University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, Business Psychology
Study type: semester abroad
Application / MicroEdu
First of all: MicroEdu has been an incredible help! You can do it all on your own, but it will definitely take longer. Questions were answered immediately by MicroEdu, whether they were about the costs, the transfer, the university or flights, the thousands of forms or the housing situation – you can really ask whatever you want! See act-test-centers for 12 best universities in Eastern Europe.
The application itself is easy, but time-consuming. Thousands of forms have to be filled out and, especially at San Diego State, five subjects must be classified as recognized by your home university when you apply. For me, this means that the Learning Agreement had to be signed by the lecturers fairly early on in order to get the signature on the application for the SDSU. Finding five subjects that can be recognized is not that easy, but with a bit of tricking around (I would do that as an extra credit) it can also be done.
You also need an English test for the SDSU. Here, however, it is essential to inquire again whether you really have to do the TOEFL / IELTS. For me, for example, the so-called DAAD test was enough, which I was able to do free of charge and really easily at my university. In my opinion, it is enough if you have a certain number of English subjects.
Looking for an apartment is definitely one of the most annoying things. You can expect an average of $800/month guaranteed in a room for two. The cheapest I’ve seen was $600, but closer to outside of San Diego. Of course it is also more expensive. A single room should cost you around $1200 per month. But you don’t have to worry that you won’t find a room, there’s always something available.
I organized my room from Germany (a lot of rentals are through Facebook) and I was very happy about that, because personally it would have been quite stressful for me not to have anything by the time I left. However, I only arrived very shortly before the start of the semester. All my friends who were looking for a place on site were ultimately satisfied and have already met a lot of people during the first days in the hostel.
Most internationals lived either at the university (college area) or near the beach. It takes about 25 minutes to drive from the beach to the uni, but since you probably won’t have more than 3 days of uni a week, that’s doable. I chose the Strand Area and was more than happy with my choice.
As you might expect, everything is very American;). The campus of the university is huge. You easily need 15 minutes from one side to the other, but you find your way around relatively quickly. There are several food courts, including an organic food court, then all sorts of fast food things, a bookstore where you will certainly have to buy a few things, and of course at least two Starbucks. You will have a huge range of sports, e.g. a super gym, bowling alleys, running track, football, billiards, dancing and yoga, pool, etc… Depending on the university in Germany, you can also have the courses credited.
Regarding the subjects themselves: as an international you have to attend at least 2 special sessions, which are exclusively with other internationals, a large part is German, otherwise many are also from Scandinavia. As a bachelor, you have to choose four courses (12 CT), which means you can still choose two open university courses. However, American students have priority voting rights in the Open University courses. Means that they all vote first, and then the election program is activated for the internationals, so to speak. Sometimes/often there are only 2-3 places left in a course, so you have to be quick;) But you can certainly still talk to the lecturers. The so-called course crashing, which you may have read about, no longer exists in this form! So maybe it’s good if you are a bit more flexible with the courses or have alternatives. The introductory events of the SDSU are very informative at this point and will help you.
The school system of the SDSU is comparable to a technical college in Germany, homework is given, courses are rather small (30-50 people), group work and attendance and participation are more or less valued.
However, you don’t need to worry about the degree of difficulty, everything is also easy to do in English. Of my four courses, three were very easy (though time consuming) and one was relatively difficult. I chose the following courses:
- Investments (at Thu, SUPER EASY, but you definitely have to be there)
- Multinational Management (at Robbins, big project, which is rated with A or B, exams are a lot of material, but not difficult, attendance is more or less necessary)
- International Business Finance (with Kim, very demanding, but exciting material, can be missing from time to time)
- Social Psychology (with Marx, no compulsory attendance, exams more than fair as long as you study the slides)
Another important thing: the textbooks are super expensive (usually between $100 and $200), I didn’t buy any and have had good luck with them, but that depends very much on the lecturer. Sometimes you also have to buy an app, for example CourseKey, or something similar, you can’t avoid that, you can usually estimate that after the first exam;))
A word about the exams. The exams are almost all multiple choice (actually even one choice). And midterms are written in almost all subjects, which means that you may well write 3-4 exams in each subject during the semester. But the subjects usually have no finals (which might interest you regarding the return flight).
San Diego is truly one of the most beautiful cities I know.
A real paradise for going out/celebrating. Depending on what you prefer, you can explore the bars in Pacific Beach/Mission Beach or head downtown for the clubs. Trips with the party bus are often organized, you can find out all about it via Facebook, then the costs are kept within limits (approx. 10€ for women). Tuesdays are always Taco Tuesday, there are cheap tacos all over Pacific Beach and after that almost all the students go somewhere in the bars to party, I especially liked Fat Fish for dinner and straight afterwards to the Backyard;) Oh yes, there are sale days again and again. On Mondays, sushi is 50% off (recommendation: Mika on Garnet Ave.), on Wednesdays there’s wings (recommendation: Bubs, also Garnet), on Thursdays there’s cheap beer somewhere and on Tuesdays the tacos (Fat Fish or Sandbar!).
Otherwise you can try all sorts of sporty stuff on the bay or relax on the beaches or surf. Definitely worth a trip to La Jolla, Balboa Park (I was told), North Park, Adobe Falls and Downtown, including the Seaport Village during the day. The area is also great for hiking, my favorite hike was the Cedar Creek Hike, which is a bit far but ends at a waterfall. You can also drive to Julian afterwards, where they honestly have the best apple pie in the world.
Definitely take everything you can with you;) I was in Rosarito, Mexico and then pretty much everywhere in California. Definitely do High Way 1, i.e. drive down the coast (Laguna Beach is a dream), take a look at LA, definitely Santa Barbara, definitely San Francisco and of course celebrate a weekend in Las Vegas.
You should also have seen the national parks, the Joshua Tree Park is close by. Yosemite and Grand Canyon speak for themselves, but there are countless blogs and travel forums about them, so you will definitely get good tips there. From San Diego or LA you can also fly very well to Canada or the east coast.
In total, you must definitely reckon with at least €15,000. Almost half of that goes straight to tuition, then about $1000 for living + $800 for rent per month. However, $1000 a month is already tight, you can easily get to €20,000 if you want to travel a little more. But of course there is no upper limit;)
What I would have liked to know beforehand
What you need to realize is that San Diego is overrun with Germans. So when in doubt, you speak a lot of German, if you don’t want to, talk to Americans at the university and try to get into a sports team. Either way, it’s difficult to avoid the Germans;)
It is best to book flights directly to San Diego. LA sounds close, but if you still have to get to San Diego by train or bus from there, it will definitely cost you another 5-6 hours and not that little money, if at all, I would recommend a one-way rental car (from LAX to San Diego about $60/70).
The rate is bad right now, dollars and euros are almost 1: 1. Nevertheless, San Diego is great for shopping, especially in the Las Americas Outlet on the Mexican border there are always good deals.
Food: A lot of fast food and in my opinion not as good food as in Germany (of course;)). Girls, don’t worry about gaining weight, 1. almost everyone gains weight and 2. you’ll get it right back in Germany ;).
In my opinion, a car is essential. Either rent one with 1-2 other students (I think it costs about $400 per month at DirtCheap!), or buy one cheaply. This gives you a lot more flexibility and you can really enjoy San Diego.
For me it was worth every penny. If I could, I would fly there again tomorrow!
Feel free to write me if you have any questions, and otherwise have a good trip and a super great semester abroad.