University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
I decided to do a semester abroad at an American university because I’ve been a huge USA fan since my childhood. I moved to Bremen from China when I was two years old and have been back there a few times since then. Although I like it very much in China and Germany, it was always my childhood wish to study in the USA. I’ve been influenced by American culture since I was little, ie I’ve always been a huge Arnold Schwarzenegger fan and I mostly listen to American music. In addition, the United States is the strongest economy in the world, which is driven by intercultural diversity and the spirit of the “American Dream”. Since this is my major in “International Entrepreneurship, Management and Marketing”, as well as reflecting my international origins and my personal preferences, I decided to spend a semester abroad in the USA. The framework of my destination was set, now the only question was where exactly should I go in the USA. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Hillsborough Community College.
My home university in Bremen cooperates with two American universities, namely in Kansas City (Missouri) and New York City (New York). Kansas City was too boring for me because I like to travel in my free time and there aren’t any significant places to visit in the immediate vicinity. St. Louis, Chicago and the Great Lakes 250 miles and 500 miles away respectively. Kansas City itself didn’t seem very exciting to me either. Of course, New York City would have been great, but you would have to pay a very high sum out of your own pocket and in this case you would not have the opportunity to take advantage of foreign student loans.
One day I attended an event from “MicroEdu” about “Semester abroad in the USA and Canada as a free mover”, where several universities were presented as well as the funding opportunities. The MicroEdu employees were always friendly, helpful and answered questions within a very short time. This organization is 100 percent fee-free and highly recommended. I immediately noticed San Diego and San Diego State University (SDSU) because it is a city on the coast, which with a population of 1.3 million is not too big, but not too small either. In addition, there are pleasant temperatures, even in the winter months. Located in Southern California, the interesting nearby area is also easily traveled. Los Angeles eg is only a two hour drive away. In addition, after much research, I found out that SDSU is a very good university. However, the decisive point was that this university is relatively cheap by American standards with tuition fees of US$ 6530 (approx. 5000 €), and these fees can be almost completely covered by paying the tuition fees of the foreign student loan (4600 €). Students who normally do not receive Bafög should still apply for Auslandsbafög, as the funding limit is lower than domestic Bafög. As soon as foreign student loans have been approved, regardless of the amount, the tuition fees (up to €4,600) will be covered. In addition, you get a 1000€ flight allowance and the international health insurance (approx. 60€/month) is also paid for. Half of the flat rate flight The international health insurance as well as the monthly subsidy amount must be paid back to the Baföamt after graduation. However, it is best to advance the money, since the tuition fees are only transferred after you have had a form signed by the host institution. As in my case, this can take more than two months after the semester has already started. Additional processing and transfer time (about a month) should also be factored in. As in my case, this can take more than two months after the semester has already started. Additional processing and transfer time (about a month) should also be factored in. As in my case, this can take more than two months after the semester has already started. Additional processing and transfer time (about a month) should also be factored in.
The SDSU is very popular among German students, which is why it makes sense to apply early (at least 6 months, better 8-9 months before the start of the semester) to get a place. This time should also be used to request the necessary documents and to deal with the authorities. It’s a really stressful part, but don’t get discouraged as it will pay off in the end. It is important to get an appointment at the American embassy – either in Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich – in good time to request the visa. The personal interview there is only mandatory and no reason to panic. As long as you don’t look unkempt or aggressive, you can get the visa without any problems. Only two short questions are asked, for example whether you have ever been to the USA and what you plan to do there.
The university certificates and language certificates must be translated into English, which could be done free of charge at our university. In addition, you need a letter from a bank confirming that you have enough capital (US$15,000) to complete the semester abroad without financial aid from the USA. A foreign health insurance is mandatory in order to be accepted at the SDSU, I would recommend the HanseMerkur Premium, since it basically covers everything and is below the subsidy amount of the foreign student loan.
Arrived in San Diego the question arose where to move. We were a large group, seven of us. Four of us only stayed one night in the hostel and moved into the Suites on Paseo in the college area on campus the very next day. They got a great deal and paid US$600 per person, with rent being $450 and $150 for 20 meals in the on-site canteen. The building is like a hotel and two people always share a small room with a toilet and bathroom, but no kitchen. That means you are forced to eat in the canteen or outside.
We didn’t want to move there because there is no living room, the room is very small and there is no possibility to cook; but everyone has to know that for themselves. That’s why the three of us first lived in a motel for about 10 days in El Cajon near San Diego and actively started looking for an apartment. We were unsure whether to move to the college area or closer to the beach (Pacific Beach/Mission Beach). In the end, we decided on the college area because it’s easier to meet new people there, the university is nearby and the university’s sports facilities can be used. PB and MB are of course more beneficial if you want to spend every day at the beach and related activities like surfing or just lazing around. In addition, there are great restaurants
After a long search, we moved into 5025, an apartment complex near the university, with which the university can be reached within 7-8 minutes with the in-house shuttle or on foot in about 15 minutes. I lived with a fellow student from Bremen in a shared room, which costs $670/month furnished per person. Since we only stayed there for one semester, we had to pay a surcharge of $50 or $75/month. The furnished room also cost extra, so we paid $100/month more than if we lived there unfurnished for at least 1 year. In addition, we had to pay two monthly deposits, i.e. $1340, and for less than half of August (18th-31st) we had to pay a full month’s rent. This was steep and annoying, however, it is common practice in the US to that half the month is charged as a whole, which was the case at the Suites on Paseo. Our apartment in 5025 had three other rooms, each occupied by one person. A German girl was doing an internship at the SDSU at the time. An American went to another college in San Diego and a Saudi Arabian went to language school at SDSU. Everyone was really friendly and open-hearted and so we often did something together, whether it was regular shopping, going out to eat, but also parties and road trips. Because of the two non-German-speaking roommates, we were forced to speak English, which was important to me personally to improve my English. Our apartment had a total of four bedrooms, a large living room with a kitchen and a balcony. In the living room/kitchen there was a large fridge, four gas hobs, a dishwasher, a washing machine, a microwave and a dryer. The quality of the apartment and the equipment is not a German standard, but more than adequate for the time. A plasma TV is of course also in the living room as well as a large comfortable couch and an armchair.
Overall, I liked the apartment, but be careful not to overdo the parties, we were once fined a total of $500 for being too loud. The penalties or “fines” in the USA are astronomical and often just ridiculous.
I would like to warn all apartment seekers about “Nevan”. These are two (former) students from Germany who arrange apartments at Suites on Paseo and at 5025 for German students. With the 5025, for example, they charge a placement fee of €200 and a rent that is $30 higher, namely $700/month. You are definitely better off addressing the apartment staff directly. My recommendation is to arrive in San Diego about two weeks before the semester starts and look for an apartment. If you do this already in Germany, you run the risk of not getting what you had in mind, and often you pay a higher price.
A car in San Diego is indispensable, it is best to rent or buy a car for three or four of you so that you always remain mobile. There is an S-Bahn and buses, but they always have a significantly longer travel time and do not always run. We rented our car from Sunset Car Rental near the Mexico border for just under $500/month, including insurance and 2 extra drivers. The car rental company is extremely nice and helpful.
San Diego State University is a very nice university with a great campus. The lessons are very academic and attendance is compulsory. The courses each have around 30 students, and the quality of the teaching in two out of three of my courses was exceptionally good. I learned more there in one semester than at my home university in two years. On the one hand, this was due to the quality of the professors (one came from Harvard Business School), the required interaction and the practical and up-to-date examples of why, for example, companies are successful or failed. All companies such as Coca-Cola, Nike, Samsung, Ikea, Gap and many others are described and examined very well. On the other hand, the workload is very high. In each of the master’s courses I attended, we had to write a midterm exam, where you had to work on case studies/assignments and answer questions about them, or sometimes additional multiple choice tests. In addition, there was group work in each subject during the semester and associated presentations. Of course, final exams were also included. In addition, some subjects require that you read a case study every week and actively participate in the discussion in class. This should be taken seriously, as oral participation accounts for up to 30% of the final grade. In addition, there was group work in each subject during the semester and associated presentations. Of course, final exams were also included. In addition, some subjects require that you read a case study every week and actively participate in the discussion in class. This should be taken seriously, as oral participation accounts for up to 30% of the final grade. In addition, there was group work in each subject during the semester and associated presentations. Of course, final exams were also included. In addition, some subjects require that you read a case study every week and actively participate in the discussion in class. This should be taken seriously, as oral participation accounts for up to 30% of the final grade.
In contrast to German canteens, the campus offers food courts with all fast food restaurants, where we usually didn’t eat. A tennis court, swimming pool and a huge gym are also available free of charge.
Unfortunately, most of the courses are only for international students, so it’s difficult to get in touch with Americans at the university and you don’t really get the feeling that you’re studying at a real American university. Two of my three courses were so-called “Special Sessions”, mainly Germans and about seven Danes took part.
Downtown San Diego is very beautiful and offers many clubs, bars and restaurants to go out. The beaches in San Diego invite you to swim and surf and the proximity to beautiful beaches and cities make it an unforgettable place for a semester abroad. A must is exploring California, meaning LA, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, as well as Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and much, much more. Of course only if the university allows it, but you will definitely find the time. I made a three-day stopover in New York on arrival, and I’ve also been to Hawaii, Atlanta, and Florida.
All in all, it was the best time of my life. I learned a lot professionally from outstanding professors, but also personally, socially and interculturally from the multifaceted and international people. I have also discovered unique lifestyles and beautiful landscapes. I don’t want to miss the time anymore and to be honest, I want to go back to California. All the organizational difficulties and the money were more than worth it. In my opinion, I recommend anyone who has the opportunity to fly to San Diego and do a semester abroad there.