University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: life sciences
Study type: semester abroad
In spring 2004, when I researched the possibilities offered to spend a semester abroad on the Internet, it quickly became clear to me that I would go to a university where English is the native language in order to take part in various courses and stays abroad to significantly improve previously acquired English. I came across the organization MicroEdu (http: //www.MicroEdu.com/) relatively quickly, which accompanied the planning and execution of the “Semester Abroad” before and during the stay and provided very helpful support. I opted for an “open semester” program, where you can apply directly to the university through this organization and enrollment at the university is possible at relatively short notice. See anycountyprivateschools for study in Portugal.
After I had sorted out my visa, insurance, flight, accommodation and much more without any problems, I set off for San Diego State University (SDSU, http: //www.sdsu.edu/) in sunny California in mid-August, where I first had two more weeks to settle in before classes started and to acclimatize to the beautiful Pacific Ocean beach.
The American Language Institute (ALI) handled the final enrollment process on site and provided us with useful information from previous semester students to help us get started. At the end of August, the lecture period began, when you really had to “earn” a place in the class. There is a fixed number of places for each individual lecture, whereby registration via the Internet was only possible for the “real” students of the SDSU. The approximately 60 foreign students who were looked after by the ALI had to go through a process called “crashing”. So we spent the first two weeks almost permanently on the beautiful campus and tried to get the necessary signatures on a form from the different professors, so that the ALI could then register online for the courses we wanted. This process turned out to be not that easy, since many selected lectures were already full or required special pre-requisites, which of course we could not produce with only one semester at SDSU. Nevertheless, compared to some other students, I was able to take at least three of the four courses that I had selected in advance from the thick course catalog and that fit perfectly into my study planning. I attended the lectures “Derivatives and Financial Risk Management” in the field of finance, “Organizational Behavior” at the Faculty of Management and “Introduction to Operations Management” at the Chair for “Information and Decision Systems”. In addition, I took a Spanish course because in San Diego, which is right on the Mexican border, many people talked in their native language. So from the third week, when everyone had found their courses, things got really serious and you saw yourself sitting in the middle of the American students in the lecture hall.
Here in the States it is common in all subjects that not only does an exam decide on personal success at the end, but that various “midterm exams” and smaller “quizzes” are written throughout the semester and that group work, term papers and assignments are prepared are. So the whole semester was “exam time” almost every week and the university kept you on the go technically. Overall, I can say that the specialist books are thicker and more expensive (about 100 dollars per used book!) than in Germany, but the requirements in the various exams are perhaps a little below the German level and the international students in the classes tend to be fared better than the Americans, who usually have a job alongside their studies,
Last but not least, after all four stages went very well, we set out on a road trip through California in a camper van, hitting the roads between San Diego and LA and San Francisco. New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas and the last four days back in San Diego in a youth hostel right on the beach made the “Semester at SDSU” company a valuable experience that not only furthered my professional development, but above all shaped my personality. After initial discussions with the chairs at the University of Regensburg, it is also possible for me to have the work done abroad count towards the diploma here, as it excellently complements the knowledge I have acquired here in Germany in the individual areas.
I can only recommend the SDSU to all students who are interested in studying abroad or in the United States, especially as my experience has been almost entirely positive.