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 I would like to thank MicroEdu for the good organization and consistently good support. I took business masters courses at San Diego State. At the end of each section I have included small tips. See ehuacom for scholarships in Germany.
Before my stay
I have been planning a semester abroad for a long time, preferably in the USA. However, my university has no partner universities in the US, so a friend recommended MicroEdu to me. After a few days of research on the homepage, a few emails and a phone call, I had 4-5 universities to choose from. I chose San Diego State University because it is in one of the most beautiful cities in California, because the duration appealed to me and the costs were not too high.
After submitting my application documents, I was accepted very quickly and began to take care of various things. I could list everything individually, but MicroEdu has a list of when things need to be done ( apply for a visa, apply for a passport or submit BAföG documents). This list was very helpful as it made it clear by when these things needed to be organized.
- Apply for BAföG in any case, even if you would receive a monthly rate of one euro, you will receive the tuition fees of up to 4600 euros and the travel allowance of 1000 euros.
- Don’t get nervous about looking for a flight and don’t book immediately when you get the confirmation. Check the prices on sites like Google flights, fluege.de etc. over at least 1-2 weeks. It is also helpful if you fly during the week(Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday) and if you are flexible with the airports. Checks, for example: London/San Diego, Amsterdam/Los Angeles, London/Los Angeles, Copenhagen/Los Angeles etc. For example, I got a return flight from Cologne/Bonn – Los Angeles for 550 euros. If you have a lot of time, you can also wait for good offers on holiday pirates. However, don’t wait too long.
- Book your return flight flexibly or at the end of a month, as you always have to pay the rent for the whole month.
The first time
I arrived in San Diego on January 7th and I decided to spend my first time in a hostel in Hillcrest. Some people prefer to have a place to stay before they get there, but I definitely don’t regret my decision. By living in the hostel you immediately got to know new people with whom you then did things. It’s sometimes stressful not having your own four walls, but in a hostel there’s actually something going on every evening at the beginning and I’ve seen a lot of nice places and made new friends. In addition, the search for an apartment began and the first events at the university were on the agenda.
- Find a good hostel for the first time. It’s more stressful, but also a lot more interesting. I have lived at the ITH Zoo Hostel in Hillcrest and it is by far the best hostel I have stayed at. (I don’t get paid for advertising it here;) )
The first question to ask yourself is whether you would like to live near the beach or prefer to be close to the university, as it takes over an hour to get from the beach to the university by public transport. It was clear to me that I didn’t want to buy/rent a car and, to be honest, I didn’t feel like taking the long bus/train ride every morning. I also really wanted to live with non-Germans to improve my English. That’s why I chose the College Area and the Boulevard 63 apartment complexbecause I found an international flat share. In general, there are several options for living in San Diego as an international student. Here are my favourites:
- Apartment complexes around San Diego State University(Penthouse, Boulevard 63, Aztec Corner etc.): I have been staying at Boulevard 63 from February 1st and this is probably the finest apartment complex. There it works in such a way that at the beginning you look for your roommates via an app and/or other groups on Facebook and then register together at the complex. These are then equipped with pools, BBQ, shuttles to San Diego State and depending on which complex you choose, other things. The price ranges for these apartment complexes vary greatly. I paid $920 warm for a single room on the boulevard. If you share a room, the rent is around $600. Friends of mine are currently staying in the “penthouse” and they share a room and pay around $300 each. The problem with complexes is that in some cases only annual contracts can be concluded. Also, I would like to say that it took Boulevard 63 about 3 months to return the deposit and only after several emails.
- A house with other students at San Diego State or on the beach: Every semester some landlords rent their houses to students. The advantage is that there are fewer rules than in apartment complexes, you have more freedom in choosing the location and there is a more personal atmosphere. If I had the opportunity to live in a house with international students or Americans, I would have preferred this option to the apartment complex. Room rates in the College Area are around $750 per month for single occupancy and shared rooms are correspondingly cheaper. It always depends on what quality you are looking for. I don’t know that much about the beach area, but I’ve heard from friends that the rent for a single room there is around $950+.
- Move to a hostel at first if you don’t know where you want to live yet.
- If you want to move into an apartment complex, find roommates ahead of time via the Facebook groups.
As a master’s student, I took nine units at SDSU, which count as 27 ECTS at my university. I had two business courses and one psychology course. Before I came to San Diego State University, I had to choose a special session and specify my other course preferences. The courses were easier than in Germany, especially the special session. Compared to studying in Germany, I had more tests/homework/seminar papers during the semester, so there was no “monster exam” at the end that decides everything. This enables students to achieve good and very good grades. I asked myself the following three questions before my stay.
What is a special session?
So, a Special Session is a course where only international students are. Due to the high proportion of German students in San Diego, my “international course” consisted of 25/30 Germans. I felt that the Special Sessions were a bit easier than the “regular” courses at San Diego State as there is more consideration for you and I was able to get a straight A. The special sessions cannot be deselected. So as soon as you have these on your plan, you have to prove them. My tip would therefore be to choose as few special sessions as possible, as you cannot deselect them under any circumstances. However, I could have added two more on site with ease as there were still spaces available in these up to the last day.
How does the course crashing work in the business program (only important for business program students who want to crash courses) ?
Because the business courses are in high demand, San Diego State University has its own students fill the courses first. After that happens, there is an event where international students are given permission to crash business courses. You are not allowed to crash business courses without permission. With us, the event was divided into four time blocks and I could choose which period I would like. I chose the third block because I wanted to sleep in and wasn’t aware of the following: As soon as a student gets permission for a course, the space for the others is no longer available. When this event comes up, get there as early as possible to increase the likelihood of being able to take your courses.
How likely am I to get my rates if I crash the rate?
That depends very much on the program that you attend. It is very difficult for business masters students to get into business masters courses that are not special sessions. Students who do not participate in the business program have an easier time. But as everyone tells you, you should bring a slightly larger selection of courses with you. In an emergency, I could always have taken the special sessions.
In my free time, I enjoy doing sports, going out and hanging out with friends. Sporting opportunities are almost unlimited at San Diego State University compared to German universities. There is a huge fitness studio with a climbing wall and two three-field halls, a bowling alley, a swimming pool and various other sports facilities. This is all free for international students. Of course, I made a lot of use of that.
What I can also suggest to you is to inquire at American student organizations. There are so many different options that there is something for everyone and Americans are very open to meeting international students. For example, I got involved in a ” Friendship, Service and Leadership ” organization and got to know a lot of Americans there, built up friendships and did something good by volunteering at special events.
Going out in San Diego is very diverse. Downtown and Pacific Beach have the classic clubs and bars, but there’s more. One bar I highly recommend is the Piano Bar downtown. There, four good pianists (always two at the same time) play all sorts of pieces (bubble but to Irish folk) on two pianos and strongly involve the audience. Another good place is In Cahoots (a country hangout). There, a few days a week, an estimated 50 people study special dances, which are then randomly danced in the evening. When you are there for the first time, it is really impressive. For 20 minutes people dance all over the place to normal music and then suddenly a bit of country is thrown in and one person does some choreography that the others follow. It’s almost like a flash mob’ alt=smileys title=smileys v: shapes=”_x0000_i1030″>. Then there are party buses that pick you up from the college area and take you to downtown and Pacific Beach clubs. Oh yes, and Tijuana is just around the corner (Mexico).
Because the weather is incredibly good, San Diego offers other good opportunities besides partying. There are many interesting regions to explore, Coastal Areas, Coronado Island, Downtown, San Diego Zoo, Seaworld and much more. Depending on whether you have a car or where you live, you often go to the beach to surf. If you’re hungry, there are three great addresses: In and Out Burger, Phil’s BBQ and, for those who don’t know it, Korean BBQ (unbranded) in different locations.
California offers a lot of sights. From perfect nature to the world metropolis and complete consumption, there is everything to see. Below I list some interesting attractions that are worth checking out.
Los Angeles, one of the largest cities in America and one of the most famous cities in the world. Many sights such as Venice Beach, Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills and the Hollywood Sign characterize LA. Since LA is actually on the way to all other hot spots, you’ll probably drop by there more often.
San Francisco, in my opinion one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. The city has so much to offer, it’s amazing. The Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz are just two of the major attractions. If you make it to San Francisco, be sure to check out Lands End.
Stanford University is on the way to San Francisco and has a very beautiful and huge campus. You can definitely drive by on the way.
Located south of Los Angeles, Disneyland is perfect for a day trip from early morning to late at night. The attractions there are as well done as you have never seen in your life. I had one of the best days of my life there. Unfortunately, the whole thing has its price, you pay $100 per ticket.
Las Vegas, an impressive city and probably the best place to party in the whole world. My goal was to play poker in Las Vegas one day, and now that’s accomplished..
Yosemite National Park, pure nature. If nature is your thing, Yosemite National Park is the place to hike. Beautiful views of mountains, waterfalls and gorges give an impressive landscape.
Grand Canyon, incredible views and unique impressions of nature.
I definitely had a really great time and would recommend anyone to do a semester abroad in San Diego. Was there again in August for a month’s vacation.