I have already looked for accommodation from Germany through a Facebook group, so I had absolutely no stress when I was in San Diegoarrived. I was picked up directly from the airport by the person who organized the rental of the rooms in the house, and in the evening I got to know some of my roommates in the house. In principle, I liked the house very much. There were eight of us and we got on really well, apart from a few small things, which of course didn’t go away. Unfortunately, my room hadn’t been cleaned when the previous guest moved out, so the work was left to me. In general, you have to say that not everything in the house was in top condition and not everything was really clean. But when you got up in the morning, you had a breathtaking view of the ocean, Pacific Beach and some other parts of San Diego from the living room. We also had a small terrace, which is great for grilling, Relaxing and partying was. In the shared apartment we were both Germans and Americans and Mexicans, which led to a bit of cultural exchange. Since some of the roommates had changed in the course of the 6 months, you always came into contact with new people and could improve your English in the shared apartment.
About the location – the house couldn’t be better located in San Diego. The flat share was slightly on a mountain in Pacific Beach, from where it was only a mile to the beach and also only a mile to the party street of PB, where there are numerous bars and restaurants and also some shops for shopping. To the university, however, it was about 25 minutes by car with normal traffic by car. Visit iamaccepted.com to get information about higher education in united states.
In general, I recommend everyone to organize accommodation from Germany, as there is no great stress on site. Apartments and shared flats are best found on craiglist or in various Facebook groups, and I’ve also heard a lot of positive things from students about the Kamo-Housing complex.
Mode of Transport
There are buses and a tram in San Diego, but I can only recommend renting a car. Just the fact that you have Drive-Inn ATMs at the bank says it all, in my opinion. For the first few months I rented a car from Dirt Cheap Car with a roommate, in the end I got one myself, as I still live a lot in Californiahave looked. The cars are really in good shape if you take care of renting a car early on and don’t wait until the new cars are all taken. I drove about 20,000km in the 6 months and had no problems with the car – if you rent the car for more than three months, Dirt Cheap Car will wash the car once a month and also check the oil level, etc., if you stop by.
Since everyone not only wants to go to university, but also wants to see one or the other of San Diego and other cities and national parks, you should absolutely rent a car, even if it is not cheap.
In America, Uber (kind of like taking a taxi – just a lot cheaper) is very common, which is perfect for getting to bars, restaurants or clubs in the evening without paying a lot. Be sure to download the app and always take it as soon as you have drunk alcohol!
The University – San Diego State University
The university is more or less actually a small town – there is a stadium, a huge range of sports facilities (gym, swimming pool, bowling alley, etc.), small parks, fast food restaurants, supermarkets, a library and of course lecture rooms. The university always reminded me of a small amusement park and was beautifully landscaped with palm trees etc.
About my courses – I only took courses from the film program on site. In the meantime there is no longer the possibility of “crashing” courses, but you have to register online for your desired courses and hope that you will get into the course. It is handled in such a way that the Americans have priority in the course registration and only then the internations are entered, which is therefore a bit of a gamble. It happens again and again that people do not take courses and cancel or the professor increases the number of participants afterwards because many more students have registered. So I can only recommend everyone to register in more than just their respective number of courses – for me there were 4 courses – if one or the other favorite is already taken.an absolutely instructive and exciting semester.
However, the courses are a little different than in Germany – I had actually imagined that I would be able to lie on the beach every day and lead the absolutely chilled Californian life. But nothing came of that during the lecture period – there is homework, and quite a few, and far more tests and many time-consuming projects. Since I was really interested in the courses, it wasn’t a problem for me to invest a lot of time during the week and also on the weekend for film productions. In three of the four courses we were only around 20 students, which was greatto get to know other students and the professors quickly got to know you by name. Since I was the only international student except for one course, I came into contact with many Americans very quickly through the lectures and group work. I got to know absolutely cool students who were very helpful because at the beginning I didn’t know one or the other and the students were always very helpful and helped. The professors were great too- You really saw that everyone had fun teaching and wanted to give the students something useful along the way, which in my opinion cannot always be said in Germany – in the small lectures the professors already knew me after just a few weeks by name and were always very helpful and tried hard. Briefly about the level – the exams are all kept quite simple, if you go to the lecture and prepare for the exams, it is quite possible to always get a good result in the tick test. The lectures really helped me to learn something new in the field of film production and I was able to produce great projects in the respective groups.
In addition to the lectures, you can also sign up for various sports courses such as surfing, which of course costs something again, but is actually quite inexpensive. Unfortunately I did not do this, but I can only recommend it through other students. Otherwise it is a good idea to go to the gym in your free time, which is free for international students.
During my semester there were regular basketball games and concerts in the arena. Sports events are usually free, so you should get your tickets quickly. From the ALI – the office that takes care of the international students – you always get e-mails if there are any important appointments or events. You should also check your spam folder often, as these emails are often recognized as spam and yet are often important. If you have direct questions, you can also drop by the ALI office and you will always get help.
Unfortunately, it has to be said that America is really not cheap. The tuition fees make up a large part, plus the costs for books and projects, which is also quite a bit. The accommodations are not exactly cheap either – whether single or shared room – you won’t find anything under $ 600 (tendency towards $ 800-900). The ancillary costs are also frightening at first – almost everything is more expensive than in Germany – but you should get used to the prices as quickly as possible and enjoy life there – you only go on a trip like this once! Also when it comes to going away – a 20% tip is more or less a must and if you want a beer, you won’t get anywhere under $ 7 anywhere.
So definitely put enough money aside beforehand or hope that the parents will pay for the costs.
In San Diego there is not a lot of tourist highlights, but the city is very clean and cozy.
You should definitely look at the following things:
- Coronado Island (Great view of the San Diego skyline and a clean and large beach to relax. Also here is the Hotel del Coronado, which is very well known in San Diego. There are also many small shops and restaurants.)
- La Jolla (At the La Jolla Shores you can always find some sea lions, especially the sunset is great to watch here. The area is also known for the fact that mainly the rich people of San Diego live here, which you can see in the numerous mansions.)
- Ocean Beach (Ocean Beach is the hippie area of San Diego – there are lots of cool shops, bars and restaurants here. I can recommend “South Beach Bar & Grill” – they have the best tacos in town and they are always on sale on Tuesdays – and “Hodad’s – World’s Best Burgers – not the best burgers in the world, but really good! The Sunset Cliffs are also just around the corner, where you have a nice view of the sunset.”
- Downtown(During the day you can actually only go to shopping centers and therefore not that spectacular, but worth a visit. In the evening there are numerous bars and restaurants where there is always something going on and there is a nice atmosphere, especially in the Gaslamp Quarter cozy bars where you can “just” chat. However, everything is not exactly cheap here. Also downtown is the baseball stadium – I can only recommend a visit to everyone – I found the game boring personally, but you have a great one View of the city from the stands and you were once at a game. Downtown is also known for its clubs, where there is a lot going on at the weekend. I have been to the clubs “Omnia” and “Parque” once or twice both two very modern locations and always a great party,but definitely not cheap, both entry and drinks are overpriced.)
- Balboa Park (Large and beautifully landscaped park in the city center with numerous museums, if the weather should be bad.)
- Pacific Beach (In PB there is a large beach with a pier, where you can just chill or go surfing for beginners and advanced surfers. In the evening, numerous bars turn into small clubs where you can party well – are recommended: Backyard, Miller’s Field, Mika Sushi, Sushi Kuchi, PB Shore Club, Ale House, Avenue…)
- USS Midway Mueum
- Blacks Beach
- Torry Pines
California and the surrounding area
If you want to see more than just San Diego, you definitely need a car and time. I stayed in San Diego for a few weeks after university and looked at some cities and national parks. Accommodation should always be organized a good two weeks in advance in order to get away cheaper. Motels and especially “Airbnb” are inexpensive and easy to organize. If you want to visit several national parks, you should definitely get an annual pass, as it is worth it after just a few days. Personally, I liked Yosemite and San Francisco best.
I can recommend the following places in Cali and the surrounding area:
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Las Vegas
- Santa Barbara
- Palm Springs
- Potato Chip Rock
- Grand Canyon
- Sequoia National Park
- Joshua Tree
- Antelope Canyon
- Death Valley
- Highway Number 1
I can only say that going to San Diego for half a semester was the best decision. At first I had a strange feeling – a new country, you don’t know anyone etc. – but after a few days you felt comfortable and found a second home. The lifestyle in California is super relaxed, the people are mostly incredibly open and friendly. At the checkout in the supermarket you are always asked how the day is going, you greet each other on the street even though you don’t know each other and you always get to know someone while partying. You quickly get used to the language – at some point you don’t think in German anymore and you even start to think about what English words mean in German again.
The university was great too. I really enjoyed going to university and doing homework, etc., because I was able to really learn something and got to know great students and I hope to keep in touch with them.
It also helped me a lot to organize myself completely independently. I can only say that the time remains unforgettable and was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I can recommend to everyone to do a semester abroad in San Diego and I wish everyone a great time.
You should absolutely enjoy your time and not be too frugal and really look at a lot. After six months it is really difficult to leave the country and the new contacts behind and go back to Germany. I would have loved to stay longer – but maybe there will be a reunion!