University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: mechanical engineering
Study type: semester abroad
I approached the choice of an English-speaking university for a semester abroad as a mechanical engineer from various perspectives. On the one hand, it was important to me to study in a warm country, if possible by the sea with lots of sunshine. On the other hand, I focused on the subjects offered, which should be as congruent as possible with the German level. In my master’s degree, one of the compulsory subjects is to choose a subject with a focus on business. San Diego State University is very well positioned in this area and offers numerous courses for international students at a high level. However, not much is offered here in terms of mechanical engineering. My choice of subjects was therefore limited to courses based on mechanical engineering, which unexpectedly offered a lot of interesting and exciting knowledge content. Furthermore, San Diego State University (SDSU) is located near popular travel destinations, so that there is always a change to study and homework. See existingcountries for exchange in Dublin Ireland.
My preparations for a semester abroad in spring 2014 in San Diego began a year earlier. First, I had to have an English certificate issued, which was required for studying in an English-speaking country. From a purely cost perspective, I focused on the DAAD certificate. Furthermore, things like renewing your passport, course selection and clarification with professors from your home university, flight booking (only one-way flight, since options for travel should still be kept open at the end of the semester), taking out international health insurance, etc. were on the agenda.
The visa appointment in Frankfurt was very relaxed. The excitement of possible conversations or explanations of any facts subsided immediately after entering the building. Here it is very worthwhile to get an appointment in the early morning of a weekday, so queues were virtually abolished and the individual people at the various stations were more likely to wait for you.
MicroEdu will announce other pending tasks before the start of the semester abroad with sufficient advance notice. Without this support, the planning and preparation would have been much more laborious and possibly not feasible. Due to my choice of subject, contact with the university often had to be established in advance in order to explicitly ask again. Without any help, my problem would not have been solved so quickly. Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks once again for this comprehensive help! With detailed and competent advice, planning a semester abroad with MicroEdu is made much easier and more pleasant!
Towards the end of 2013, after the extensive efforts regarding planning and organization for my spring semester 2014 in San Diego, I finally set off towards America. Before that, I made a stopover in New York to look forward to the New Year in Times Square. A good week before the start of the semester, I landed in San Diego in the evening and was initially impressed by the atmosphere, the weather, the people!! Already on the first day everything pointed to a great six months in San Diego. I had previously made contact with a student housing landlord around campus who picked me up at the airport and drove to my apartment after a hearty meal. Already on the first (whole) day, my landlord took me to a car rental station (Dirty Cheap Car Rental), where, after much deliberation, I booked a rental car for the whole semester. This company comes highly recommended for such a long period compared to the most common local car rental companies. With generous courtesy and some great cars, I was able to get a great offer. It is advantageous to be 25(+) years of age when trading, in order to get a lower price in addition to greater trust.
After a few days of sightseeing and getting used to it, a pre-program at the university started. On the first day, only registration and a few information events took place. The next day, a presentation was offered via WebPortal and Blackboard, which represent portals for students that provide documents and grades for the respective subjects and also enable data exchange in project groups. There are also numerous events such as Campus Tour or City Bus Tour, which are highly recommended. Not only important information is conveyed here, but you get to know numerous new people who you meet again in the lecture hall at the latest.
Class crashing is quite simple. In many courses, most of which are attended only by Americans, the professors are very positive about accepting a foreign student on the course. To register for a course, the professor’s signature and an add-code are required on a form, which must be submitted to the student office. The selected courses can then be looked up in Blackboard or WebPortal. As a master’s student, I had chosen three master’s courses, each with 3 credits (9 credits in total, maximum is 9 credits) and also took part in a surf course. This is a lot of fun and is recommended for all those who are fascinated by water sports and still have a few euros left. Additional courses are charged extra and are not listed on the certificate if required. Textbooks are often required for the chosen subjects, from which homework is assigned or information for preparing for tests or exams can be found. It is advisable to borrow the required books from a cheaper bookstore such as KB-BookStore instead of the BookStore on campus. You often have to consult the Internet/Craiglist for this or buy an unused copy. These are then very expensive. By the way, a “Deutsche Bank” account is recommended for the necessary small change. As a student, you can open a free checking account at Deutsche Bank. With this it is possible withdraw cash free of charge on site from ATMs of the widespread Bank of America. Banks in the surrounding countries such as Mexico or Canada also cooperate with Deutsche Bank, so that you are helped so much and you can avoid processing fees for card payments with credit cards.
Studying abroad is a lot of fun. You can see the noticeable difference with regard to the German teaching standards. In the USA, cutbacks have been made in many respects that make learning and studying much easier. You should therefore not have high expectations of the semester abroad. However, individual or group projects are often offered in the course itself, which are comprehensive and contain many interesting aspects. In principle, a lot of work is always to be expected in a course, but then the demands and the level of exams are kept low.
If you want to experience a lot in addition to university life, you can definitely try to schedule courses so that there is a long weekend. City trips to Las Vegas, Los Angeles or Mexico can then be approached in a very relaxed manner. In addition, shopping activities in Fashion Valley, Mission Valley and Las Americas or a visit to the Safari Park, San Diego Zoo or Sea World San Diego can be undertaken. Otherwise, with a diverse sports program at the university (free fitness centers, swimming pool, basketball, tennis, football halls,…) and numerous student parties, there is always something on offer that makes the semester abroad in San Diego an unforgettable life event. Travel to San Francisco, Sequoia – or Yosemite National Park, Grand Canyon, Sacramento,
When it comes to dining, San Diego offers more than just a number of places to eat. Of particular note here are Cheesecake Factory, Old Spaghetti Factory, Taco Wagon, and In-n-Out Burgers. Other culinary highlights include Taco Tuesday, numerous bars in La Jolla and the hookah bar near Prospect St.
Basically, San Diego State University is highly recommended for studying abroad. In addition to the great weather every day, the imposing and partly idyllic university campus and the unique environment with numerous possibilities, San Diego State University scores points. Although you have to dig deep into your pocket to be able to pay for any expenses, you get a lot for the money and the semester abroad is an unforgettable experience. However, you shouldn’t take your studies as seriously as you might be used to in Germany. Rather, attention should be paid to the surrounding area, which is definitely worth one or two vacation semesters in Germany and the respective expenses.