CoCo” homepage: https: //www.MicroEdu.com/. I sent an e-mail to express my interest in a semester at the SDSU without obligation. After initial contact with a CoCo employee, I received information about the university, the application process and the course of the semester very quickly and easily. I then received an e-mail with application deadlines and a checklist that describes in detail what you have to do by when for the semester abroad.If you have any questions, the agency is always available to help.
- Leave contact details with MicroEdu and await information
- Complete the application (on the SDSU homepage with the help of the CoCo guide), proof of the bank (confirmation that you have enough money), proof of English (DAAD), contact form, copy of the passport ► send everything to CoCo
- Wait for the confirmation
- book flight
- Apply for a visa (make an appointment at the embassy and go to Berlin to introduce yourself there. CoCo also has very precise guidelines for this.)
- take out foreign insurance
- Clarify organizational matters ( accommodation for the first few days, mobility)
- Course offer and course selection
The range of courses at SDSU is huge. It is possible to choose very different courses. These do not always have to correspond to pure business administration courses. It is important that you have a total of 12 American units (credit points). First and foremost, the visa requires this number of units from you. As a rule, the subjects have three units. However, some marketing subjects make up four units. The sports courses that are available give one unit each.
Before you are in America you will receive an e-mail saying that you can now choose the courses. Danger! You have to be quick here. The popular courses are booked up quickly and you have to fall back on other courses. Lecturers and lecture times will be listed when you choose. You can check how the lecturers conduct their lessons beforehand on “Rate my Professor” http: //www.ratemyprofessors.com/. You give a total of four preferences. As a rule, you will then take two of your four desired subjects. On site, it is then a matter of registering for the remaining subjects. Either you “crash” a course or you choose other “special sessions”. The special sessions often fill up very quickly. Be quick and bring patience.Those who are flexible in terms of course times have a better chance of getting into the course. When crashing you have the great advantage that you can go to the American classes. Unlike the Special Sessions, which are only open to international students. But with crashing you have the problem that all Americans are allowed to register for ANY course and after a trial period of about two weeks they decide which course they want to go to. In addition, the professor gives “permission” to each participant of his course to join. If the courses are full shortly before the end of the crash, you have to look for another course.
Since the offer of the special sessions appealed to me, I chose three special sessions and a sports course. I took Global Marketing, Selling Strategy, Business Plan and Surfing.
4 credits, Mr. Saghafi
In the end, I really, really liked Mr. Saghafi. At first, however, it took a little getting used to. He expects a lot of commitment and the tests are quite demanding. However, attendance is not compulsory here. I learned the most in this subject by far.
4 credits, Mr. Ossinski
Mr. Ossinski was a very funny and knowledgeable lecturer. I really liked the subject and I learned a lot. The effort is less than in the other subjects.
3 credits, Mrs. King
This subject requires a lot of initiative. There is a lot of homework and homework to do. Unfortunately, viewed effectively, I didn’t learn as much as I did in the other subjects.
1 credit, Mission Bay Aquatic Center
I really enjoyed the course. However, you are on your own here. The leaders of the course are not really competent in teaching surfing.
- Arrival and mobility
I booked the return flight together about four months before departure. If you book both flights together, you usually pay less. I paid 1300€. But it is cheaper if you book earlier or are more flexible in your travel dates. However, you are then no longer flexible as far as the return date is concerned. This meant that I rebooked again on site and a rebooking fee of $130 was added. We landed in Los Angeles and stayed there for two nights. We continued with the “Pacific Surfliner”. This is a train that runs daily from LA to San Diego. We paid about $30 per person. This was the cheapest alternative to get to San Diego.
For the first week we already booked a hostel in Point Loma from home. I can only recommend the hostel. It was very clean and idyllic. But it is a bit out of the way. The first day we rented a car. However, we chose the wrong car rental company and spent more money than necessary. You should book with Dirt Cheap Car Rental. For students under 25 this is the cheapest car rental.
San Diego offers many different housing options. You have to decide first what suits you best. You could live on campus, i.e. directly at the university. There are a few links from CoCo that will take you directly to a student residence. This is pretty straightforward. Everything is already organized in advance and the guarantee of getting to know many studentsis also ensured. Such student dormitories are also available in other parts of San Diego. The disadvantage of such units is that you have to follow the owners’ regulations exactly and the apartments are often not really nice or well equipped. Of course you can also look for your own apartment or house for the time being. The advantage here is that you choose where and with whom you move into a house and it is then really “your” house for the time being. However, it is recommended to first look for houses on site, as agencies on the Internet are often dubious and you sometimes pay money for apartments that do not match the descriptions or that do not even exist. However, there is a risk that you will not find what you are looking for on site. So there are pros and cons to both variants.
The most popular residential areas:
- La Jolla – very beautiful, but also very expensive and quiet area, a bit out of the way
- Pacific Beach – bars, restaurants, shops in the immediate vicinity
- Mission Beach – like Pacific Beach, just not quite as many clubs in this neighborhood
- Ocean Beach – a mix between Point Loma and Mission Beach
- Point Loma – A little further away from the action
- Downtown – “fancy” clubs and restaurants are located here
- SDSU – many dormitories are close to campus, area off campus not as busy and not as “nice”
Locations 1 – 5 are near the beach. Downtown (6) and the SDSU (7) are further away from the beach. In areas 6 and 7 there is also the fact that there is not so much going on here and you have to rely on public transport or a car for leisure activities. Because of this, I wouldn’t recommend moving downtown. Not only the beach, but also the university is not within walking distance. So you have to answer the question of whether you would rather live on the beach or near the university. If you choose places 1 – 5, you will also have to rely on public transport or a car to get to the university. I knew I wanted to live on the beachand top beach locations include Pacific and Mission Beach (2+3). There is a lot going on here and everything is within walking distance.
Since I was going to San Diego with two friends, we were looking for a house that met our expectations and our price range. We looked at “Craigslist” among other things and walked down EVERY street in Pacific and Mission Beach and called the landlords who had put up signs on their houses. After day 3 we found our house. A small beach cottage with 2 bedrooms and a living room. It was located on the Pacific Beach border, but was still part of Mission Beach. The German standard is not comparable to the apartments there, which corresponded to our price range. We had to get used to it first. However, we were very satisfied with our choice and happy that we were able to realize our personal dream of “living on the beach”.. Rent rates have skyrocketed in San Diego lately. We paid cold $2500 plus about $200 additional charges. That means we were at almost $900 a month per person. Danger! It is often the case that the prices for rents fall after the summer phase. That’s why we didn’t move into the house until September 1st. For the three weeks before that, the landlord offered us to move into a small apartment. This was very overpriced and much too small for three people. However, since we had no choice and didn’t want to raise $5000 for the house in August, we had to go with this solution. That’s why we were all the happier when we could finally move into our house. After moving into the house, we furnished everything to our liking and felt very comfortable in the four months.It was definitely the right decision for us to move into our own house. We got to know many Americans from our neighborhood, had our own little kingdom and were sometimes able to accommodate one, two or more visitors.
- Costs and Funding
The cost is the only downside to the whole semester abroad in San Diego. The tuition fees as well as the cost of living and leisure activities are not exactly cheap. How much you spend is of course up to you to a certain extent, especially when it comes to leisure activities and travel planning. I have made a cost breakdown for my time which you can see here.
- Groceries: 746€
- Car: 677€
- Mobile: 131€
- University: 105€
- Other: 140€
- Travel: €4,077
- Flight: €1,400
- University Fees: €6,529
- Preparation: 300€
- Total: €16,545
- Funding Opportunities
I wanted to experience as much as possible during the time on site and I recommend this to you too. That’s why I advise you to apply for scholarships or BAföG. I myself was fortunate to receive two scholarships. On the one hand the “Sparkassen-Stipendium”, which is unique, and on the other hand the “Ostfalia Residence Scholarship”, which is available to you monthly during your studies on site. There is also the possibility to apply to “PROMOS”. A simple self-written application is sufficient for all scholarships. In addition, some additional documents are required.
- Cultural experiences
As mentioned at the beginning, it was very important to me to get to know American culture better and to actively participate in American life. I have to say that I personally didn’t expect so many differences to German culture. In California in particular, people are very open. I was constantly approached by strangers and asked how I was doing. At first I found it a bit strange, but after a short time I began to like the way we treated each other. So making small talk is much more pronounced in America than it is here. I often met a lot of new people in the supermarket or while walking on the beach. They often also have helpful tips ready for life in San Diego.You just have to go with it and try to keep an open mind. I really miss the openness of the Americans here in Germany. I’ve never ridden here with a complete stranger and I don’t get to meet new people every day. It was very different there. I quite simply got to know a lot of new people with whom I could go around the house in the evenings.
Personally, I didn’t like American food culture at all. Fast food is available on every corner and is relatively cheap. However, restaurants and healthy food are very expensive. In the supermarkets, everything is aimed at the “lazy” people. Ready-packaged bread boxes, ready-made salad and much more. That’s why we cooked ourselves as often as possible. We have been looking for the right supermarket for a long time. We’ve found Sprouts to be the cheapest for fresh foods like fruit and veg, and Ralphs for everything else. If you buy large quantities, I recommend “Food4Less”.
What I also found very interesting about America was the extreme differences. On the one hand, it’s the landscapes that fascinate me. From various deserts to huge flowering meadows. Miles of roads in the middle of the desert, roads along the coast. On the other hand, it’s the people. There’s an incredible amount of sport going on in California. As far as nutrition is concerned, however, they sin permanently and seem somewhat unenlightened. In the clubs, the dress code “less is more” usually applies, but everyone went to the sauna in a complete sports outfit. Alcohol is very heavily searched, but to use marijuana most people have a medical certificate that allows them to use it. I didn’t expect such stark differences. Some of the points were also very strange for me. But after initial reluctance, I’ve learned to deal with it.
- Linguistic and personal development
The linguistic development is clearly recognizable. Not only did I learn new vocabulary and colloquial expressions, but above all I lost my fear of speaking English. Even if the grammar wasn’t always quite right, you dare to speak. Also, I now find it much easier to understand people who speak English. Adjusting to American English and the different dialects of each individual was difficult at first. But don’t worry, after the first month you will notice a significant improvement. My English wasn’t very good before the stay and that was one of the things that worried me at first. But it’s a lot easier than you might imagine. Just talk, talk and talk and just don’t withdraw. That the five months in San Diego will help me improve my language skills was a major goal of the entire semester. But I didn’t expect that these months would allow me to surpass myself in so many ways. The change in life was very extreme and everything was new. I’ve never lived in a shared flat before. I have never bought a car myself and then sold it again. I have never been away from my family for more than 3 weeks. Being on my own for once, without family and friends, was good for me. I needed to meet new people. Above all, I learned how to respond to different people. Other cultures require a different approach. But living with the girls also showed me how to deal better with stress among each other and that there is a way out of every situation.
The stay taught me that there is more to life than just work, university or money. Californians live to live and I took that with me. It was the best decision of my life, even though I had so many doubts at first. All I can say to you is DO IT! You will not regret it. I have never experienced, seen and learned so much in such a short time. I will always rave about my time in San Diego. These are memories that no one can take away from you.
If you have any questions or need to speak, feel free to contact me at any time
(email address can be obtained from MicroEdu).