University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The little things before the semester abroad:
My semester abroad via MicroEdu started a year in advance at my university’s international office. Due to the lack of partner universities in the USA, my university recommended MicroEdu. After a personal consultation at MicroEdu in the office, it was clear to me that MicroEdu should be my companion during the semester abroad. It was a very good decision, because MicroEdu was always there to answer any questions I had about the semester abroad and the steps involved. See andyeducation for University of California San Diego Study Abroad.
In December I got down to concrete planning. After passing the DAAD language test, I started to fill out the application documents (this is pretty easy and quick to do, by the way, since MicroEdu provides a German-language explanation). In January I got the confirmation from ALI. Then you only have to apply for BAföG abroad, set the visa date, drive to the embassy and book the flight.
Why San Diego State University?
There was always no question that I wanted to do a semester abroad. But it should have three qualities. A strong student life, good weather and a beach nearby. So my choice fell pretty quickly on San Diego State University. SDSU is a typical American university, as you know it from the movies. It has a large campus and most of the students live in its surrounding college area. You can see numerous fraternity houses with the typical Greek letters and from the middle of the week the college area doesn’t get any rest. SDSU also has a successful football, basketball, and baseball team that offers free varsity tickets to play.
The football games with associated tailgating are the highlight of the fall semester. The Aztecs play their home games at Qualcomm Stadium every other Saturday. Hours before the game starts, the parking lot swarms with hundreds of families barbecuing while the students tailgate, dancing and partying like a big party. The typical cheerleaders and the marching band are not missing at the football games either. At the end of the fall semester, the basketball season begins, the games of which are well worth seeing and take place in the Viejas Arena on campus.
Unlike most international students, I stayed in the Fraternity Row Apartment. You have to apply for a place via the ALI. The apartment complex is located right on campus, in the college area and conveniently opposite the Viejas Arena and Gym. However, the central location also meant that we were surrounded by fraternity houses. Most of the Fraternity members who lived in the neighboring flat shares also always had time for parties! Accordingly, it was very, very loud in the evenings!
The furniture in the apartment was a bit old, but that didn’t bother me much. We had a large living and dining area with a Smart TV. However, I was very bothered that the mattress was incredibly uncomfortable and you had to buy several pads to get a reasonably comfortable sleep.
We were four girls in our flat share. My roommates came from Sweden, Denmark and Japan. I can only highly recommend an international flat share! As a result, I was always forced to speak English at home, which improved my English considerably. We all got along very well and spent a lot of time together. So I felt more like a small family in our flat share.
The ALI takes care of the on-site support. Orientation events on all relevant topics are held in the first two weeks. In addition, Spencer and his team are always there for questions and offer consultation hours regarding the choice of subjects. In addition, offers such as a sightseeing bus tour or campus tours are offered. But the ALI also offers joint activities and excursions every month during the semester.
The SDSU campus is beautiful!! With its whitewashed buildings, it is more reminiscent of an Andalusian castle than a university. The campus offers everything you need to study. The SDSU has a large library, but also some student lounges or a number of seating areas on campus where you can study outside without any problems. If you’re hungry, you’ll either find what you’re looking for in the Food Court, where the offerings range from Subway to Panda Express to the Salad Bar, etc., or in the Student Union with Chipotle, the Habit or Shake Smart. Starbucks is also represented twice on campus.
Of course, the SDSU also has a bookstore. This not only sells books, pens and pads, but the entire basement consists of Aztec merchandising items. From the normal Aztec shirt to the Aztec teddy bear, water bottle or Christmas tree pendant. There are even doctors and a pharmacy on campus. The university also has its own very large fitness studio, membership of which is free of charge for us. The Aquaplex is behind the football fields and baseball stadium. In the Aquaplex there are pools and tennis courts, which can also be used free of charge.
There are also a few restaurants, fast food outlets and a supermarket called “Trader Joes” right on the campus in the college area. There are a few food islands with other larger supermarkets and restaurants within a 20-minute walk.
Life in San Diego:
Life in San Diego is like a dream. San Diego enjoys year-round summer temperatures and miles of sandy beaches. In addition, San Diego offers countless nightlife options, North Park, Hillcrest, Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy or Pacific Beach. Especially in Pacific Beach you will find the most students. There are countless bars and pubs on Garnet Avenue as well as in adjacent streets. Every Tuesday is Taco Tuesady. There are significantly discounted tacos in countless restaurants. The “Duck Dive” is particularly well-known among international students. Every Tuesday, countless international students can be found there because of the cheap tacos and long drinks. In contrast to many other cities in the USA, I felt very safe in San Diego at all times.
The first month at the beginning of the semester abroad I was under 21. Being under 21 on campus is not a problem. There are many house parties and fraternity parties. However, one must be invited or be on the guest list. There are also many house parties among the international students, but the majority of international students are over 21. Accordingly, the majority of people go to PB or downtown. In the USA you can’t get into any clubs, any bars (even if you don’t drink anything) and most of the pubs/restaurants, if there is a bar. While there are 18+ clubs and you can go to Tijuana to party, most of the time you can’t go with your friends. In this respect, I would not recommend doing a semester abroad in the USA if you are under 21.
If I could turn back time, I would choose the SDSU all over again! The five months at SDSU was the best time of my life! I celebrated the best parties, enjoyed the Californian way of life to the fullest, let myself be impressed by the size and beauty of this state…..and most importantly made incredibly good new friends !
If you have read my report up to this point, all I can say to you is: “Do a semester abroad and go to SDSU!!”
- Taco Tuesday (Fat Fish, Duck Dive)
- Attend the first football game of the fall semester
- Farmers market at the university
- Have breakfast at the “Breakfast Republic” and “Caroline’s Seaside Cafe”.
- Food Truck Festival at Balboa Park
- Attend the Padres baseball game
- Visit Fire House
- Visit Baja Bar
- USS Midway