University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Economics, Economic Psychology
Study type: semester abroad
Unfortunately, my home university in Germany did not have any suitable partner universities in the USA. For this reason, I completed my semester abroad as a freemover, which means I organized everything myself with the help of MicroEdu and also applied to the university on my own. From my experience, I can say that applying as a freemover naturally requires a lot of organization, but with the help of MicroEdu it can be done very well. See mcat-test-centers for 7 best masters in marketing in Europe.
On the MicroEdu homepage you can get a lot of information about possible universities. After in-depth research into possible universities, I decided on San Diego State University (SDSU) because it best covers the field of business psychology and I found California to be my ideal state.
MicroEdu supported me very well throughout the application. I was always able to get in touch with my contact person if I had any questions and I was really very satisfied with the advice. Due to the many experiences that have already been made, MicroEdu can provide a lot of information right from the start, which makes the entire organization easier. Otherwise, I exchanged ideas with other students who have already completed a semester abroad in San Diego.It is also useful to ask fellow students or to use other networks, such as scholarships or Facebook groups.
There are a few things you should think about before you apply :
- Does the university offer corresponding courses that will be credited to my home university? (If necessary, check with your home university and the courses offered by the foreign university)
- How many costs will I have to pay? How can I finance this?
- What other things do I need to clarify before applying? (e.g. mandatory vaccinations)
Overall, there is quite a lot to consider when applying. However, you will be very well supported by MicroEdu through the application (also visa ) and you can always turn to your contact person if you have any questions. Of course, it must be noted that it is not only necessary to apply to the university, but also to other areas such as health insurance, housing, flights, termination of old employment.
In terms of financing, I was fortunate to be able to fall back on a scholarship, which made my semester abroad a lot easier. In general, I recommend simply googling for scholarships and applying. In addition, you can ask your home university whether it can provide the appropriate assistance. For example, my university had a newsletter that suggested certain scholarships.
Studies: General and Campus
SDSU has a very large campus that has everything you need for life. You could theoretically spend your entire semester abroad on campus, as there is everything here from restaurants, shops, fitness studios, sports facilities to the library, supermarkets and apartments. Overall, the entire university campus is very well maintained.
Due to the size of the campus, orientation is a bit difficult at first, since the event rooms are abbreviated and the associated building is not always clearly recognizable. The map of the university is very well suited for this purpose in order to locate the buildings and then the rooms accordingly.
Studies: choice of course
Overall, the SDSU offers a wide variety of courses. The number of bachelor courses exceeds the master courses by a lot. Depending on which program you are applying for, you can choose from different course programs. I applied for the Business program and therefore had to choose at least one Special Session course. Special session courses are courses from the American Language Institute (ALI) that are only offered to international semester students. The content often overlaps with courses of the same name for American students, but ensures that exchange students also complete the popular business subjectsbe able. Of course, you have to be prepared for the fact that you may have less contact with Americans if you only take courses with international students.
What I particularly liked about the business program was that you could also choose courses from different areas, which I really benefited from, as I was able to take courses in both business administration and psychology. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take one of my desired courses, personnel psychology, because it was only intended for American students from the psychology faculty, so I had to change my course choice spontaneously.
Important to note when choosing a course or other useful information is:
- It is essential to find out beforehand about the courses on offer and the examinations (reviews by the lecturers on the Internet can be used as a decision-making aid)
- At the SDSU, sports courses can be taken for credits (e.g. surfing, self-defence, yoga)
- Special session courses ( =certainty of getting the appropriate course) vs. courses with Americans, but the uncertainty of not being able to attend the courses
- In general, the examination performance differs from most German coursework (several presentations, case studies, term papers and group work during the semester)
- Early registration for the courses (at 12 noon at night) as places fill up quickly
Studies: on-site support
On-site support is provided by the American Language Institute (ALI), which is located directly on campus and can always be contacted if you have any questions. At the beginning of the semester there are a few information events, a campus tour and advice on choosing a course. In addition to answering questions, the ALI also offers leisure activities, especially various trips to the national parks. However, I organized all my trips and trips myself with friends and didn’t accept any offers, so I can’t say anything about the quality.
The only negative thing to note is that unfortunately there is no real offer that strengthens the getting to know each other and the bonding of the students. In contrast to many programs at German universities, only a few information appointments are offered in the introductory week, but getting to know each other is not really encouraged. In contrast to the introductory events that I know from Germany or other fellow students have experienced abroad, I think the program is sufficient for information purposes, but unfortunately it falls short in terms of the social component.
On site or from home?
Overall there are two options for accommodation to look for in San Diego: Either you do this from Germany or on site. If you are already looking for accommodation in Germany, you naturally have the great advantage that you no longer have to worry about it on the spot and that the entire arrival is smoother and you are not under pressure to find accommodation that might be left over. However, it is also important to say here that of course you have no opportunity to look at the accommodation on site and then decide. From my experiences and those of my fellow students, the pictures on the internet are often more beautiful than the real apartment, which should be taken into account. If there is a possibility to visit the apartment in some way, I recommend it (friends, skype,…).
The other option is to look for the apartment locally. Altogether, 95% of the people have already looked for an apartment from Germany. However, I know people who have moved again in San Diego and have not had any problems.
There are generally different options for living at SDSU: Either you live on campus in student dormitories, near the campus (BLVD 63) or near the beach (Mission Beach, Pacific Beach or Ocean Beach) in private apartments or in larger house complexes. At that time I decided to live in Pacific Beach directly on the beach in a private shared flat with other Americans, which was definitely the right decision. Apartments near the campus are particularly recommended for younger students under the age of 21, as there are many parties and events for under-21s at the university, but especially in BLVD 63.
Near the beach and in downtown there are more offers for Ü21. It is important to note that you should not underestimate your age, as the age is often checked in restaurants in the evening, so that you cannot even eat in a restaurant under the age of 21.
Living in Pacific Beach
Pacific Beach is a super nice residential area with direct proximity to the beach. I especially liked the northern part towards La Jolla and Bird Rock. Overall, I can recommend sharing a flat with Americans or other nationalities to improve your English. There are basically a lot of Germans in San Diego, so it’s relatively easy to avoid speaking English. Living with two Americans has really helped me to improve my English, because then you speak English every day in your free time as well as at university.
The rents in San Diego are generally very high, so I shared a room with another German student. If you want to share a room, it makes sense to look for a person in advance who fits your interests well, since you will be spending a lot of time. It should also be noted here that you definitely need your own car if you live further away from the campus.
Leisure and excursion possibilities
Overall, the leisure and excursion options in San Diego are unlimited. San Diego is a very large city in itself with many very different options. In addition, the university offers a number of programs. Especially the football games and the Tailgate that takes place before that are a real experience.
There are also many places worth seeing and destinations in the geographical vicinity of San Diego. If you plan your timetable properly, you can definitely keep a long weekend free to undertake various trips during the semester. Nevertheless, it should be noted here that the American semester requires a number of performance records (presentations, term papers, group work, etc.) not only in the “examination phase” at the end, but also during the semester, which should definitely be taken into account when planning the trip.
San Diego really has a lot of nice parts to offer with different focal points. To name just a few:
- La Jolla (super beautiful beaches, bicycle tour possible directly on the beach, seals, snorkeling)
- Bird Rock (very nice little shops, boutiques and restaurants)
- Downtown (Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy, restaurants, clubs, harbor)
- Pacific Beach (beach, a pier where you often see dolphins, Taco Tuesday on Tuesday, nice restaurants, nice surfer flair right on the beach)
- Ocean Beach (a bit more “hippie” with nice shops and markets with homemade products)
- Nord Park (nice restaurants and cafes)
In addition to San Diego, there are of course also many other destinations in the “nearby”.
- Various smaller national parks: Torrey Pines, Mission Trails Regional Park, Three Sisters Waterfalls, the Potato Chip Rock,…
- los Angeles
- San Francisco and Highway 1 to San Diego (definitely drive one way, plan 2-3 days)
- Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon (Lower Part is slightly cheaper)
- Joshua Tree, Palm Springs
- Napa (above San Francisco, “California Tuscany” with wineries)
- Las Vegas
- Tijuana (Mexico, good for a day trip/weekend getaway; under 21 partying allowed)
- Yosemite National Park
I took advantage of the visa regulations and stayed in the USA for about 30 more days after the end of the semester. After the semester, this is perfect for further trips, such as to Hawaii, or to further travel to neighboring countries (e.g. Mexico).