University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
1. Preparation and Arrival…
» UNIVERSITY CHOICE
In the university’s own procedure, I was not offered an exchange place at a university in the USA. I then decided to go to the USA as a freemover. MicroEdu has been a huge help in this. The process was free of charge for me and my contact person was always available and helpful. The deadline for the SDSU is very early – you should be aware of that. See liuxers for how to open a US bank account.
Basically, as a free mover, you are discriminated against in comparison to the exchange students. For example, free movers don’t get a buddy, they have to choose special sessions from a very limited range (see below) and their Orientation Week is a short version.
If you are unsure about the high number of Germans in San Diego: There are actually felt to be thousands of German students in San Diego. However, it has been my experience that this is true at all universities in California. For example, I met German exchange students from San Marcos who reported the same thing. If you still want to go to California, go to San Diego. The location, weather, university and city are unbeatable here.
Be sure to apply for the PROMOS scholarship. The application is very easy and the probability of being accepted is not that small. Worth it. Find out about the deadline in good time. I only found out on the very last day and almost missed it.
» HOSTEL CHOICE
If you are looking for accommodation on site, simply book a hostel for a period that is long enough in any case. Cancellations are usually possible at short notice. I can recommend Banana Bungalow and the hostel in Ocean Beach. Lucky D’s was a bit stressful when looking for an apartment (very noisy because it’s in the middle of downtown and difficult parking). I myself had only booked 7 nights at Lucky D’s and then had to pay for an expensive hotel until I could move into the shared apartment.
» RENT A CAR
Reserve a car in the cheapest category for at least a week at Dirt Cheap Car in advance. If you arrive in mid-August, all cheap cars will usually be gone. If you rent a car for a week, you can always extend it.
» CHOICE OF ACCOMMODATION
Basically, I can definitely recommend looking for accommodation from Germany. I didn’t do it myself because everyone advised against it. Since looking for an apartment on site was quite stressful, I would probably look for something from Germany. A friend of mine was looking for an apartment for four people from Germany through a German agency, paid commission, but had a nice and inexpensive apartment right on the beach in MB right from the start.
I lived in a house in Pacific Beach three blocks from the beach with two Germans and three Scandinavians. I found my room on Facebook. I paid 750 USD for my shared room. In PB I was very happy – even if I had to go to university four days a week. Whether a shared room is fun depends very much on the roomie.
In the college area I can recommend the BLVD63, another friend lived there. It’s new, cheaper than PB/MB, has a few Americans living there, is close to uni, has regular shuttles, and has a lot of house parties. However, it reminded me a lot of a hotel complex on Mallorca. Personally, I would go to the beach again and again.
Tip: I’ve only heard negative things about the homestay, many families seem to see the students purely as a source of income.
- Studies at the host university…
» THE SDSU IS FUN : -)
Studying at SDSU is a lot more fun than at home. I loved going to the university every day – even if the way back to PB was even better. The American level is relatively low and the workload is still consistently high, but the campus is simply beautiful, the high effort pays off directly and much more of what you have learned sticks with you through tests and projects during the semester.
» COURSE SELECTION AS A FREEMOVER
As a freemover, you choose two special sessions in advance. There is a limited offer here with only internationals participating. Here I would ONLY choose the mandatory number. The right courses, which Americans also take part in, are much more interesting and meaningful. In the special sessions you will almost exclusively meet Germans and Scandinavians.
Tip: If you are really dissatisfied with a course right from the start, dare to switch. I received great support from my home university and was very satisfied with my final choice of course. Check the professors’ ratings in advance (ratemyprofessors.com).
Another tip: You need permission to crash a course from the business administration department. In order to get this permission, you have to register online for a shift where you can pray for permission. You have to register online for these shifts. You will receive the information for this in the Orientation Week. Be very quick when registering. I registered immediately after activation and was still too late to get to the first shift. As a result, I could not crash one of my desired courses.
- Everyday life and free time…
» WHAT I WOULD DO DIFFERENT…
I would get involved in the GAA initiative right from the start. There you will get to know Americans, with a bit of luck you can celebrate Thanksgiving with an American family and as a free mover you will also get your own buddy. Also, I would travel to Mexico to party in August, since it’s still “seasonal” then. Basically, I would travel a lot, especially at the beginning of the semester. In the end, studying becomes more stressful.
» WHAT I PARTICULARLY LIKED…
… was a trip to the desert with Aztec Adventures. There we slept in the great outdoors, went hiking and fought our way through various caves. It was worth the price. All other leisure activities in San Diego and the surrounding area should be known;-)
I spent around USD 1,000 a month on housing and a rental car, including parking and gas. I shared the rental car with my roommate. Groceries are very expensive compared to Germany, but still very cheap compared to NYC, for example. Reward cards, for example from Ralphs and Vons, are worthwhile (ask for them at the checkout). Books are also very expensive. We recommend e-books that you can buy together with other students. Then a book will only cost 5 USD instead of 200 USD. I borrowed some books from Amazon and sent them back at the end of the semester. That worked without any problems. Shopping is relatively cheap, but this also depends heavily on the dollar exchange rate. Traveling can also be cheap if you travel with several people and use airbnb, for example. But it can also be very expensive eg when Hawaii is on the agenda. In total, you should expect at least 1500 USD per month, of course there is no upper limit. ThatIn my experience, life on the beach is significantly more expensive than in the college area.
» USE THE TIME
Enjoy the time right from the start, because it is far too short. Arrive as early as possible and leave as late as possible. It is best to only book the outward flight in good time. Then you are flexible when and from where you fly home. San Diego is a beautiful city with just so many options. I would choose the SDSU again at any time.