University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business Informatics
Study type: semester abroad
Preparation (application, documents and visa application)
Preparation for a semester abroad should start early. You should apply to the desired university about a year before the start of the semester. You need a few documents such as a passport and proof of language proficiency. You should also make an appointment with the international officer at your home university to find out how your grades will be credited. See anycountyprivateschools for vocational training in Croatia.
As soon as the university has sent the acceptance, you should take care of a flight, the international student loan, international health insurance and an apartment in San Diego.
The visa can then be applied for 120 days before the start of the semester. This requires having a photo taken, filling out the DS-160 form, paying the SEVIS and visa application fees, and making an appointment at the embassy. Before you make the appointment at the embassy, you should go through all the documents again to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything at home. When you arrive at the embassy, it is advisable to only take the documents and nothing else with you, as you are not allowed to have any electrical devices with you, for example. A few questions will be asked in English, you have to hand in your passport and some documents. It takes about 7-14 days for the passport with the visa to be returned to the place of residence.
Personally, the MicroEdu guide really helped me a lot. I followed their checklist and did the visa application according to the instructions, which was ultimately very relieving and easy to do. I can really recommend MicroEdu because they are always available to answer any other questions you may have and you don’t have to feel alone with all the documents.
Student Life / University
Student life in the USA is very different from that in Germany. You have a lot to do during the semester, such as homework, various submissions, projects and presentations, but it’s not quite as busy at the finals as it is in Germany. If you divide the projects and tasks well, you can still see a lot of San Diego and California.
The campus is just huge and beautiful. There are various food courts, a bookstore, a bib and various SDSU events.
Aztec football, basketball, and baseball games are often held during the weekdays, which are free for SDSU and ALI students, and parties, concerts, and other events are offered on the weekends.
Aztec Recreation is free for all SDSU or ALI students, so you can go to the gym, pool, play tennis, bowling, etc.
The courses and the professors are very different. Some courses are very complex and others less so. Attendance is very important to some professors and not so important to others. The level of difficulty is very difficult to assess as it really depends on these two factors and not every professor offers a specific subject every year.
Since I had already done my compulsory subjects, I was very flexible in the choice of courses. I chose 3 marketing courses with 4 units each, because you have to take at least 12 units in the undergraduate program:
- MKTG371 – Consumer Buyer Behavior
- MKTG373—Integrated Marketing and Communication
- MKTG380 – Direct Marketing
Consumer Buyer Behavior was not that easy for the professor because she expected a lot from the students. You had to write an essay and had 3 exams over the semester.
I had Integrated Marketing and Communication and Direct Marketing with a very nice professor who really made studying in another country a lot easier. You had to do a lot in both subjects (prestations, elaborations, projects and exams), but if you made an effort, it paid off.
Living in San Diego
I applied through the ALI for an apartment in “5025” and received an offer. When I arrived in San Diego on August 3rd, I bridged two weeks in a flat share. I have to say, I was really happy to know that I had found an apartment in San Diego from Germany, as you could tell straight away that looking for a place to live locally proved to be very stressful. However, when I moved to “5025” after 2 weeks, I was just shocked. The condominium was nothing to me at all. It was very dirty when I entered the flat share, the walls were very thin, there was a lot of partying and I didn’t feel safe there at all. Since I couldn’t sleep the first night, I immediately decided to look for another place to stay. Through the contacts I made in the first few weeks, the “Suites on Paseo” was immediately recommended to me. I was able to look at a room there on the same day and decided to go straight away. It was a very small room with a bed, closet, microwave, fridge, TV and private bathroom. The rent for a single room wasn’t exactly cheap, but at least I felt really comfortable there. I got 7 meals a week, free of charge, in their delicious bistro. The drinks from the soft drink machine were available to each resident free of charge and the room was briefly vacuumed once every 2 weeks. In addition, the “Suites on Paseo”right on the SDSU campus, so you don’t necessarily need a car and you can be on campus within two minutes.
In any case, I wouldn’t sign another contract if I hadn’t seen the apartment before. The pictures on the Internet are of course presented in a tempting and beautiful way, but this is usually not quite the truth. I would recommend traveling to San Diego two weeks early and then looking at an apartment or dorm while you’re there because you’re not tied to a contract and you can look at the room beforehand. My current contract in “5025” remained in place and I had to find another student privately, which turned out to be not easy at all, as he had to meet certain requirements again.
There is a lot on offer in California and therefore the range of leisure activities is very diverse. From surfing to golfing to hiking, everything can be tried out. You can really experience a lot here.
As mentioned above, ALI students can use the Aztec Recreation Center, which is located directly on campus, free of charge. It is a large gym with a climbing wall and various sports courses. The offer here is really very large and you can take advantage of it between the courses and before or after. Pacific Beach, house parties and downtown are the offers you take if you want to party. Furthermore, San Diego is ideally located to do some road trips. Los Angeles can be reached by car in about two hours. On the way there you can take a short break at the beautiful beaches such as Laguna Beach, Newport Beach or Huntington Beach.
Las Vegas can be reached within 6 hours and San Francisco within 8 hours. Of course, one must not forget Highway 1 on the route from San Diego to San Francisco or back, as this is a must for California. Malibu Beach and Santa Barbara are also on this route and are really highly recommended.
Costs and student loans
The costs for a semester abroad in San Diego are between 15,000 and 20,000 euros, depending on what you want to experience.
If you want to apply for Bafög, remember to submit it to the Studierendenwerk Hamburg early on (approx. 6-9 months in advance). You should also know that you have to advance the money yourself for the first two months, since you have to submit the enrollment certificate and have it signed by the university. You usually get a monthly contribution and a large part of the tuition fees are reimbursed.
Shopping is more expensive than in Germany. Above all, healthy and fresh food costs a lot. For example, you should ask Ralphs for the Reward Card right away, as you can save a lot of money with it.
Doctors / Hospitals:
SDSU has its own medical center with pharmacy on campus. As an ALI student you do not have to pay anything for the treatment. All you need is your international health insurance.
In the USA it is common to pay by credit card and therefore a credit card is essential. I had the Sparkasse’s golden credit card with me and was really very satisfied. You pay an annual fee and 1% foreign assignment. In any case, this card was always reliable and I could use it to pay anywhere.
Have fun in San Diego.