University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
After hearing only the best about SDSU from friends, I decided to spend my semester abroad in San Diego from August to December 2011. See mcat-test-centers for which skills do the GMAT and GRE value.
First things first: It was definitely worth it and I would definitely visit San Diego again for a semester, as the city offers pretty much everything you could wish for during your studies and your free time.
I can only recommend that you submit your application and everything that goes with it through MicroEdu. The organizational aspects are almost completely taken over by MicroEdu, in the end you only have to book the flight and apply for and pick up the visa yourself, the application is handled by the organization. You always get an immediate answer to emails and questions are answered patiently, even the third time. You always feel super supported, which largely takes away the nervousness that such an application phase brings with it. The necessary steps are explained to you well, so that you don’t come under time pressure. So the service that MicroEdu provides is top notch and you can really count on them.
5 out of 5 points
What I would recommend to everyone, as I have failed to do so myself, is to keep an eye out for flat shares on craigslist.com well in advance of your flight. Since there are around 300 students from Germany alone at the university, most of whom want to live with Americans, you should explore the situation and get in touch beforehand. I myself only arrived a few days before the start of the university because it wouldn’t have worked any other way because of the exams in Germany, so I had little chance of finding an American flat share since everything had been booked for a few weeks. Hence my tip: If possible, fly to the States a little earlier to settle in and find a suitable flat share.
In the end I moved into a semi-detached house with 3 Germans, which was a great thing that I found friends for life in my roomies, but of course the English falls by the wayside : -). Nevertheless, I had a brilliant time with my roomies and am very happy to have met such great people in the distance!
In any case, although everyone intends to only hang out with Americans, in the end you get to know a lot of Germans through the famous group formation and speak German for a large part of the time. However, that is my personal experience, it may be that there were enough people who only spoke English for 4 months. But don’t worry: you will speak enough English and it will definitely get noticeably better!
To the housing situation
We had our flat share in the “college area”, a few kilometers south of the university, 10 minutes by car to the campus and 10 minutes to downtown. One thing I would do differently next time and would rather move to the beach (Pacific Beach) as there is just more going on there. The house parties at the university are funny, but in my opinion there is more going on near the beach and even the slightly older students often prefer to live there instead of on campus.
Of course, the rent in our area was a bit lower and we were lucky enough to live in a gated community, which made for a fairly quiet neighborhood.
SDSU – University and Life
When you enter the university campus for the first time, you are almost overwhelmed by the size, but also by the atmosphere. The buildings are bright white, the lawn is perfectly green despite 30 degrees, thousands of students are scurrying about and there are always stands somewhere that are part of events or invite you to the International Food Week, where umpteen different cooks prepare all kinds of dishes “open air”. Despite the size, the campus is very clear and the important buildings such as faculties, the food court, the library, the gym or the associated aqua park can be found quickly in your sleep. In general, the possibilities offered by the university, be it sports or other courses, are incredibly diverse…at this point, a short advice against the golf course, which doesn’t really do anything, neither for beginners nor for advanced players.
You should definitely register at the Atzec Recreation Center right from the start, as ALI students can train there for free and also attend the courses. It also offers 4 basketball courts, a climbing wall and a sauna, but be careful: Americans are prudish and go to the sauna in a completely sweaty training outfit…
At this point, however, I have to describe the famous price crashing as negative. I wanted to choose 3 business administration courses from the MIS area and I’m good at the lectures. Because of the great rush, it was not certain until 2 weeks after the start of the university which of the foreign students would get a place. Here I have to criticize the organization of the university, which does not see it as necessary to guarantee courses for the internationals, who after all pay a lot of money. So my only tip is to be persistent and not give up, even if it can be a bit demotivating at first. The professors are very willing to talk and always try to accommodate as many interested parties as possible. It worked for me too in the end, however I met some students who had to change their plan after failing to get into 2 out of 3 courses.
The lectures themselves differ from the hours in Germany in that attendance is compulsory almost everywhere (which is more or less strictly checked) and you write fewer exams, but have to hand in papers more often during the semester or hold presentations. However, this is a very good exercise, also because of the language, and brings you more than stupid memorization. In terms of level, I would definitely place the SDSU below German, which makes it relatively easy to get good to very good grades with manageable effort. If you stick to the important presentations and papers, you will be fairly rewarded for your work and still have enough time to experience the beautiful sides of California.
My professors (Raafat, Addo, Jennex) were motivated across the board and very interested in communicating their material. They are always happy to work and try to achieve active participation, which usually works well thanks to the many American students. I can particularly recommend Prof. Addo because, although he is demanding, he is also very keen to bring his subject closer to the student and he is very enthusiastic about his material (Information Systems in Organizations, MIS 688). Hence the conclusion to the professors: very friendly, helpful (mails were always answered quickly), motivated and very fair!
In the library you can always find a quiet place to study and the staff there are also very helpful and friendly.
All in all, my conclusion for the university itself is very positive, which is due to the countless opportunities that the campus offers, the good professors and the great atmosphere. There are deductions because of the chaotic course crashing, but that’s also forgotten after 2 weeks.
4 out of 5 points
One might say that San Diego might be a bit boring compared to San Francisco or New York. However, I cannot confirm this from my personal experience. Starting with the fantastic location of the city, the miles of sandy beaches, the beautiful luxury suburb of La Jolla built on the cliff, the lively hustle and bustle downtown or on the beach and the many young people, SD is definitely one of the most beautiful and pleasant places to study abroad to spend. Downtown is manageable and the important corners (Gaslamp Quarter, Marina, Convetion Center, Little Italy) are easy to walk around. The Coronado Bridge takes you to the beautiful Coronado Island, where great beaches and the famous “Hotel del Coronado” await you. “Old Town” is definitely worth one or more visits, where you can find many interesting restaurants and shops. The San Diego Zoo is one of the largest in the world and is worth it for the fact that it is laid out like a small jungle and you get to see an incredible number of animal species. The zoo is located in Balboa Park, where various events take place, such as the International Days or the “Christmas market”, which, however, is more like a folk festival than a traditional German Christmas market.
If you want to go around the house with your friends in the evening, there are house parties at the university (which the cops like to clear up at half past 12 at night), there is the option of going downtown to one of the numerous but expensive discos, or chilled out to celebrate in Pacific Beach, where the majority of the young scene gathers to watch football and then continue to drink excessively. You can decide where you ultimately go, but in 5 months you have enough time to try everything : -).
For me personally, it was also a brilliant experience to play the various golf courses in San Diego with consistently good weather and to get to know the beautiful sides of the relaxed, much friendlier American game of golf. Highlight here: Definitely the Torrey Pines PGA course, as such courses are also affordable and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
All in all, I was very enthusiastic about San Diego itself, because it’s just very relaxed there and less hectic than in other major American cities. SD is also one of the safest cities in the USA, you are never afraid to move somewhere on unsafe terrain. The great weather does the rest and makes your stay in the city a unique experience.
5 out of 5 points
I can definitely describe my semester in San Diego as the greatest and most exciting time I have ever experienced. If you are looking for a place where you (almost) always have good weather, where you are only surrounded by nice people and where you want unlimited opportunities for leisure activities, you have definitely come to the right place!
If I had the opportunity to do a semester abroad again, I would choose SD again without hesitation, no question! A few things may be a bit annoying, but you just have to deal with these small setbacks and then you’re in for a brilliant time! Take the time to do all the trips you have planned, San Francisco (the most beautiful city in the world), LA, Las Vegas, national parks, possibly Mexico and definitely do it, because the university is not as demanding as that you don’t have enough time for traveling : -). You won’t regret choosing San Diego as your destination for your semester abroad!
In this sense, all the best and have a good one!
PS.: If you have any questions about SD in any area, you can write to me at any time! I’m happy to inspire others with the advantages of this great city : -).