University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: psychology
Study type: semester abroad
In the fall of last year I spent my semester abroad at San Diego State University in California. After deciding to study abroad for a semester, I contacted the placement agency MicroEdu, which after about 3 weeks offered me a place at San Diego State University mediated. Also through MicroEdu, I was placed with a host family in San Diego, where I lived during the semester. In the course of the following period, organizational things arose that had to be taken care of before my stay abroad. This initially included the visa application and the financing of the semester abroad, which was mainly based on the foreign student loan, the PROMOS scholarship and my own savings. In addition, it was necessary to take out international health insurance, to clarify my course credits in Germany via learning agreements with the representatives of the respective departments and of course to book the flight. Overall, I would recommend 6-12 months to prepare for a semester abroad and I can say from my own experience that it is more pleasant and less stressful to have enough time for planning. See act-test-centers for UCR Study Abroad.
As mentioned above, during my semester abroad I lived with a host family or in my case with a host mother together with three other exchange students. From my stay with a host family, I hoped above all to gain cultural experiences and insights, but also to live together in a pleasant and communal way, and these expectations were more than exceeded. We’ve often spent time together, whether it’s dinner out, shopping together, or a day trip to another city like Palm Springs, two hours from San Diego. Since my host mother is originally Mexican, I also got a lot of Mexican customs, culinary specialties (like tortillas or fish tacos) and also linguistic insights, so that in addition to the English language, I was even able to improve my Spanish. In addition, we got to know her family through my host mother, with whom we also spent a cozy and nice Thanksgiving. Overall, I really enjoyed the time with my host mother and will remember it as a unique cultural and human experience.
San Diego State University itself has a beautiful Spanish-style campus, which is very large and houses a swimming pool and fitness center in addition to the institute buildings, library, snack bars and cafes. I’m studying psychology and have opted for the subjects social psychology, organizational psychology, personnel psychology and personality psychology. At the beginning it was important to get a place in each of the courses, which happens for exchange students through the so-called “class crashing”. This means that you ask the respective professor if there is still a place available in the course and then register for the course. Since American students choose courses before international students, courses may already be taken which I have heard mainly in the areas of business administration/economics. In psychology, however, I had no problems with that and was able to get the courses I wanted right away.
The course itself is structured somewhat differently than in Germany, since you write an intermediate examination (midterms) every 3 – 4 weeks for the lecture and accompanying literature and at the end a final examination (final exam). I found this to be very pleasant, since you always had something to do during the semester, but it was also easy to remember and I was able to constantly build on my knowledge. In addition, the lectures were very interactive with questions from the professor and small group work, which I found to be very varied and interesting. As mentioned above, the campus itself offers a large library, which also includes a 24/7 area – so you can practically always study in the library.
In addition to the regular university courses, sports courses such as surfing, wakeboarding, water skiing or sailing were also offered, which you could take at your own expense and have credits counted.
Overall, I really enjoyed my studies at San Diego State University, which not only broadened my professional horizons, but also made progress in the language, gained cultural experience through many acquaintances with American students, and gained interesting insights into American student life.
There are also many great ways to spend your day in San Diego in your free time. Of course, the many beaches that San Diego has to offer are particularly appealing, with the opportunity to surf, kayak or just lie on the beach and enjoy the sun or celebrate a beach party in the evening. You can also spend quality time at the San Diego Zoo, which is huge and houses every animal you can imagine. Or you can visit Sea World with all its attractions and the world-famous orca show. If you just want to unwind with a book, Balboa Park is a great place to relax, which is also home to many museums, one of which is free for students every Tuesday. The city center with its skyscrapers and harbor flair is also worth seeing and of course the old town in Spanish style with a historical open-air museum. All of this can be reached by bus (which is what I mainly used), but you should allow some time for this. I lived about 20 minutes drive from the beach, but it took me over an hour by bus and tram to get to the nearest beach. So it’s a good idea to have a car in San Diego or to carpool to get from one place to another quickly. Used to be a 20 minute drive from the beach, but it took over an hour to get to the nearest beach by bus and tram. So it’s a good idea to have a car in San Diego or to carpool to get from one place to another quickly. Used to be a 20 minute drive from the beach, but it took over an hour to get to the nearest beach by bus and tram. So it’s a good idea to have a car in San Diego or to carpool to get from one place to another quickly.
All in all, the semester abroad in San Diego was an incredibly beautiful and unique experience for me. I really enjoyed my time with my host family and made a lot of nice friends. The studies were also a lot of fun and I not only broadened my professional horizons, but also developed personally. All in all, I would recommend it to anyone and I’m sure it will be an experience never to be forgotten.
At this point I would also like to express my thanks to the friendly staff at MicroEdu, who have always been there to help me with any questions I had.