University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Since I always wanted to live in the USA, at least temporarily, a semester abroad was the perfect opportunity to realize this dream. The entire process takes some time, so you should deal with the topic at an early stage and decide on a university as a first step. Although my home university offers individual places in an exchange program, they are quite popular and therefore difficult to get. For this reason, I have decided to take the step as a “free mover” and use the support and service of MicroEdu. For one thing, my dream destination was California and on the other hand, I completed the semester abroad at the end of my master’s degree, so that the choice was more limited due to the range of courses. The many positive reports (also from acquaintances and fellow students) as well as the comparatively humane tuition fees led to the decision in favor of San Diego State University. See liuxers for how to open a bank account in Portugal.
First of all, I would like to say that it was absolutely the right decision to do the whole thing with MicroEdu and I can recommend the service without reservation. If you have any questions, you get immediate feedback, you have friendly contact persons, all the information can be found on the homepage and there is also a comprehensive “application guide” in which all the steps are explained. The entire process went absolutely smoothly and I was quickly accepted after submitting my application documents.
Two central documents for the application are the financial proof and a language certificate for a corresponding level. In terms of finances, you had to prove $13,500. This is usually relatively easy to obtain from the bank and can be covered either by your own funds, by family members or through the Bafög. You should therefore be clear about the financing at an early stage, otherwise the application process cannot start. With regard to the language certificate, I opted for the DAADlanguage certificate, which can be carried out at most universities free of charge or for a fee of 30-40 €. Here you have to prove a C1 level.
If the first steps have been successfully mastered, you have to take care of the visa in the embassy of your choice (Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin). I was in Berlin and was only asked what I would like to do in the USA and what I am studying – so it was more of a formality.
Arrival / Arrival
We already booked the flight before we had the visa. We arrived on August 11th, a few days before the first information day on August 15th. I can absolutely recommend that, because you can acclimatize and explore your new home. For the first week we had booked the “Lucky D’s Hostel” downtown because the actual accommodation was not yet available. It later turned out that this hostel was apparently THE place to go for international classes and we met almost all of our friends there in San Diego in the first week.
The choice is yours: on campus, near campus, or on the beach. All options have their advantages and disadvantages. Based on many recommendations, we chose the BLVD63 complex, which is located in the College Area. Basically, I can absolutely recommend living there: the apartments are great, there are two pools, a gym, a university shuttleetc. BUT be careful with the duration of the contract! We wanted to have everything clarified beforehand and therefore exchanged views with potential roommates via various FB groups and concluded a rental agreement together, which all works online. We were told that there are only 1-year contracts, which we have already read on the internet. So it was clear that at the end of the semester you would have to look for a new tenant yourself. Ultimately, however, it was more difficult than expected and just incredibly annoying and stressful. Here I can say very clearly: I would never sign such a contract again! On site, it then turned out that many had received a 6-month contract because they had only asked shortly before the start of the semester or even simply followed up without prior clarification San Diego and signed the contract directly at BLVD. In summary: BLVD63 yes, 1-year contract never again! Don’t be intimidated by the fact that you can’t find accommodation. In the end, there was still enough vacancy in the BLVD and even if you want to live on the beach, it’s much better to find one locally.
Basically, a distinction must be made between the special courses (only for international students) and the normal courses. The former have to be selected in advance so that you can be sure of getting them. The special courses are much lower in level, but the selection is limited and you have to see what you get credited for in Germany. The normal courses are chosen during the introductory week. It should be noted that the American students have already enrolled at that time and there are only remaining places. In most cases, however, this is absolutely not a problem if you have 2-3 potential courses in mind. I chose two special and one normal course.
Special: Strategic Brand Management (Kristine Ehrich)
Nice professor, interesting content, manageable amount of work and great grades
Special: Seminar in World Business Environment (Lily Zhou)
Probably the craziest course I ever took at university. Completely against any typical structure and at times one wonders why one is there at all. The degree of difficulty tends towards 0 and almost everyone got an A without any problems.
Normal: Financial Management 2 (Frank Ryan)
By far the most workload of my courses. Weekly assignments, four quizzes, two exams and a simulation project. 90% of the time I had to spend at university was on this course. However, it has to be said that the professor is very nice and wants to teach the students a lot (also from his life as an entrepreneur). In the end, the grading was better than expected.
Life in San Diego is awesome ! The city has so much to offer: different beaches like Coronado or Pacific Beach, the Gaslamp Quarter downtown with many bars or historic districts like Oldtown. That Americans are crazy about sports is nothing new, so as a student you can attend all football, basketball and soccer games of the college teams for free. Despite all the options, there’s the catch that everything in the US is incredibly expensive. You should definitely be aware of this, although you get used to it over time.
Nevertheless, it is highly recommended to travel as much as possible and to start as early as possible. Everyone has the thought “I can still do it, I still have time”, but you will notice how time flies and suddenly you just don’t have any more time.
We’ve traveled a lot and seen a lot of incredible places. For me, however, Yosemite National Park and New York were the most impressive.
All in all, the time in San Diego was definitely the best of my life! I gained so many new impressions and can only recommend the experience of a semester abroad to everyone. In particular, the sunny Cali lifestyle is unique.