University: San Diego State University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Study type: semester abroad
During my semester abroad I was in California, more precisely in San Diego, and went to San Diego State University (SDSU). Unfortunately, this university was not a partner university of my home university, so unfortunately I had to organize most of it myself. It was a lot of work but luckily we had helpful support from MicroEdu ! See liuxers for vocational training in Romania.
Everything went great with the registrationAfter submitting our documents, we quickly received confirmation that my friends and I still got a place, even though it was 2 days before the registration deadline. Unfortunately, the course selection, i.e. the selection of the special sessions, did not go so well for us. I have to admit that I only skimmed through the documentation and misunderstood something by consulting other students who were already at SDSU. In my/our opinion, we only needed to have at least 12 units at the end of the semester, so we figured we could also take courses that would give us more units (but unfortunately we had to have exactly 12 units). So we took a 3-unit and a 4-unit course, which ended up costing us $250 more,
After everything formal was settled, we took care of accommodation. I heard from many that they were looking for accommodation locally and stayed in a hostel for the first few days. That’s not how I wanted to start my semester abroad, so I tried to find something from home. This was not so easy due to the time difference, since one often had to reply to e-mails at night when decisions had to be made. Getting an apartment in a student complex is also not that easy, since there is usually only annual rent. That means: If you cannot find a new tenant, you have to keep paying even though you no longer live there and have been home for a long time.
Fortunately, Blvd63 then decided at short notice to allocate a few apartments for “short-term leases”., so my girlfriends and I could move in together. (If, like me, you are going abroad with several people, I recommend staying with strangers, as I spent most of my time with them and actually could have gotten to know more people from different countries). I highly recommend Blvd63! The facility is close to the campus, you can also walk there, but there is also a shuttle to the university every 15 minutes. There were 2 pool areas in the complex, where there was often something going on and one or the other party was celebrated. There was also a fitness center and a clubhouse with “conference rooms” for study or group work. But you can also just meet there to play table football or billiards. The folks at Blvd63 also try to provide as much entertainment as possible, so every Tuesday there was always a game night (quizes and free pizza) or there was also a party on Halloween! So have fun and have fun. The apartments themselves are still quite new and very well maintained, after every change of tenant everything is cleaned and if something is broken, the caretaker is usually there on the same day to fix something.
If you are planning on renting a car, are under 25 and don’t know as much about cars as we do, you should rent a car from Dirt Cheap Car Rental. You can also register 2 drivers there for free and pay $400 a month – if you stay in San Diego County – but that’s a lot too. For further/longer excursions we then teamed up with several people and booked a minivan.
I flew to Los Angeles with a friend and then took the bus to Las Vegas. It was quite good to travel before the official start of the semester, so we could always go on smaller excursions at the weekend, and at the end of our stay we weren’t so stressed about “checking out” everything we wanted to see. There are also many groups/organizers on Facebook that organize trips or excursions. We then took another part in a party bus trip to Las Vegas, which was really great! 2 nights 4 parties and in a 5 star hotel, it couldn’t be better! You also get to know other students on such trips, which are not necessarily in your courses. Unfortunately, most students are also German, so it is up to you whether you try to get to know other students from other countries in order to improve your language skills.
Unlike in Germany, it is impolite not to tip in America. Some restaurants already have the tip on their bills, often you can choose whether you give a tip of 15%, 18% or 20%. On the other hand, you can get water for free in every restaurant. It also takes some getting used to the fact that the prices are exclusive of taxes, which means you only see what you end up paying at the checkout (unless you do the math beforehand). It is also advisable to collect the membership cards from the supermarkets so that you always get the special prices and can still save something with the high food prices.