University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Study type: semester abroad
Why San Diego?
It was always clear to me that I would like to spend a semester in the USA simply to experience the famous “college life” and American culture up close. My choice was limited to places where I knew that not only would I find a good university, but that the city and the surrounding area would also have a lot to offer me. I passed these preferences on to MicroEdu, along with the study-related framework conditions, and promptly received a list of universities that would come into question. Climatic conditions, tuition fees, reports from CoCo and a bit of googling about the city ultimately made me decide on San Diego. See anycountyprivateschools for 9 most romantic places in the world.
I decided to only book the outward flight because I didn’t know what my time would be like after the end of the semester, since you can stay in the country for up to 60 days with the F-1 visa. Ultimately, however, a variant with a return flight would have been cheaper, since there is usually the option of being able to flexibly rebook the return flight afterwards for a fee.
I organized my apartment from Germany, which I think was definitely the right decision, because once you arrive you have enough to do and don’t want to waste time looking for an apartment while everyone else is already busy exploring your new home. I opted for a double room as this is actually the standard and reduces the already very high cost of rent a bit. As a German, however, it definitely takes a lot of getting used to sharing a room. Although I am very lucky with my roommateit’s always a risk and after half a year I was happy to have a little more privacy again. Nevertheless, I don’t regret this decision either and book it as a US college experience. In general, you have to be clear in advance whether you would rather live near the university (college area) or near the beach (especially Pacific Beach). It both has its pros and cons, but since I was looking for proximity to campus life, I decided against an apartment that would have favored a morning surf session.
Since I only had to take three courses as a master’s student, I had a relatively large amount of free time. It is advisable to condense the courses into a few days in the middle of the week. This gives you time, for example, for longer trips at the weekend and it feels like nobody goes to university on Fridays anyway. In my free time, I mainly spent time with my American roommates, but of course I also explored San Diego and the surrounding area with the other international students. Above all, there are many opportunities to go to the beach, go hiking or countless dining options to try. Unfortunately, it has to be mentioned at this point that even in southern California there can be cold and rainy days in winter and spring and that the water in the Pacific only invites you to swim from May.
The university life
San Diego State University has the expansive campus that is typical for America, which means that you need a certain amount of time to find your way around. But then you won’t have any more problems finding your lecture rooms, the food court or the bookstore. The food court offers all sorts of fast food, but after a while it can get a bit tiring. Unfortunately, despite the large number of students, there is no canteen. There is always a lot going on on campus during the semester and there are always special eventssuch as the farmers market on Thursday afternoons. Here you can find delicious food from a wide variety of cuisines at numerous stands, from African to Hawaiian to sushi burrito, everything is there. It’s best to just try everything. Courses in the US tend to be small, with around 30-40 students. At least that’s how it is in the Masters. This makes the lecture very interactive and you are constantly given some “homework”. With this system you have something to do continuously during the semester, but also a much more balanced examination phase at the end of the semester compared to the German system. The professors at SDSU are from my point of viewvery competent and were always friendly, which is of great value in the intensive exchange. For anyone interested in entrepreneurship, SDSU also has special programs and events that you can learn more about at the Lavin Entrepreneurship Center.
Of course, as an exchange student, getting to know the local nightlife is an integral part of the international experience, and that being said, San Diego has a lot to offer. In general, compared to Germany, there are much more house or apartment parties, which is partly due to the fact that this is the only way for everyone under 21 to celebrate. Downtown also has plenty of bars and clubs for those over 21, especially on the weekly Taco Tuesdays and Thursty Thursdays. For those who are a bit adventurous, I can recommend a night trip across the border to Tijuana. The nightlife here is a bit more exuberant than in San Diego and of course much cheaper. However, it is advisable to have someone with you who speaks Spanish since the English skills of the Mexicans are not very pronounced. Many Americans fear Tijuana as there are many horror stories about crime in the city. However, if you pay attention to a few points, then, in my opinion, you can enjoy all the advantages without fear. For this you should always move in groups, not roam the streets, but always take a taxi directly from the border to the club and back again, and always stay at an alcohol level that allows you to be alert. I had very good nights in Tijuana and never felt uncomfortable. then, from my point of view, you can enjoy all the advantages without fear. For this you should always move in groups, not roam the streets, but always take a taxi directly from the border to the club and back again, and always stay at an alcohol level that allows you to be alert. I had very good nights in Tijuana and never felt uncomfortable. then, from my point of view, you can enjoy all the advantages without fear. For this you should always move in groups, not roam the streets, but always take a taxi directly from the border to the club and back again, and always stay at an alcohol level that allows you to be alert. I had very good nights in Tijuana and never felt uncomfortable.
All in all, I would say a semester abroad in San Diego is an outstanding experience. From my point of view, it does not live from the sights, but from the lifestyle of the city, the surroundings and the state itself. If you get involved, you will have an unforgettable time that is ultimately worth the high cost of living.