University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, Economics
Study type: semester abroad
A semester at SDSU aka San Diego State University is heavenly in my opinion. After spending a little time on the east coast in August to get to know New York, I went over to the sunshine state CA. When I got off the plane, saw the first palm trees and breathed in the first Californian air, one thing was clear to me: “This is the right place for me”. California is just how I imagined it: summer, sun, palm trees, beautiful sea, skating, surfing, good mood and relaxation… So you can look forward to the lifestyle (if you like it, like me). I was in San Diego about 2 weeks before the start of the university, which was exhausting in the end, but I think you also look for this challenge with such a stay abroad. I organized an apartment via the SD Craigslist as quickly as possible. That means in plain language: every day, cliché-like, I went to Starbucks with my MacBook and searched online for stalls and then called the landlords or the “agents” directly. Of course I didn’t make calls with my German SIM card. I bought a prepaid Nokia cell phone from T-Mobile USA (I didn’t use the cell phone itself), took out the SIM card, activated it and then it said: $50 a month – free text, free speech and a few MB Web, which is cool for the iPhone (or web-enabled cell phone). So you can be lucky when looking for an apartment… Just hang in there, allow a little time and then it will work out. I ended up living close to the campus, which I think was perfect: a short drive to the university, I had a car for free time anyway and downtown or in PB it’s just too expensive. I avoided the on campus housing options – too expensive and I didn’t want to share a room with some Asians, because there are quite a few of them there and their English isn’t the best. See ehuacom for study in Switzerland.
In my opinion, USA without a car makes little sense, so I made sure of that before my semester started. I got a rental car permanently (Nissan 4-door), because a purchase was too dangerous for me, because you can be very lucky or really unlucky with it – example: You buy a cheap used car and it runs the first 1000 miles and then you get stuck (preferably on the way to Vegas) and the money is gone and you don’t have a car anymore (worst case). Best case: you buy a cheap Nissan, it runs great, takes you everywhere and at the end of the semester you can get rid of it for more money… But that’s rather rare, so I turned to Dirt Cheap Car Rentals San Diego and made me a long-term deal that really wasn’t too expensive ($1800 for 5 months).
To the University:
The ALI people really take incredibly good care of you, first things first said! Great praise at this point. After the early registration was over, the crashing started, which turned out to be really exhausting… But if you don’t give up immediately and keep going, I’m sure you’ll get your courses. However, you have to be flexible. In my opinion, picking out certain courses before the semester, writing to professors or anything else is of no use. Otherwise the Ami level is lower academically, I think. You should speak good English so that it is not too difficult for you, let that be said. It was a cool experience to get to know how studying in America works and it’s really different from GER. You have homework here, an online quiz there and so on…
You really have unlimited possibilities! Well, I actually kept myself pretty far away from campus life and lived for myself, that means: met Americans, went skating and surfing with them, partyed in San Diego downtown, preferably at Typhoon (Pacific Beach) or I just travelled. I’ve been to LA very often, really looked at everything… Was just spontaneously in Pismo Beach, in El Segundo or wherever. So there really are a lot of Germans at the university… Hence this certain “distancing”. You can really do anything there. I don’t even need to start enumerating, you’ll see for yourself: you’ll never get bored. And California is beautiful. After my semester I traveled north, via San Francisco… Did a really nice road trip and took the opportunity to explore the complete beauty of CA. Was really worth it. Of course I was in Vegas several times during the semester, which is a must anyway.
I personally received BAföG, which helped me a lot. So it’s worth it for everyone to try and apply for it. Otherwise you should plan a bit more to spend a really nice, carefree semester. To give you a number, with 1000 € a month you’re already fine, with more it only gets better…
So bottom line:
If you want to spend a fun, exciting, sunny and beautiful semester abroad, San Diego, California is the place for you! The experience abroad was more than worth it and I even got some credits from my German university. You don’t really need to talk about the language, because if you’re in the USA and feel like speaking English, you can do that too and whoosh, you’ll quickly have Ami slang without you noticing it… So experience America!
- there is ALWAYS something going on at the SDSU
- there is no bad weather back there, with exceptions it rains briefly
- West Coast represent
- Surfing is always possible
- If you get to know Americans properly, they can also become good friends