University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Electrical engineering
Study type: semester abroad
If you are reading this, you are probably interested in a semester abroad at SDSU ( San Diego State University ). Congratulations, because this is / will be the best decision of your life : -) This is my experience report from my semester abroad in San Diego at SDSU. I think some things can also be found in other reports. I will try to give my personal point of view, difficulties and experiences. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Sonoma State University SSU.
The preparation started for me about 7 months before the start. It was more than enough time. With the help of MicroEdu, it was also easier than I thought it would be. You also get a schedule by post of when you should do something, which I personally found very helpful. Despite the support of MicroEdu, it was still work to do, but don’t let that put you off, it’s limited. The biggest work is actually the visa. To apply for this you have to be in possession of a passport, answer some weird questions online, pay a lot of money (it was around 300-400€) and present yourself in person (after getting an appointment) at the embassy ( additional costs plus time). There are embassies in Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt. I had my interview in Berlin. The interview itself lasted less than 2 minutes, general questions were asked about my studies and what I plan to do in the USA. All in English. After a successful interview, the passport with the visa will be sent to you by post.
Arrival / apartment search
As you may have read in many other reports, there are 2 variants. The first is looking for an apartment from home or on site, the second is living on campus or in a beach area. If you want to live on campus, you can easily get a place in one of the halls of residence from home. However, if you want to live on the beach, it is easier to arrange this on site, since you should see the apartments and the contract is much easier when you are there. I myself have / wanted to live on the beach. So I booked a few nights in a hostel from home so that I could start looking for an apartment from there. The name of the hostel was Beach Bungalow, this was right on the beach in Pacific Beach.You quickly found new people on site who had exactly the same plans as you, you could meet new people pretty quickly and also possible future roommates. From there it was relatively easy for me to find an apartment.
After a few days, I found an apartment in Mission Beach through a Facebook group for San Diego Internationals. Unfortunately, I had to share the apartment with 4 Germans because I actually didn’t intend to live with Germans. But then you were glad to have found an apartment. The price was $665 for a shared room. I also lived 1 minute away from the beach. Mission Beach and Pacific Beach are actually the best spots for beach living. PB has all the bars and clubs, MB is right next door and is a little bit quieter. Both very beautiful areas. Everything is relaxed and easy hereand you will often laugh at people you meet here. The advantage of living in one of the halls of residence is clearly the contact with Americans. This is much more difficult in PB and MB, since a lot of exchange students from Germany and Scandinavia live here. I don’t regret the decision to live on the beach at all. For me, it was California life as you imagine it.
The uni is located further inland from San Diego. Since I had rented a car, it was no problem to get to the university. I always needed 20 minutes. I got the car from Dirty Cheap Cars, which I can also recommend to you because you have no additional costs and are 100% insured. The cost of the car was 500€ per month for the 2nd worst category. This was a later Kia Forte. I shared the cost with a roommate. In addition, you need a parking permit for the university, which cost $160 for the whole semester.
The university, crashes and courses
The university and the whole area that goes with it are just huge. There are countless parking garages, a basketball stadium, swimming pools, a large gym and much more. The students there really live university life. You are proud to be able to study at SDSU and you show it clearly. Crashing was pretty easy and quick for me. But that was definitely due to the fact that I’m studying engineering and not business like felt 99% of the others. They had a lot more trouble than that. So the first week I went to every potential class and after the lecture I went to the professor and asked if I could attend. I got, except for one time, a signature immediately. I had to wait a bit in one subject and hope that the course would not be overcrowded so that I could still get a place. In the end, however, everything worked out pretty well.
In total, I had to go to university 4 times a week. Luckily Friday was free : -) I didn’t find the level very difficult myself. It was more hard work. You have to do homework, do quizzes, write Midtherm and a final every week. I myself found the homework quite annoying, but it also had the advantage that you are always up to date and are forced to learn. Everything is then summarized in an overall grade, with the final accounting for 30 to 40%. I went to Digital Circiuts, Digital Systems, Digital Signal Processing and then Statistics for Engineers. If you have any questions about the courses I have taken, just write to me!
San Diego: Sights and Nightlife
San Diego is an absolute dream city. There is everything here. Especially for sports enthusiasts. Everyone does sport here and you can see that. Whether it’s running, surfing, fitness. There is nothing that is not here. I do bodybuilding myself and felt very comfortable here. I also started surfing and was hooked from the start. I then got myself a surfboard from Craigslist, which I was then able to resell 2 weeks before departure.
Costs and payment
Yes, one thing first. If you decide to go to San Diego, it won’t be very cheap. Rent is very expensive here, and groceries aren’t exactly cheap either. So you should budget around $1500 every month. Maybe you’re lucky and your dollar rate is better than mine was (€1 – $1.11). However, there are also some tips for saving. You should shop for one in Ralphs Supermarket, just get the Ralphs Card. This makes shopping a lot cheaper. But I got the absolute insider tip from an American. It’s Costco. It’s a kind of wholesale market. At first I had to buy a ticket (about $50), which you can easily get out again. There is actually everything here, only in large quantities and therefore sometimes much cheaper, eg 30 eggs, 11 kg of rice, etc. I have always paid with a credit card. A must in the US. I got mine from Barclaycard. To be more precise, I had the Germanwings Gold credit card. With this I had no additional costs when paying abroad. When withdrawing, there are also no additional costs on the part of the credit card, but the ATMs always charge a small fee of $3-5.
My personal recommendations : Monday: Millers field (2 burgers for the price of one) in Pacific Beach, Tuesdays: Taco tuesday, Definitely drop by Phils Barbecue! In and Out Burger: Order 4 x 4 Animal Style! Cheesecake Factory: Just order the classic : D