University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: sports, biology
Study type: semester abroad
The application process was super easy. Of course you had to take care of a few things, but thanks to the precise instructions from MicroEdu it really wasn’t difficult and if I didn’t understand something, I called and everything was explained to me right away. Both the visa and the documents for the SDSU were easy to organize. The submission of the documents is actually not an application, but rather a registration, as long as the tuition fees are paid, one will be accepted in any case and it does not depend on the grades. See liuxers for Cyprus higher education.
Studies & courses taken:
I took the best courses of my undergraduate studies at SDSU. Since I’m studying sports and biology, I don’t have to do a semester abroad, but I really wanted to. So I discussed a lot of courses with my professor that I can take at SDSU so that they are recognized in Germany and I don’t lose so much time.
Getting the courses wasn’t really a problem either, in my first semester I had to crash courses and in the second semester the system was changed and I was able to register for my courses online. When I crashed I got almost all the courses I wanted and when registering online I really got everything I wanted. There were only problems with the system, which is why I couldn’t register for a course, but the ALI helped me quickly. You also have 3 weeks and if you don’t like one of the courses, you can switch again within the 3 weeks.
In my first semester, I took microbiology and cell biology in biology. These courses were similar to home, there were between 200 and 500 students in the lecture and the topics were similar to what I was used to from my university. The only thing that was different was that we had 2-3 exams in one semester and homework every week. Basically it really wasn’t difficult, there were 200 courses, but it was quite a lot, you couldn’t just do nothing for a course for two weeks. So I had an exam, a quiz or an assignment about every 2 weeks that had to be done.
In sports I was allowed to choose what I wanted, in Germany that is only recognized as an addition. I did Nutrition for Athletes, Wakeboarding, Wakesurfing, Surfing and Rock Climbing and it was amazing. Whenever I was wakeboarding, surfing or rock climbing, I couldn’t believe I was doing it for college. I wouldn’t recommend the surf course because it was totally cliche and you learn surfing better with a friend and your own surfboard, but all the other courses were great. In the courses I also made the contacts I wanted and made many friends. I wanted to avoid the Germans and make friends with Americans. It’s really difficult when it comes to accommodation, and it’s also very difficult at the university in normal courses. But in the climbing course or wakeboarding course I met a lot of nice Americans who are not superficial, but friends for life. I was asked about climbing, wakeboarding and camping and finally found what I wanted, contact Americans and American culture. Of course, it took me a while to settle in and then the semester was already over. I could hardly believe that and did everything possible to be able to stay there for another semester.It worked out and I had another semester to do backpacking trips with my friends, go camping, wakeboarding, rock climbing or bouldering and it was the best time of my life.
In the second semester I already knew how everything works and took the World of Animals and Biology of Sex courses in biology. Here, too, it was the case that every two weeks either an exam, a quiz or an assignment had to be taken. I also took a laboratory course at World of Animals, where attendance was compulsory every week and we wrote a test every other week, asking about the content of the last two courses. In this course we also did two trips, one to the La Jolla Aquarium and one to the San Diego Zoo, one of the largest in the United States is. These courses were not really difficult either, they were 100 and 300 courses. However, it was a bit complex and you had to invest time. In sports I have taken the Advanced Wakeboarding course, the Intermediate Rock Climbing course and a sailing course. These courses were also really great and I am incredibly grateful that I had the opportunity and was allowed to do it. Since I already knew the people from the courses from the first semester, it was of course twice as much fun. The uni also offers courses such as Backpacking, First Aid and Adventure Leadership, which is a great opportunity if you are looking for outdoor tripsInterested. I took Adventure Leadership and it was a great course that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in the outdoors, camping and youth leadership.
The university itself is of course incredibly beautiful. The campus is like a city of its own, there are a lot of food courts, various supermarkets, where there is always frozen yoghurt for 2$ on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There are lots of sports facilities, the fitness studio that you can use for free as an ALI student is great, I used to go climbing there and after a year you knew the people from the climbing wall really well and were good friends. There is a large pool area where you can relax between courses and of course a large library for studying, where it is quiet and nobody disturbs you, which is sometimes a great advantage. The campus has a Mexican touch, there are palm trees everywhere, the sun almost always shines anyway and that’s why I think it always feels like vacation, even though you’re going to university.
The support from the ALI is very good, you always get emails with more or less valuable information and if you have questions, you can call, write an email or just walk by. Everything is explained at the beginning, it takes a lot of time, but in my opinion it really isn’t that difficult, since we also study in Germany and know how it works there, because studying in the USA is so much different now again not.
Like so many others, I spent the first few days in the banana bungalow in Pacific Beach and got to know a lot of people there, mainly Germans and Danes. It seemed to me that there were only Germans and Danes in the hostel doing the same thing as me; to find accommodation for the coming semester. Of course that wasn’t what I wanted. I definitely didn’t want to live with Germans because I’m not going to San Diego just to live with Germans, because I already know what it’s like. At the beginning it was a bit more difficult to get in contact with Americans, many know that you are only there for one semester and they think that the exchange students only want to party anyway, which is why sharing a flat with Americans is difficult, but not impossible. Unless you want to live on campus, of course it’s different there.
I found 4 nice Danes to buy a house with in Pacific Beachshared, fairly close to Mission Bay for $570 a month. In the first semester we were a big clique, apart from my friends from university, which consisted of many Danes and Germans and we had a great time, did a lot together and made Pacific Beach unsafe. In the second semester I started looking for an apartment earlier, I knew exactly which one I wanted because friends of mine lived there and I then asked the landlady whether she would rent the apartment again for the next semester and she said, That wouldn’t be a problem, I just have to look for roommates. Again, that wasn’t a problem for me, so this time I could choose my roommates and had an apartment right on the beach (10 meters at most) and if you walked down Mission Boulevard, one was at the bay. The house was a dream, but it was also $100 more expensive per person per month. In the second semester, however, I did more with my friends from the university and was really integrated in the “American way of life “.
But don’t worry too much about finding a place to live, so far everyone I’ve known has found something.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
Since I was in San Diego for two semesters, I traveled quite a bit because San Diego is a great starting point for that.
However, it is a bit difficult during the semester because you have to be present and you should be doing something for the university during the whole semester. Therefore, extended weekends or the time before or after the semester are ideal.
I’ve been with uni, with Atztecs Adventures, who offer a lot of outings, once in Yosemite National Park for camping and hiking, and I’ve been twice with Atztecs Adventures in Joshua Tree National Park for rock climbing. I’ve been camping with friends on the Colorado River without a tent and we could gaze at the “amazing” starry sky all night, I’ve been to Sequoia National Park and I’ve been skiing in Northern California at Lake Tahoe.
I’ve been to LA twice and Las Vegas twice, I’ve been to Mexico three times, once in Mexico City, once in Rosarito and of course one day in Tijuana. I was in Hawaii over Christmas and New Year’s, over spring break I was in the national parks around the Grand Canyon, i.e. Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Antelope Canyon at Horseshoe Bend, Hooverdam and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I ended the great year with a road trip from LA all the way up to Seattle. So I really got around quite a bit. But San Diego County also offers an incredible number of opportunities to take great trips where you don’t have to drive far away.
Do’s and don’ts
You have to think about what your priorities are. At first I found it difficult to juggle everything, the university, the excursions and all the activities. You just have to do something for the university, there’s no getting around it, but with the large number of things to do it’s obviously very difficult. We partyed so often, went to the beach, went surfing and I often tried to go camping for the weekend, which is why the first semester was already very stressful. I then learned from that in the second semester and chose easier courses with less effort so that I could enjoy San Diego better. But I was also very lucky that these courses were credited to me and that I received them.
If university is the number one priority and for whom learning is the number one priority, you should perhaps reconsider whether you should really choose San Diego as a semester abroad, because there are an incredible number of distraction options. But if you want to get to know life and experience something, you should definitely choose San Diego.
It’s a cost issue of course, everything from grocery shopping to varsity books is really expensive in San Diego. But if you can afford it, do as much as you can because I’m not going to San Diego just to stay, once you’ve made it there, do whatever you can. Who knows when we’ll have another chance to see Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon.
My personal conclusion is that one year in San Diego was the best thing I’ve done in my life so far. Everything is just perfect, whether it’s the holiday feeling, the partying on the beach, the great people you meet, the surfer style and the laid backresidents of Pacific Beach, the travel opportunities or just the life you can lead there. I was allowed to experience pure life for a year!!!