University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: industrial engineering
Study type: semester abroad
After I decided to do a semester abroad, I quickly made the decision to do it in San Diego. See ehuacom for vocational training in Finland. I started my planning almost 1 year before the actual start of the semester abroad – I first found out whether my university would support my project and whether I could have subjects credited.
After clearing this up and getting positive feedback, I quickly came across Collage Contact, a placement company that is completely free for me/the user. After contacting Collage Contact, they sent me a list of information and requirements I needed to complete to help with the application and organization of my stay in San Diego.
The good thing about MicroEdu is you know the application process and information you will need to plan your semester abroad. MicroEdu can be reached at any time and will give you quick and specific answers that will help you further. Furthermore, you are never in personal contact with the university, this is all handled by MicroEdu. You send them the documents required for your application, MicroEdu checks whether everything is complete and then sends it on to the university.
MicroEdu made the planning and organization much easier for me and I would recommend it to everyone. I sent off my application in December 2013 and around the end of January 2014 I was accepted by the SDSU.
From that point on, I took care of my flight, international insurance, VISA card, visa, applied for a scholarship, paid the tuition fees, the choice of subjects and my apartment search.
Looking back, everything went smoothly for me, also thanks to MicroEdu, but it has to be said that this process takes a lot of time.
Regarding the apartment search, I decided to live on campus in the so-called “Sanctuary Apartments”. This is an option provided by the SDSU / ALI. On the one hand, I decided on this option because I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to rent or buy a car and therefore the option of living on the beach fell flat for me, because I didn’t feel like it every time I had to go to the university about 10 minutes. Having to take the train for 1 hour. On the other hand, by accepting this housing option, I knew that when I first started my time in San Diego, I didn’t have to worry about housing and that this seemed the easiest thing for me.
The semester in San Diego started on August 17th, so I decided to arrive in early August.
Start in San Diego
So I came to San Diego at the beginning of August and booked myself into the Ocean Beach International Hostel for the first 3 weeks. I would recommend this hostel to everyone, 100m away from the beach, located in the “most layed back” part of San Diego, you meet a lot of people in the hostel and it is in a great location to explore other parts of the city.
On August 17th I was able to go to my apartment. The apartment was great, large living room with integrated kitchen, 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, each for shared rooms. My roommate was a German with whom I got along well and there were no problems. Our other roommates were 2 Chinese.
Start of university
As a bachelor student you had to take 4 courses with 3 units each. Since I registered as a business student in order to be able to take business subjects, I was able to choose 2 “special sessions” in advance. These special sessions are business subjects that are only taken by exchange students because the normal business school of the university could not accommodate the rush of exchange students. I then had to “crash” 2 more subjects. In this process, you choose subjects that you want to take and go to the professors of the selected subjects within the first few weeks of the start of your studies and ask them if there are still places available in the course. Unfortunately, I had the misfortune that I didn’t get any of the 4 subjects I had chosen because they were already full or too many students wanted to crash the course. Therefore, after a long time, I had to think and try to choose subjects that I would not have taken under normal circumstances. But after this difficulty was cleared up, I slowly got used to my everyday life. I personally had university 4 times a week, Monday-Thursday. However, I also had a few friends who only went to university 3 or even 2 times a week. You can choose your subjects quite well. People who lived on the beach tried not to have to go to uni more than 3 times a week. But since I lived directly on campus, I had no problem with that and still had Thursday to Sunday off.
The campus is outstanding, just as one imagines an American campus to be. There is a food court and several fast food chains spread across campus, there is a bookstore selling merchandise and books, a large library, a student center with free bowling alley, a huge gym with a sports hall in the 4 basketball courts fit, a swimming pool with a recreational pool and jacuzzi and numerous other sports facilities such as football fields and basketball arena.
The campus is very large, but small enough to move from one room to another between classes. In addition, it is beautiful and vivid with its numerous green areas.
The lectures I had were all based on compulsory attendance, or you got points for attendance. There were a few exceptions where you don’t have to be present, but generally everyone was required to be present. Participation is very important. That means either the lecture is in classroom form and the professor likes to ask questions in the class, or there are “clicker questions” where you have to answer questions with a so-called clicker.
Depending on the course, there are 2 or 3 exams per semester. This is good because you don’t have a huge mountain of work to do at the end of the semester and bad because you always have to work a bit during the semester.
Leisure and life
In my opinion, San Diego is the perfect place for a semester abroad. A city that has a lot to offer. The beaches are outstanding, people are super nice and the weather is incredible. In summer I usually go to the beach 1-3 times a week. Surfing, snorkeling or just sunbathing are the activities there. Since I lived on campus, I also spent a lot of time in the collage area. Whether it was basketball in the sports halls, in the fitness studio, soccer on one of the football fields or in the Aquaplex on a lounger mat at the swimming pool.
The weather in San Diego offers an invitation to the beach almost every day. As the semester took its course, towards the beginning of November it became so “winter” that you no longer wanted to sunbathe on the beach. The winter still offers warm days around 20 degrees. But even without summer, the city has a lot to offer, whether it’s the Sunsetcliffs, Balboa Park, the Fashion Valley shopping center or Seaport Village.
San Diego is also very well located for visiting other cities or national parks. LA, Vegas, Mexico, Grand Canyon or other numerous national parks can be reached within 2-4 hours.
To party, head downtown to the busy Gaslamp Quarter, Northpark, or Pacific Beach, which is well known for Taco Tuesday.
Since I lived on campus, I often found myself at house parties or with friends who also lived in the collage area.
San Diego is not a city you can’t afford, but it’s not cheap either. You should generally note that food in the States is definitely more expensive than in Germany, while fast food is cheaper.
Since I didn’t want to rent or buy a car, I got the semester ticket at the beginning of the semester, which you can buy at the university. With this I was able to travel with the public transport for the entire semester. The public offer is sufficient to get everywhere. However, one should note that it takes considerably more time to get anywhere. The journey from Mission Beach to the university takes about 20 minutes by car or 1 hour by public transport. However, it is still a very good alternative. I also had friends who had cars that I could often drive with.
The city is highly recommended. For a semester abroad in which you want to get to know a lot of sun and nice people or just want to be in their company, this is just the right thing. The public transport is sufficient to get everywhere and the nightlife also has something to offer.
The university has very promising sports offerings and the campus is a great place to hang out and hang out. Football or basketball games from the Atztecs are mandatory and also recommended. With regard to the standard of training, I have to say that it is far from the Germans. Exams were all with multiple choice questions, you didn’t have to study much and you come home with good grades. So it was for me, and I am of the opinion, that it is exactly the right thing for a semester abroad. I had a lot of free time and the university made this possible. I wanted to get to know a lot about the city, the people and the area, I succeeded and would not have chosen a university that might have a better reputation or education.
The Sanctuary Apartments, if you want to live on campus, have by far the best location you could ask for. Right on campus and next to the transit center for buses or subway. Within 5 minutes you are in the lecture rooms. You have your own kitchen and everything else you need. However, if I was going to do the same semester again, I would have waited until I got to San Diego to start house hunting and then found a room in a house in the Collage Area. At the beginning of the semester or while I was in the hostel, there were plenty of opportunities to rent a house or get a room with people.
Otherwise I would recommend the “Suits on Paseo”, also directly on campus, but the disadvantage is that there are no kitchens and you have a meal plan with which you can eat at the buffet once a day.
Another option for me would be Boulevard 63 (Blvd63). This is completely new, has large rooms, own kitchen, but is 10 minutes away from the campus with the house’s own shuttle.
One should note that for the reasons I mentioned above about the city and university, San Diego is lucrative for several Germans and therefore there are many German exchange students in San Diego. You also have a lot of contact with them simply because you sometimes have the special sessions with only exchange students.
But this shouldn’t deter you. You speak enough English, because every lecture is in English and you only speak English in everyday life. If you only want to speak English, you should make sure that you only move into your apartment with Ami’s.