University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I more or less organized my semester abroad from August to December 2015 myself, with the support of MicroEdu, a free agency for students. The choice of San Diego was quite easy for me, since my favorite Chicago for a bachelor’s degree in business administration was unfortunately not available and otherwise only New York and Los Angeles were available as options. If Southern California, then right, I thought to myself and chose San Diego near the Mexican border. The application process was very uncomplicated and the communication, which generally took place via the agency, was very pleasant. I only got into a bit of trouble when I didn’t know that the language certificate had to be available so early and was able to complete the test just in time. Visit ehuacom.com to get information about CSULB study abroad program.
It’s actually recommended to go abroad in the fifth semester, and I originally planned to do that, but I was too late, so it ended up being my sixth. I’m more than happy about that in hindsight though, as the courses I was able to choose were pretty basic and I probably wouldn’t have been able to have any of them credited anyway since I’d already finished my undergraduate studies. So I was already free before the stay, didn’t have to worry about it and was able to choose two courses from other departments according to my interests, which I found very enriching. In addition, the business courses at San Diego State University for foreigners in Special sessions are organized in which no Americans participate. San Diego is teeming with Germans and Scandinavians, which resulted in only one non-German student in one of my classes. That’s not exactly what you expect from studying abroad, so I was very happy with my psychology and television history courses, which were part of the regular American curriculum, which few foreigners found themselves in.
Here too, of course, due to a lack of previous knowledge, I could only choose the basics and it is probably due to this fact that the demands placed on me were consistently very low. Americans start studying earlier than Germans, which is also noticeable in the first semesters at the university, which sometimes look more like an Abitur and during which the students do not have to commit themselves to any field of study. The exams, of which there are two to four per semester (!), are almost always multiple choice and almost never the only opportunity to collect points for the final grade. Apparently some professors think they have to compensate for this by overwhelming their students with work, which luckily I was spared.
I didn’t bother about an apartment in advance, because on the one hand everyone said that it wouldn’t be a problem and that it might take seven or ten days at most, and on the other hand I flew alone anyway and first had to find and get to know my future roommates. In fact, the three of us, all male, had extreme difficulties even getting feedback from landlords. The market was absolutely overflowing with demand and almost everything that was available went to Scandinavian girl groups. After we had spent more than two weeks looking for a hostel in the hostel, we got an apartment through acquaintances, more or less through luck and direct contact.
The resolution that was supposedly set in stone for me, and which I had to say goodbye to first, was not to move in with Germans under any circumstances, since the goal was to learn English. In retrospect, I’m not particularly angry about this either, because, in contrast to many others with a more international living situation, I lived more like I lived with friends with whom I then had mutual international acquaintances.
Everyday life and leisure time are expectedly pleasant in California and a life at the beach in the summer actually offers the same opportunities as a beach vacation does. It wasn’t until the beginning of December that the temperatures dropped below 20 degrees, but that didn’t stop me from beach volleyball just before my return flight – just before Christmas. Only the nightlife is quite disappointing, at least compared to big German cities. The best remedy here was trips to Tijuana, just across the border, where people seem to know a little more about partying.
Before my stay I was a lot more skeptical than most students, as I believe that one can be very unlucky with something like this, but was taught better and had a much better experience than I expected. In any case, it is worth the experience, which is of a very extraordinary kind and is one of the things that one will – hopefully – remember even in old age.