University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: industrial engineering
Study type: semester abroad
I was lucky that the Auslandsbafög supported me completely financially.
The costs to take into account consisted of:
- Semester fees SDSU
- Other (mobile phone, possibly insurance, food/drink, fun)
The complete semester fees were “gifted” to me and I also received 900€ a month as maintenance support, with which I was able to cover more than all costs : )
And folks, don’t think that because you don’t get domestic student loans, you don’t get foreign students’ student loans! It’s like comparing apples to oranges and it doesn’t cost anything to try, just a bit of hassle and paperwork, but it should be worth it! See andyeducation for California State University Chico Study Abroad.
Let’s start with my arrival.
When I landed alone in San Diego, I quickly grabbed a taxi from Flurhafen and went to the motel, which I had already booked in Germany for 4 days at $40.00. The next day, my mission was to find “the perfect place to stay” for my stay.
In this regard I can really only recommend the website http: //sandiego.craigslist.org. Since I was actually planning to move into an “Ami-WG” on campus, things turned out differently than planned. The problem was that the rooms (particularly near the campus) didn’t pay off in terms of value for money for me personally, as they were overpriced for their size.
After long tours of the apartment, I finally decided on a relatively large, luxurious room with a view of the mountains in El Cajon, which is east of the university and the distance could be reached within 15 minutes by car. It was like a big single-family house, which I shared with the owner (a super nice Chinese pensioner) and another German student abroad. Although the house wasn’t directly on campus, it was still worth it to me to drive a little longer to the university, but always to find a hygienic house with quiet, nice people. The price was $450.00 and was acceptable to me. Also all kinds of shops (Target, Ross, Kohls, Ralphs, Albertson…) were around the corner : )
Here, too, things did not go as planned. Actually, I thought I could manage to commute by public transport, i.e. bus and train, which I mastered for the first 5 days. However, the first problem in San Diego is that the cycle times are much longer than in my hometown of Hamburg. The second problem is that the transportation network is relatively compressed and it can sometimes happen that you have to plan an additional “longer” walk to your destination or take a taxi. As I personally live by the motto “time is money”, I had to decide whether I should rent a car or buy it and then (hopefully) sell it again.
After long (economic) considerations, I decided to buy a car. So I spent the whole semester driving my red, fuel-efficient BMW, which I got for a whopping $1,000.00, which luckily I was able to resell for the same price before leaving town : )
A tip for people who want to rent a car :
http: //www.dirtcheapcarrentals.com/rates.html, these are definitely one of the cheapest in town! In addition, you can also bargain the price further down than posted on their website!
For people who want to buy a car:
http: //sandiego.craigslist.org, but be careful here and do a “general check” at a car repair shop before signing the purchase if you (like me) are not particularly familiar with the internal functionalities of a car! Because there are always enough rascals everywhere, who of course tell you something about the white horse. So do yourself a favor, even if the check costs a few dollars!
The equipment of the SDSU is the purest luxury, whether in the library, the canteens, classrooms, you feel like you are in an American dream! Every day you see gardeners keeping the campus bright green.
However, I have to criticize the price-performance ratio of the campus canteens, that you get relatively small portions for your money. However, I quickly solved the solution to this problem by eating at the fast food chains next to the campus, where I got 2 times fuller for the same money. It also bothered me that you had to buy a semester ticket to park your vehicle, which costs $130.00. I thought that there might be free parking a little further away from the university, but there was no point here either. There are parking meters everywhere (all of San Diego!) and you just can’t get around them! Another expense was of course the material for the courses, i.e. primarily the books. On average, one costs around $50.
As far as the course enrollment regarding “crashing” (due to capacity restrictions, because the American students get priority over the international ones!) is concerned, everything is not half as wild as the ALI representatives described it.
I got all the courses I had planned and of course I was super happy : ) It just takes a little effort to complete the formalities. So the first week of the semester was a bit stressful.
A tip for people who don’t get their course right away because it’s full:
Keep up the good work by either choosing the same course on a different day/time or always going to the course right at the beginning (even if you’ve been rejected) to see if there are any dropouts… and they almost always are, especially in the beginning of the semester, because they substitute the course!
What I found good, in turn, is that the course capacity is limited to 20-30 students. The anonymity of the German university system does not exist here in the same form. You could always contact the professors (during and after class, during office hours) and your concerns were welcomed with “open arms”. What I had to get used to at the beginning was that almost all (my) courses consisted of group work and you had to present presentations, homework, laboratory results…) as a performance factor every week! There were also intermediate exams in some of my courses. But due to the continuous learning, it was relatively relaxed towards the end as far as the learning effort for the final exams was concerned.
Now to my favorite topic..
I spent most of my free time at the beach (Mission Beach, LaJolla) watching the surfers and getting a tan : ).
At La Jolla Beach, in the evenings, one can admire “concerts” by seals, which were found in large numbers on the cliffs. Since I had relatively little time up to that point to examine the magic of “Mother Nature” (animal parks, zoos excluded), it was all the more spectacular. Many other unfamiliar animal species could also be encountered in everyday life.
When it comes to nightlife, San Diego offers a wide variety. If you want to be casual, Pacific Beach is the place to be. However, if you are more upscale, there are numerous options downtown (Stingaree, On Broadway, etc.). Here, too, I have to give a big compliment to the spatial equipment of these clubs. Where else do you sip a cocktail at night by the stylish campfire or by the pool with a view of the whole city?! It really is indescribably beautiful…
My experience with the American way is that Americans are very open and helpful.
As far as the use of services is concerned, in some situations you even get the “girl bonus” and pay less : )
There is generally a lot of flirting, but it stays that way and it is never too pushy. Of course you have to give the appropriate signals yourself!
What I also noticed was that as a girl you get compliments from girls. Be it at parties, shopping etc. I personally found it very impressive : )
I honestly have to say that the 5 months in San Diego completely changed my mentality. I’ve definitely become more open, confident and adaptable. That’s why the semester abroad allowed me to grow as a person.
Worth seeing tips
If you have time, or rather take the time : ), then drive along the west coast on HIGHWAY 1, because it is right on the ocean and visit places like: Palm Spring, Los Angeles, San Francisco (I love this city !!!), Las Vegas!
If you love to gamble then there is a smashing casino in Barona! I’ve always played slot machines for 5 cents and had a blast and thrills all night for only $20! : )
If you want to be close to nature, I would recommend San Diego Zoo, Sea World and Wild Animal Park! There is also a combined ticket that allows you to visit all the sites for a flat rate.
Accreditation of the SDSU courses at the home university
I successfully got ALL 4 courses that I took there recognized. But that’s no coincidence, because before I flew to San Diego, I went to the office hours of every professor in the relevant subject and showed them the corresponding course descriptions of the SDSU and asked me to note which of these courses were creditable, so that there are no complications. Do yourself a favor, take the time and go to the professors, unless you’re planning a
The time in San Diego was definitely the best time of my life, in which I surpassed myself and learned so many new things.
I lost almost no time in my studies and spent a semester abroad with little of my own financial input, which has an even more positive effect on my CV.
At this point I would like to give a big compliment to MicroEdu. Without their dispositive help, it would have been extremely complicated. Thank you very much, you are the best, I love you guys!
If anyone has any questions, I’m happy to be able to help.