University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business administration, English/American studies, Romance studies
Study type: semester abroad
Thanks to MicroEdu, the application went smoothly, without any major problems and without a great deal of work and paperwork. All you have to do is fill out a two-page application form and attach copies of, for example, your passport and financial solvency. I felt very well advised at College-Conatct, as every open question was answered within a day by phone or email. As a result, you never had the feeling of having to take matters into your own hands, but always had a willing advisor at your side. The regular information mails about the university itself or about the semester abroad in the USA in general were also very helpful. See ehuacom for 10 best countries to study in 2020.
After I submitted my documents to MicroEdu, I had to wait about 3 weeks for an acceptance. If you are interested in living on campus, you should consider applying to the university very early. This should then be done at the beginning of January for the fall semester. I applied so early and just got a place in the on-campus apartments. Of course, a short-term application is also possible, which is another advantage of MicroEdu.
All three points should be planned fairly early on. Embassy appointments and Toefl appointments are booked up relatively quickly. If you’re keen on scheduling appointments and don’t want the next best thing, make an effort early in the year.
The process at the embassy varies. It went very quickly for me, so that I had everything done within three quarters of an hour, including queuing. However, I have also heard of waiting times of more than three hours. Of course, it also depends on the number of visitors, the day of the week and the time of day.
I booked the flight about four months before departure. That gave me a certain security. However, later there are often very cheap offers that are quite attractive for a trip to California.
Arrival, accommodation and university:
I landed in San Diego a week before orientation week. That gave me enough time to look around the university and San Diego itself. Since I had already received an offer for the “Villa Alvarado Apartments” in Germany, I didn’t have to worry about looking for an apartment there. I stayed at the Ramada Hotel for the first three days. I can only recommend this as it is right next to the trolley station and only one stop away from the university.
I can only recommend living on campus for a semester. You save yourself the stress and uncertainty of not entering the USA for a place to stay. However, I would prefer the “Piedra Del Sol Apartments” because they are really on campus. Furthermore, it is only a few steps from there to the gym. Unfortunately, the “Villa Alvarado Apartments” are about a 5-minute walk from the campus. This is basically not a problem, since you can be on campus quickly, but the facility is a bit far from the beaten path and you feel a bit uncomfortable, especially in the dark. There is a shuttle bus that runs from central points of the university every 15-20 minutes directly to the door of the facility, but it does not always run at the same times, so it is quite uncertain when the next bus will leave. Furthermore, the Villa Alvarado apartments are quite sparsely furnished and also need a general overhaul, since they already appear relatively old. But for a semester it was quite acceptable there, stress-free and relatively independent, since you are not tied to any curfews or visitor registrations.
Getting around: It is not necessary to buy a car for one semester, but it is definitely helpful. Especially when you go grocery shopping, you realize what a luxury a car offers. On the one hand you save a lot of time and you don’t get any back problems from heavy towing. The nearest large supermarket can be reached by bus in just three minutes. But the trolley and bus station are a bit away from the campus apartments. Public transport is not as bad as expected. The trolley runs to downtown San Diego every 15-30 minutes. There are also plenty of bus routes. But a trip to the beach quickly turns out to be a day trip, since you have to calculate a good hour and a half exclusive waiting time for a trip.
SDSU itself is an impressive university. Even the campus is overwhelming. It is very spacious, kept in the Spanish style and offers numerous, beautifully laid out seating areas, which invites you to sunbathe. Furthermore, there are three different dining locations on campus with a large selection of fast food restaurants. The gym is highly recommended. The program begins at 6: 30 in the morning and usually ends around 8 or 9 in the evening. It is varied and much more strenuous than in Germany. Most of the time, the trainers themselves are relatively young, which gives the whole thing a certain vibrancy.
Course selection at SDSU in business studies turned out to be a bit complicated and messy. The problem is that there are far too many business graduates and far too few places in the courses. Because of the crashing, it is very difficult to get into a regular SDSU course, which is also attended by American students. ALI offers certain Special Sections, but these are only intended for ALI’s international students. It is therefore difficult to get into the courses in business administration that are also required for crediting. I would recommend going to all the courses offered and putting yourself on a “crasher list” in the courses. Because in the succession process you have a very good chance of getting into a regular business administration course at the university.
It was not a problem to get a place in English and French because these subjects are not overcrowded.
The level of the courses varies. But they all have one thing in common. There is an awful lot to read and do, such as assignments, group work or midterms, which you would not initially expect from the USA. The material for the exams is often difficult to master, but many of the exams are multiple choice, which offers a certain level of security, so that you don’t have to know everything exactly.
In addition to the lectures, the SDSU and the ALI office also offer plenty of leisure activities, so that you never get bored at the weekend or during the week. What you should definitely see are the university football and basketball games. At the opening of the season there was a big housewarming party before the game with a huge range of food and of course “for free”.
I would choose San Diego again and especially California. San Diego has a lot to offer. From beaches to harbors to green spaces and various interesting neighborhoods, San Diego never gets boring. Especially the nice Gaslamp Quarter likes to invite you to a nice cocktail evening. There are also some very good clubs downtown and on Pacific Beach that add to the party spirit. Must-see attractions include San Diego Harbor with Seaport Village, Balboa Park and Zoo (the prettiest zoo I’ve ever seen), the Gaslamp Quarter, Little Italy and La Jolla Beach.
The constantly beautiful weather and the warm climate right into December make the semester a time that, in addition to studying, sometimes feels like a nice vacation. Due to the relaxed attitude of the locals, you quickly perceive all matters much more relaxed. And who can claim to have studied near the beach.