University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: mechanical engineering
Study type: semester abroad
Like all other students, I had doubts at the beginning. A semester abroad in the USA involves a great deal of effort. But thanks to MicroEdu, all the preparations went smoothly. I can really only recommend everyone to organize the semester abroad via MicroEdu, because the nice team will help you with every little thing. The team is available to you throughout the application process. If you have any problems or questions, the team is very quick and reliable. See act-test-centers for UCD Study Abroad.
Preparations for the stay abroad
Since I completed a semester abroad in another European country during my bachelor’s degree, I knew from the start that I would also supplement my master’s degree with a semester abroad. Because in order to be able to pursue a position as well as possible after my studies and to be optimally prepared for daily work in an international environment, I decided to go to the USA because the country offers you the opportunity to develop yourself both linguistically and internationally to develop culturally. For the partner university San Diego State University I made my decision because it not least covers the study-specific spectrum that corresponds to my field of study, but is also one of the best in terms of quality in California and at the same time one of the best equipped.
So I filled out all the application papers using MicroEdu’s instructions. Since I already completed a semester abroad during my bachelor’s degree and took some subjects in English, the partner university sent me confirmation of this in the form of a letter that was recognized by San Diego State University. So I didn’t have to provide any further proof of English (from TOEFL or DAAD ). Furthermore, you need a financial proof from the bank (approx. 13500 $). So I sent all the application documents to San Diego State University. After three to four weeks, I received my confirmation.
After I received acceptance from San Diego State University, I still had to take care of the visa. To do this, you have to make an appointment online at the American consulate (Berlin, Munich or Frankfurt), which involves a short interview. I had my appointment/interview in Frankfurt and was only asked about my plans in the United States. The visa will then be sent to the desired address within a week.
Furthermore, it is very useful to take out international health insurance before you travel, as visiting a doctor in the USA can be very expensive. This is issued by your own health insurance company. If not, you can take out international insurance with the ADAC. The insurance therefore reimburses all visits to the doctor.
Since I flew with four other fellow students, we considered renting a house in advance, as single or shared rooms were very expensive ($700 and up). Now we had to decide between being close to the university or being close to the beach. We chose a beachfront home in Mission, Pacific Beach, so we split the rent by five accordingly. In the end everyone paid about $600. However, it is necessary to rent a car because it takes 15 to 20 minutes to drive to the university. It is also much more relaxed to drive by car than by public transport. We decided to buy a car because we also have small road trips planned. If you rent a car, you are bound to stay in San Diego and can only drive out to Los Angeles. We contacted a few private sellers on various internet portals and finally agreed on a Mercedes Benz ML (year of manufacture 2000). Registering and insuring the drivers cost us almost $4000. The idea of buying a car is associated with a lot of stress, but we were more flexible than with a rented car and were able to sell it before we left.
Since I was aiming for the semester abroad in the USA in my first master’s semester, I was busy with my bachelor’s thesis during the application process and basically needed admission for the master’s. So I booked my flight with my fellow students in July, a few weeks before departure. Since the semester dates are fixed, we booked the outward and return flights together, because the plane tickets are a lot cheaper than booking them separately. All in all, we paid €800 for the plane tickets, which was relatively good in terms of price (just before departure). Otherwise, it is of course advisable to buy the plane tickets as early as possible.
Life in the US is really very expensive (SIM cards, groceries, rent, car). In addition, you have to factor in travel to other US states and other recreational activities. Therefore, you should expect average spending between $1500 and $2000 per month. The foreign BAföG offers you advantages. It is more advantageous if you take care of the documents before departure. As a rule, you should apply and submit the documents three months in advance. It really saves you time and nerves. Otherwise you have the bad luck that you get the money afterwards as a total sum and not monthly. Until then, you have to advance out of your own pocket.
Studies at the host university
As mentioned earlier, I was in my freshman masters semester at San Diego State University. For this I had to choose the Graduate Program, which was limited to nine units. Nine units correspond to three courses. However, if you want to occupy more than nine units, you have to buy additional units. I clarified in advance with my home university which courses could be credited to me. These were as follows
- Principles of Heat Transfer – Heat and Mass Transfer (3 Units)
- Water Treatment – Water Technology (3 Units)
- Automotive Power – Combustion Engines (3 Units)
In my opinion, the teaching is very different compared to Germany. She is in school. Homework, compulsory attendance, lectures and tests are part of the courses, but also depend on the professor. The exam procedure at San Diego State University also took some getting used to. In addition to the homework, etc., one or two intermediate exams were written in each subject in order to gain access to the actual exam. So you were well advised to work continuously throughout the semester. The two intermediate exams each account for 20 percent, the actual final exam for 30 percent and homework etc. also for 30 percent of the final grade. Nevertheless, the requirements could be mastered with good preparation.In addition to the whole learning rhythm, San Diego State University offers a range of leisure activities. Another very big advantage of San Diego State University is the gym, which is available to foreign students free of charge.
Living in San Diego
San Diego is a very beautiful place and has a lot to offer. Of course I wasn’t able to discover all the beautiful corners. Because the city offers endless opportunities for leisure time. It is essential to visit the world-famous sights that form the city’s silhouette at dawn and dusk and are incredibly attractive just from this sight. The already diverse nightlife is enriched by the events of San Diego State University. The events enable the students to make friends quickly and at the same time to make acquaintances with other students from all over Europe. These events sometimes seem like a meeting of the Council of Europe. You can find representatives from almost every country. The experiences that you make in these acquaintances are incredibly profitable. The advantageous location also made it possible to visit other US states such as Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco and national parks such as Yosemite and the Grand Canyon.
All in all, the semester abroad in California (San Diego) at San Diego State University is a unique experience that I can only recommend to everyone. For the reasons already mentioned above, I believe that it has helped me in my academic as well as in my personal and cultural development. San Diego is the city that really never sleeps. After a short period of getting used to it, you never want to go back. And last but not least, you make many new friends scattered all over Europe. Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to thank my family and friends. A very big thank you also goes to the team at MicroEdu who made this stay possible made it one of the best experiences of my life.