University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Art and design, journalism
Study type: semester abroad
A semester abroad? In America? Well, I have to admit that everything sounded nice and good at first, but I thought: “It won’t work anyway!” Far too much effort, far too many things to do. At that point, however, I didn’t know that MicroEdu existed and that they took care of (almost) everything. See existingcountries for vocational training in New Zealand.
So let me know first. Where do you want to go? And when? And how long? We quickly chose San Diego because the university there, San Diego State University (SDSU), was the most similar to our subjects here in Germany. Here in Lemgo we studied media production in the 4th semester. So we wanted to spend the 5th semester in San Diego.
Now everything happened very quickly. The 4th semester just flew by because you already had a lot to do:
- register at the university (via MicroEdu)
- complete the TOEFL with at least 80 points
- Flight booked, once Hanover – San Diego and back for 700 euros
- Make sure that the subjects in Germany are credited (academic international office)
- apply for visa
- Looking after an apartment
- Take care of a car
On August 19th, 2009 we started!
First impression: BIG!!! Of course, there are 30,000 students at SDSU and a corresponding number of buildings. It is not wrong to take a long walk across the campus at the beginning to get an overview.
The campus is beautiful. We liked the little turtle pond best, where you could spend your breaks and watch the little ones swim. Very relaxing!
The ALI: American Language Institute is responsible for you, where you have to register for the courses and can always go there if you have problems. ALI also held an introductory event on the first day, where everything about choosing a course and all the trimmings was explained to you. There was also a small campus tour to the most important buildings of the SDSU.
Compared to studying at our German University of Applied Sciences, I found studying at SDSU to be much more complex. Of course I can only talk about my degree in media production. At SDSU we attended a total of 4 courses in the Art and Journalism Department.
When I say more complex, I don’t mean heavier. The material that is taught is no more difficult than in Germany. It’s just that a lot more is expected of you. First of all, attendance is mandatory in all courses! Every day! Because that also flows into your final grade. In addition, there is homework every day or weekly projects that have to be handed in. These are then also evaluated again and so you collect your final grade during the semester.
In the Management of Media Organizations subject, we also wrote two mid-exams, i.e. two exams during the semester, in addition to the final exam.
Since we were 2 girls and a guy, we couldn’t share an apartment on campus (very strict gender segregation). So we rented our own apartment a mile from the university. Villa del Cerro Apartments -> highly recommended! Was of course unfurnished, which was a disadvantage. But fortunately there is also Ikea in the USA : o)
We set ourselves up there completely for about 1000 dollars. At the end of the semester we sold all the stuff. At a loss, of course, which is understandable.
There is also the possibility to rent furniture, but unfortunately it is very expensive.
The city of San Diego
Since I come from a rather small town in Germany with around 100,000 inhabitants, San Diego naturally took some getting used to. Simply everything is one size larger! A car is recommended, because you can’t go everywhere with the Trolli and the buses are not supposed to be completely reliable.
As already described, we lived near the university, so further inland. From there it’s a 20 to 30 minute drive to the beaches that we always liked La Jolla the best.
In addition to the house and university parties, there is also an option downtown (also suitable for shopping) to go out in the evening. But if you want to get real bargains on clothes, you should definitely take a look at the Outlet Center Las Americas on the Mexican border (about 30 minutes drive)
5 months in which you saw something new every day and in which it rained 3 times. But you should also be aware that you can’t just spend your time there sunbathing and may also have to spend a few weekends at your desk. You also have to be aware that the price-performance ratio is not really right, because you don’t get more than here for the equivalent of 4200 euros in tuition fees. Nevertheless, the experience alone and the possible advantages for later applications should be reason enough to take the step to the West!