University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
First of all: An exchange semester at San Diego State University is worth it! If you decide to go to San Diego, you don’t have to fear the stress of studying, but you don’t have to fear boredom either. But first things first:
The SDSU with about 30,000 students is located a little inland, about 20 minutes by car from the beach. According to its size, the university is of course equipped with all the usual infrastructure, library, computer rooms, group work rooms, food courts with various fast food restaurants, recreation areas and large parks on campus. Overall, the campus is beautifully laid out, very large, so that 10-minute walks from one course to the next are not uncommon. There is also an impressive basketball stadium, soccer and baseball fields, a swimming pool and a huge gym which can be used by students free of charge. Getting to university can be stressful at times. San Diego is a very big city, ie depending on where you live, it can take a good 45 minutes to get there by public transport such as bus and tram. It’s only quicker by car if you want to go to the university outside of peak times. Leaving one of the multi-storey car parks at the university can easily take 20 minutes in the afternoon, unfortunately, traffic congestion is part of everyday life. See anycountyprivateschools for exchange in Lisbon Portugal.
At the beginning of the semester, you can enjoy an orientation session at SDSU. Unfortunately, due to the sheer number of exchange students, you initially feel a bit lost here. With the help of the information material you can get thorough information about all the important organizational matters at home. The semester starts with class crashing, in which every exchange student has to beg for a place in the course from the lecturers of the courses they are interested in. There is no bidding system or anything like that for international students. That means you can’t be sure if you’ll get even one of your desired courses. It is advisable to always be polite and always show up for the course on time. Under certain circumstances, you will only be promised your place at the fourth event. Overall, most students were able to take the courses they wanted. Nevertheless, I met a few who had to reschedule.
I took 4 courses of 6 ECTS each (more is not possible without extra charge).
Research Methods (STAT 250): Intermediate level course. Anyone who prepares 2-3 hours before each midterm can easily achieve an A. Sympathetic lecturer (Kameron Denaro)
Micro 2 (ECON 312):
Introduction to art history (ART 259): On the one hand interesting content, on the other hand somewhat monotonous. A good grade is solely a question of diligence. Anyone interested in art will have fun, but you will look in vain for intellectual challenges.
Cinema as Art & Communication (TFM 160): Very easy course. The central component is watching a film in a cinema-like lecture hall.
Overall, the grades depend heavily on the lecturer. In equivalent courses (e.g. Micro 2), different lecturers use content and exams with significantly different levels of difficulty. However, if you make an effort, you should never have problems getting a good grade.
Organizational matters before departure
I do not want to write much about this at this point. I simply refer to MicroEdu. The team at MicroEdu can help you with any questions and guide you step by step through the entire organization process, much better than I could with any advice here. Be sure to take advantage of this offer!
I lived in an apartment building in Pacific Beach. In any case, I recommend it! There is simply more to do than at the university in the dormitories. Pacific Beach is San Diego’s party district. But even those who are not the biggest party fan will have a great time here. Beach life, busy streets, restaurants, supermarkets and whatever else you could need is all in close proximity. The district is definitely a holiday spot and accordingly one can also enjoy a very relaxed atmosphere in “PB”.
Social life/ life besides studying
If this part of your exchange semester is not the larger one, you are doing something wrong. San Diego offers an incredible number of options, especially Pacific Beach. The mere fact that the sun shines down from the blue sky almost every day makes life there something special. Personally, I surfed a lot and would like to recommend it to everyone. The university offers inexpensive courses that are fun and bring rapid progress. But I recommend all the more to go to the beach on your own and get to know and love the surfers there and their fascinating lifestyle.
If you want to party, you can actually do it every day. Until the end of October, almost every day Wednesday and Thursty-Thursday is deserted. However, you should be prepared to meet many internationals, especially Germans and Scandinavians.
The cost of living in San Diego is somewhere between Switzerland and Germany. Housing in California is quite expensive, but fast food, parties and services in general are cheap. If you want to travel cheap: Las Vegas is incredibly cheap most of the time!
It was a great time, I definitely don’t want to miss this great experience. Above all, the lifestyle (parties, surfing, etc.) in Pacific Beach in combination with the (almost) always perfect weather have made the last 5 months such a great time. From an academic point of view, it was interesting to see how people study in the USA. Maybe because of the regular study I took away more than I did in a semester in St. Gallen. And if you have American roommates (which I personally consider to be one of the most important prerequisites for a successful semester) you still learn a lot of English, at least the colloquial language, and above all something about the culture, which sometimes differs more from ours than one might initially assume. Great experience, clear recommendation!