University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Education and teaching, sports, English/American studies
Study type: semester abroad
I’ve dreamed of living in California for a long time. I fulfilled my wish with a semester abroad at San Diego State University. See mcat-test-centers for cost of living in Lisbon.
As a future English and physical education teacher, it was important to me to improve my English skills and learn more about American culture, as well as gain qualifications in new sports. Due to its wide range of opportunities, San Diego State University turned out to be the perfect choice for my semester abroad.
Organizing a semester abroad is relatively time-consuming, especially if, like me, as a freemover, you have to organize everything yourself in a very short time. I decided quite spontaneously to do a semester abroad and organized what others start planning a year in advance in just under three months. It was time consuming, but definitely doable.
MicroEdu helped me a lot with the application and planning. The team supported me in every respect – whether it was about the application, looking for an apartment or contacting other students who were also planning a semester abroad at SDSU.
Many fly to San Diego and look for a place to stay locally. Certainly a good solution if you are still unsure where you want to live. Because for most of them the question arises: beach or campus?
This question is still difficult for me to answer as both have their pros and cons. Since I had previously spoken to several people who had already studied in San Diego, I already decided on an apartment in BLVD63 near the campus while I was in Germany. Almost only students live in the BLVD63 apartments and most of them are internationals. So there was always a lot going on there and it was very easy to meet people and make friends. The disadvantage of living close to the campus: the way to the beach (by car) takes about 20 minutes.
But because I just love to be on the beach, went surfing almost every day and generally spent a lot of my free time at Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach, I would probably choose the beach in hindsight.
Unfortunately, San Diego is not a cheap city, so you have to be prepared for an expensive semester. The rent is quite high and groceries are not exactly cheap either. In addition, in my opinion, having your own car is highly recommended, since San Diego is very extensive and the public transport network is rather poorly developed. By bus or train, for example, it takes about an hour to get to the beach instead of 20 minutes by car. I shared a car with two friends for $400 a month, which was easy and saved us a lot of money.
San Diego State University
Shortly before the start of the official lecture phase, an introductory week is held for international students, where you receive all the important information for the semester and course selection and also have the opportunity to get to know other internationals. There was also a campus tour and a sightseeing tour of San Diego.
I took general courses in culture, linguistics, literature, and physical education at SDSU. What I really liked about my theoretical courses was the structure of the seminars. There is always an obligation to attend and the grade is made up of several achievements, such as group work, homework, assignments and exams. I chose surfing, wakeboarding and rock climbing as sports courses, from which I learned a lot and which I all had a lot of fun with. Overall, I found the courses there to be easier.
In addition, SDSU has a beautiful campus with Spanish-style buildings. There are palm trees and flowers everywhere and there are so many beautiful corners where I often spent my free time. There are countless dining options on campus : Starbucks, Subway, Panda Express, burgers, salad bar… there really is something for everyone. But the best thing is still the food at the Foodmarket, which takes place every Thursday on campus. The student life on campus is really great and can hardly be compared to what I was used to in Germany before, because the SDSU is not only a place where you learn, but also offers a wide range of leisure activities. For example, there is a pool area and a large fitness studio on campus, which is even free for international students. Basketball games and other events also take place there.
SDSU offers countless opportunities to participate in physical education classes, join an athletic team, or take trips to all kinds of national parks. I especially liked the water sports courses and excursions offered by the SDSU. I took part in a rock climbing excursion in Joshua Tree National Park. Climbing in nature and camping under the stars was an unforgettable experience.
Living in San Diego is an absolute dream. With nice weather every day and beautiful beaches on the doorstep, it’s pretty bearable. In my opinion, life there is much more relaxed than in Germany. People are more open and friendly. The Californian mentality is just a lot more positive.
Even if you spend a lot of time at university and studying during the week, there is still enough time to explore San Diego, go to the beach or take excursions. In my free time, I loved to go surfing. I often went on small hikes with friends, for example at the Torrey Pines and watched the sunset at the Sunset Cliffs in the evening. Don’t miss Taco Tuesday, when internationals gather at Duck Dive to eat tacos and party. At the weekend I often go to the beach with friends for yogawent and we explored the area around San Diego. I especially liked Orange County with its many small towns.
If you have a few more days off, it is of course a good idea to explore the west coast and the many national parks in California.
During spring break, two friends from Germany visited me and we went on a road trip, visiting Los Angeles, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Sequoia National Park and part of the west coast, among other places. At the end of the semester I was still in San Francisco, in Yosemite National Park and even flew to Hawaii.
All in all, I can say that I couldn’t imagine a better place for a semester abroad. I had an unforgettable time in San Diego, during which I gained many valuable experiences that have allowed me to grow personally and which will accompany me throughout my life. I made many new contacts and, above all, through friendships with Americans, improved my English significantly and learned a lot about the American way of life.
Most of all I miss the student life at SDSU, the people I met there, the good weather, the beautiful beaches, the surfing and the positive California vibes.