University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: psychology
Study type: semester abroad
I did my semester abroad at San Diego State University (SDSU) in California. To get straight to the most important thing: I would do everything exactly the same way again and I would have loved to have added another semester to it. See liuxers for vocational training in France.
I organized my semester abroad with the help of MicroEdu. This made the rather tedious registration procedure much easier. Registration takes place directly via MicroEdu, which is very helpful with the many different and sometimes complicated forms, since everything is in German and you can always contact MicroEdu directly if you have any questions. The staff are extremely helpful. I recommend this website to everyone. You save yourself a lot of trouble!
In addition, when preparing, the earlier the better. Especially if you want to travel to the USA, just applying for the visa is one thing in itself. In addition, you must also submit proof of language skills to the universities in the USA. The universities require the Toefl, but the SDSU also accepted my Cambridge Certificate on request.
There are two different ways to live in San Diego. Either in a dorm close to campus or in a house on the beach. I personally stayed at the Suites on Paseo dorm and recommend it to everyone. Of course it’s nice to have a house on the beach, but then you run the risk of just spending the semester with your roommates. Approximately 300 other students from all over the world live at the Suites on Paseo. Needless to say, there was always something going on there. You can choose to rent a single, double or triple room, all of which have their own bathroom.
The Suites on Paseo has a dining hall that prepares breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Unfortunately, the food hardly changes, so I pretty much ate the same thing for six months. But of course you can also go downtown (about 30 minutes by car) and eat in a restaurant. There is also a super sushi restaurant (RB Sushi) near the Paseo. The Paseo is only a 2 minute walk from the campus, which of course is very convenient.
Another good place to live is Blvd63. This is a huge complex with apartments that can be shared with 3-8 other students. Each apartment has a kitchen and there are two pools in the complex, however it is about a 30 minute walk from campus. However, there is a shuttle that runs to and from campus every 10 minutes. If you decide for the beach house, then definitely stay on Pacific Beach or Mission Beach, that’s where the most happening.
Choosing subjects is a little different than at home. As an exchange student, you have to “crash” the courses you want. That means you have to go to the lecturer on the first day of the unit and ask if there is still a place available. It is best to go to the classroom about 30 minutes before the start of the lesson and get a seat. In almost all of my favorite subjects, the lecturers said that as long as you found a seat in the classroom, you can enroll in the course. At the end of the lesson you go to the lecturer and get a signature. This is the only way to register for the course. Unfortunately, this didn’t work out for all my desired courses, so you have to count on the flexibility of the home university.
In addition, one should not take the required “prerequisites” too seriously. Logically, as an exchange student you cannot have completed the required courses and the lecturers are relatively easygoing when you explain to them that you have taken similar courses at your home university.
I have taken the following courses at SDSU:
- Abnormal Psychology PSY362
- Testing & Measurement PSY370
- Introduction to Social Problems SOC102
- Introduction to Comparative Politics POL S101
Only the first digit is important for course numbers. This indicates the level of the course. For example, the 1 stands for the 1st year of study. By the way, I can teach everyone the subject SOC102 with Dr. Recommend Gauss. An incredibly exciting subject with a professor who speaks very critically and openly about American society and its problems.
The campus often reminds you of Hollywood movies. You see cheerleaders practicing, musical choirs rehearsing and football players practicing. The campus itself is very large and not at all like what you are used to at home. There’s a food court, two Starbucks, and a large bookstore that sells SDSU-branded clothing, mugs, and keychains rather than books. The library is a good place to study and there are also numerous computers on which you can write homework. Since there are many of these to write about, it is definitely worth taking your own laptop with you from home. The level at the SDSU is lower than at the home university, but the workload is much greater. I had to write several term papers in almost all of the subjects I attended. In addition to the work, there were also tests during the semester and book reviews. But if you keep at it, it’s not a problem.
Despite the countless school commitments, there is plenty of time for fun things to do. Of course, once you’ve settled into the beach house, you can learn to surf or otherwise just relax on one of San Diego’s myriad beaches. If you live near the campus, you can walk to the SDSU pool area or work out for free in the huge gym on campus.
What applies to both the beach house and apartments on campus: organize a car! The public transport system in the US really doesn’t compare to that in Europe and you can’t get very far in the US without a car. If you live on the beach, you absolutely need a car to even get to the university. If you live on campus, you need the car especially on the weekends. I was lucky that some friends of mine had a car and I could ride with them.
Because of the great location that San Diego has, you can take great weekend trips. We’ve been to Las Vegas, Grand Canyon, Venice Beach, Los Angeles, Warner Brothers Studios and San Francisco and also went to Tijuana/ Mexico a few times to celebrate. The clubs in San Diego are of course also good, but expensive and close at 2am. In addition, the bouncers in San Diego are extremely strict and do not accept foreign ID cards. You either have to take your passport with you or you can apply for a California ID on site (10 weeks of waiting, but it’s worth it if you can then leave your passport at home).
Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesday in Pacific Beach. In the restaurant/club Typhoon, for example, there are tacos for 3 dollars and from 11 a.m. the restaurant is converted into a club. Stars like Snoop Dogg, Big Sean and Lil Jon perform at Club Fluxx from time to time. Also, the Hard Rock Hotel’s Intervention pool party is a must-see.
In addition to partying, you should definitely visit the various sporting events. The Americans are crazy about basketball, American football and baseball and the trappings alone are worth a visit.
The semester abroad in San Diego was one of the best experiences of my life. I met amazing people, traveled the west coast of the USA and improved my English along the way.