University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
At the beginning of 2008, after extensive research, including on MicroEdu.com, I decided to do a semester abroad at SDSU. So I sent my application to MicroEdu, which MicroEdu in turn forwarded to the university. After a few weeks I was accepted, after which I quickly took the Toefl test and applied for the visa. In August we went to the Ocean Beach Hostel in San Diego. From here, the beach, 50 meters away, was used and celebrated with other hostel residents. In addition, I and 3 other Germans pushed ahead with the car and apartment search with the help of the craigslist.org site. For this it is definitely recommended to get a rental car, which is best arranged from Germany, because then it will be cheaper. (Hint: Alamo) See andyeducation for California State University Los Angeles Study Abroad.
When looking for an apartment you have to decide whether you would rather move to the beach or to the college area. The beach is generally more expensive and is a safe 20-30 minute drive from SDSU during rush hour. Parking spaces cost money and are sometimes a few minutes away or very busy. We finally decided to move to the college area as it was cheaper and less hassle as you can bike (Walmart or Craigslist) to uni. This is also where most of the house parties take place. We went to the beach 1-2 times a week to surf and of course often on the weekends. At my home university, I had previously clarified with the chairs which subjects I could get credit for, using the syllaby that MicroEdu had sent me. Hint: Pick out enough options, because you don’t get all the courses when you crash and you have even more leeway in the timetable. In the end, the ALI offered extra courses for all foreign students due to the high occupancy rate.
The university has a nice campus with some leisure activities. If you sign up at the Aztec Recreation Center for $20 a month, you have a wide range to choose from:
fitness, soccer, basketball, tennis, swimming or tanning at the nice Aqua Center, rock climbing, recreational leagues in gaming, etc. You can also at ARC membership in the water sports center on the beach, for example, you can take a surfing course and therefore do not have to buy your own board and wetsuit.
In my case, the professors were all very nice. The demands of the learning material were significantly below the usual in Germany. So studying didn’t take too much time, although you should usually be present, since there are often points for the final grade. I never had to study more than a day (5 hours) before an exam (usually just memorizing) and ultimately only got A’s and B’s, which could push my average a bit in Germany. In addition, there was group work in 3 out of 4 courses, for which you could get a good grade. In addition, one came into contact with Americans.
About San Diego itself: The weather is actually perfect. Up to and including October it didn’t rain at all and long trousers were absolutely unnecessary. In November and December it got a little cooler at night and there was rarely a rain shower. In any case, it was still possible to lie on the beach on good days, even in December and January.
In addition to the house parties, which in my opinion are usually the best, you can celebrate in numerous clubs in Pacific Beach, as well as in downtown. Especially in downtown you need the necessary small change. Expect to pay at least $5 for a beer. It also takes some getting used to the fact that almost all clubs close at half past one.
Since the university was already over at the end of December, we had the whole of January to explore the west coast. Las Vegas is recommended on New Year’s Eve (actually always recommended). San Francisco can also be reached by car and is worth a trip. Los Angeles is of course only 2 hours away. However, we were strongly advised not to go to Mexico due to the drug war. If you still have some money left, maybe you should take the chance and take a trip to Hawaii, it’s definitely worth it.
Regarding the costs: Many Germans have received foreign student loans and thus saved a lot of money. Unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them and had to borrow money from my parents. Even though I’m in debt now, it was definitely worth it. The rental prices are of course higher than the German average, since you pay for the weather and the beach. In addition, the food prices are significantly higher, so it is important to use the cheapest supermarkets (some Ralphs, some Food4less) and vary them a bit. However, if you don’t value healthy eating, you can still eat your fill relatively cheaply at one of the countless fast food chains.
All in all, I can only recommend everyone to complete at least one semester at SDSU, it will be worth it.