University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Location: San Diego State University is located in the College Area, where you have everything your heart desires: Lots of shopping, on and near campus, as well as close proximity to movie theaters, malls, and the beach. With a vehicle or Uber you are at the beach in 15-20 minutes (depending on which one you go to). SDSU has its own trolley station which you can use to go downtown very cheaply. Around 35,000 other students study with you and the campus is gigantic compared to the HSG! The university has various classic sports clubs under the name “Aztecs” such as in football, basketball, soccer, etc. where you as an SDSU student can go to all sporting events for free and cheer on the Aztecs with red and black paint. See liuxers for how to open a UK bank account.
Through ALI you get to know many international students, not only from Germany, but also from Sweden, Holland, Finland, Denmark, Italy, Spain, France, etc. The English-speaking exchange students are with a different program at SDSU, which is why you almost only at house parties in the college area or in the non-ALI classes. The American students are very friendly and like to form study groups to prepare for the exams.
ALI (American Language Institute) infrastructure: 24h fitness (free membership through ALI), 24h library, computer, water sports, free printing in the ALI building, Zahn Innovation Center, Aquaplex (swimming pool and jacuzzi)
At San Diego State University, different course types must be distinguished. First, there is the difference between General courses, which include all non-business subjects, and Business courses, which include all College of Business Administration courses. Business courses are in Accounting (ACCTG), Business Administration (BA), Finance (FIN), Management (MGT), Management Information Systems (MIS) and Marketing (MKTG).
On the other hand, there are so-called special session courses for the business courses because they are very popular. Such special session courses are additional business courses that are only offered to exchange students. Two of these special session courses must be chosen when registering for the university and cannot be dropped. Further courses are chosen on site. You only have access to the system after the regular students and are therefore at a disadvantage compared to the American students. However, all of us got all the courses we wanted. Tip: ALI will give you the date from which to vote – it unlocks at midnight and if your class still has spaces then you’ll definitely make it in, maybe not at the best time.
Human Resource Management and Management and Organizational Behavior (6 credits each) –> Special Session
HRM (MGT 352) is a very instructive course with three exams of four chapters each, various mini quizzes, group work, a group presentation and attendance control. In terms of content, you take a lot with you, because you get to know the American system optimally. The course also helps in practical terms, since a US-compatible CV is created as an assignment, as well as a linked-in profile. The teacher is strict but fair. It is advisable to bring a suit (for the presentation).
Lecturer: Tanya Hertz, grade: B+, effort: large
MGMT & Org. Behavior (BA 350) consists of a group presentation and a practical project. You start a company and pursue a goal. However, the manner varies from semester to semester. At the beginning, an executive team is chosen (if you take part, you have an A for sure, you are always present and you do a good job).
Lecturer: Lily Zhou Grade: A, Effort: low (executive team)
Fundamentals of Finance (6 Credits, BA 323) –> Special Session
In terms of content, the lessons are rather boring. But since attendance is mandatory, you have to go. The exams (total 3) are rather difficult. However, the grades are usually corrected upwards at the end of the semester. It is best to use the book as a guide and solve the exercises. While the first two exams were based primarily on such exercises in the book, the last exam was surprisingly made more difficult by theoretical questions.
Lecturer: Kamal Haddad, grades: A-, effort: large
Reasoning (6 credits, COMM 160)
This course was by far the most useful. You’re on a course with Americans and you have to constantly stand in front of the class and present something. This starts with an Introduction Speech and continues with Impromtu Speeches up to a Self Platform Speech. However, the lecturer has mentioned that she will fundamentally change the syllabus. Since many courses are only with exchange students (mostly Germans), this course is perfect for improving your English skills.
Lecturer: Shanika Cureton, grade: A, effort: rather large
Introduction to Civil Engineering (2 credits, CIVE100)
There are no exams in this course, just assignments. The assignments are not evaluated. It’s just a matter of whether you submitted it or not. All start with an A. At the end of each lesson, attendance is checked using iClicker.
Lecturer: John Prince Grade: A, Effort: low
Intermediate Microeconomics (6 credits, ECON 321)
This course is creditable as Micro II. The rest of the credits go back to the electives. The course is extremely interesting and fully related to the USA. You have 3 exams and an optional final. The final serves to replace the worst of the 3 exams. If the final is the worst, that grade will be discarded. You are allowed to take a sheet of paper written on one side and a pocket calculator with you for each exam. From time to time there is homework and attendance checks.
Lecturer: Steven Rockland, grade: B+, effort: large
The relationship with the lecturers is much more relaxed than in Switzerland. You can call everyone by their first names. In order to get in contact with local students, we recommend that you do as little as possible in the special session area. The exchange students are extremely isolated. This is where the on-campus courses (reasoning) come in handy. I also recommend choosing non-business courses, as they often involve less effort and are a good change of pace. It was quite surprising to me that we had a large workload for almost every course. If you prepare for the exams, you will get a very good grade accordingly.
The application goes through MicroEdu. The agency handles everything, collects the documents and is very helpful with questions. A TOEFL is sufficient as proof of language proficiency, but also a CAE.
Visa for Swiss citizens
You get a form from the university, which is the basis for the visa application. A form can be filled out on the Internet, which then makes it possible to pay the fees. After receipt of payment, an appointment can be made. Then you have to go to Bern. It is important that you have all the documents with you (to be on the safe side). I waited 2 hours to then quickly say where I want to go. They didn’t look at any documents and didn’t want to know anything. Others, however, have been pretty much taken apart.
It is recommended to do a road trip before the university starts. On the one hand it gets very cold in December and on the other hand there is a lot going on in San Diego during the semester, so that there is almost no time for longer trips. It’s also nice to see nearby cities like Las Vegas or LA more than once.
If you fly direct to San Diego, we can recommend British Airlines with a stopover in London. Entry with a student visa is possible 30 days before the start of the university. An ESTA is required for everything before that. Entering Canada or Mexicois very easy with the American student visa. For the return journey, however, the so-called I-20 should not be forgotten, since the student visa is only valid with it. Therefore, all documents (visa, etc.) must be in your hand luggage on the trip.
San Diego – United States
San Diego is a beautiful city and fulfills the Californian dream of sun, fun and big city feeling. There is no need to worry about the weather in San Diego because it is always sunny. Thus, one can also have endless fun by going to one of the many beautiful beaches (Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach, La Jolla, Coronado etc.), enjoying the sunset at Sunset Cliffs, either in the Gaslamp Quarter or Pacific Beach (especially on Taco Tuesday) or visit other attractions like the zoo or SeaWorld.
Additionally, San Diego is very well located for anyone wanting to travel around. Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas are all very close cities and Mexico is just a short hop from San Diego. There are many stories about Mexico that are scary on the one hand, but also partly true. We went to Mexico twice and had no problems at all. We therefore recommend a trip to Mexico, but just be careful and having a native Spanish speaker with you is highly recommended.
- A passport or an American driver’s license (can be ordered from ALI) is required for all clubs and bars.
- 2 a.m. is the end of the day and all clubs and bars close.
- Contact lenses are only available with a doctor’s certificate.
- Uber and Lyft are the most convenient means of transportation. Public transport is almost non-existent or very cumbersome, with the exception of the trolley.
- California is a very open state. The people are extremely friendly and educated (probably because the majority of people live there. Haha.)
- Driving in the US is extremely easy. There’s practically only automatic, which is like go-karting. The most important rules: Stop (the first drives), turning right is always possible, only park in the direction of travel).
If you choose San Diego, you are not choosing the cheapest place for a semester abroad. The tuition fee is $7215, which is pretty fair by American standards. The price of an accommodation depends entirely on the location and the type (single/ shared) of the accommodation. According to our friends, rent is somewhere between $500 – $1300. To pay rent or other bills, we recommend opening an American bank account to avoid additional fees. An account can be opened on campus in a few seconds and very easily. The cost of living are similar to those in Switzerland. However, if you travel around a lot and want to experience something, you also spend significantly more than at home. According to our calculations you have to reckon with a budget of $25’000-$30’000.
I lived on Fraternity Row on campus. For me this was the best option as I didn’t want to buy a car. One is right across from the fitness center and also near the pool with hot tub. The Special Session courses are held at the Gateway Center, which is also very close to Fraternity Row. The entire campus is easily accessible with a longboard or skateboard. It’s worth buying one. With the student ID, a semester ticket can be bought, which is valid for buses and trains. Since the trolley station is right on campus, it’s worth it. The only disadvantage of this residential area is that it takes a good 1 hour to get to the beach (with public transport).
In conclusion, it can be said that this exchange was the best experience at the HSG. The campus is gigantic and in many areas more comfortably equipped than the HSG (opening hours library and fitness). It’s a pity that you’re taught in isolation from the Americans in the special session courses.