University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: mechanical engineering
Study type: semester abroad
Are you planning a semester abroad at San Diego State University? Very good! Then look forward to an unforgettable time! Any doubt about taking this big step is a complete waste of time! But now step by step…
In my case, San Diego State University was not a partner university of Hochschule Offenburg, so I had to organize everything myself. It was definitely a lot of work and tons of paperwork. It will take a lot of time until everything is clarified, but on the other hand it is also a certain challenge to set everything up yourself. Unfortunately, the International Office in Offenburg has relatively little experience when it comes to stays in the USA as far as the whole process is concerned, so I was very happy about the support from MicroEdu. Thank you very much! Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Griffith University Gold Coast.
MicroEdu will help you with the application and give you a guide with all the important information such as visa, language test, I-20 form, course selection, etc.! If you have any questions, the employees are always friendly by phone or email and provide competent information, even after what feels like 100 calls.
It is important to clarify with your own university what can be credited and it is best to get your signature right away. Then that’s for sure. Furthermore, you should definitely apply for various scholarships and apply for foreign student loans in order to possibly have part of the tuition fees taken away.
I put in my semester abroad after the 6th semester and before my bachelor thesis, when most of the exams had already been taken. In principle, this is up to you. You just have to take care of it in good time and always keep the application deadlines in mind. For me, the preparation started about 10 months beforehand.
To find an apartment in San Diego, you can use Craigslist and various SDSU Facebook groups. Rooms are constantly being advertised there, which become available at the change of semester. On-campus housing was too expensive for me personally, because you can get much better things for this price. There are plenty of apartments in the college area or in the beach area that are privately advertised! You have to decide for yourself where you want to live during the semester. Typical American college life or surfer life on the beach… Both have advantages and disadvantages and it doesn’t really matter as long as you are flexible, but more on that later. I personally lived in the college area. If you prefer the beach, Mission Beach or Pacific Beach is recommended.
The people of San Diego, or California in general, are very friendly and easygoing. What you can’t do today will be done tomorrow or when. Getting in touch with Americans is pretty easy as they are generally more open than Germans or interested just because of the German accent.
I’ve been through all the major cities in the area in that time and would choose San Diego again. The city is very versatile and offers everything you need. The beach has the perfect surfer flair, downtown offers a big city feeling and inland there are mountains with good vantage points.
University & student life
SDSU’s campus is huge, so I had to use a map to get my bearings when I first started. At the beginning of the semester there is a lot going on there and everyone tries to get into the courses. I had to crash all courses and therefore get signatures from every professor. In the end I got into all the courses I wanted, so it wasn’t that bad. A total of 12 units are included in the tuition fees, which corresponds to 4 courses in a bachelor’s degree. My courses were in the areas of Mechanical Engineering, Communication and Psychology. If you do it well, you get about two days of uni a week. However, it must also be mentioned that studying in the USA generally requires more work during the semester. In some subjects there were weekly tests or smaller projects in between. At the end, as in Germany, there is a final, which is then offset against the other services and therefore only accounts for a fraction. It wasn’t a problem for me to understand English and I quickly got used to the subject-specific words.
The range of sports and facilities on campus are gigantic. The good thing is that ALI students can use it free of charge. For example, you can register for the gym, which is open almost 24/7, use the swimming pool, play tennis and much more.
In any case, you must have seen the Aztec sports teams of the SDSU. Basketball in the Viejas Arena on campus and football in the Qualcomm NFL stadium are very popular. These tickets can be picked up for free at the ticket counter on campus. The games have a real college spirit! Everyone wears SDSU clothing, their own band cheers on the team and the cheerleaders animate the stadium. A very cool feeling to be a part of it and to sit between the many students.
The San Diego State is also known for the many student associations, the fraternities and sororities. Personally, I found it very interesting to see that, since there is no such thing in Germany at all. At the beginning of the semester, these connections have many booths on campus to recruit new members. Each fraternity has its own Greek letter logo and wears its own t-shirts and hoodies, like you might see in various movies.
For lunch, there is a food court on campus where you can find a variety of fast food restaurants, Starbucks, etc. or you can go to some smaller convenience stores right next to campus.
San Diego nightlife is actually always such that there is much more to do than you can actually do. In general, the nightlife takes place in the three areas Downtown, Pacific Beach and College Area, which are all three completely different. Downtown there are many clubs and bars along 5th Ave, the prices are more expensive and the clientele is more upscale (at least in terms of clothing). Pacific Beach is best known for Taco Tuesday among college students. You’ll find one beach bar after another on Garnet Ave and you can definitely feel the beach vibe. There is no bar in the college area itself, but there are plenty of house parties in the fraternity houses.
In San Diego, a car is highly recommended – keyword flexibility. The city is so vast and after all you want to see something. In the beginning I tried to get from A to B by train, but it took far too much time. Therefore there was the possibility to rent a car or to buy a car for the time and then to sell it again. It was clear to me that buying a car is definitely the better option since it is cheaper and you don’t have to pay extra fees for tours outside of San Diego. In the end, the problem was fortunately solved for me in that an American friend gave me a car without restrictions and very cheaply for the entire period.
It is also practical to use a combination of an American bank account and the DKB credit card. I opened a free Wells Fargo account for this in the first week. For withdrawing money from the ATM, you can use the DKB credit card without any fees and you can then use the Wells Fargo card for payments. Very helpful, since I paid almost exclusively by card during this time.
My cell phone provider was AT&T. Very good network coverage, even in the middle of the desert. In terms of price, it’s more expensive than in Germany, but that’s what cell phone contracts are there anyway.
If you want to travel, there are definitely enough contact points. Half an hour from the Mexican border, LA is a two hour drive from San Diego and to the north is San Francisco, also a very interesting city. Inland are then Las Vegas, as well as the many beautiful national parks. Travel buddies are always found as 99% of international students have the same plans. I drove all the distances by car and at these fuel prices, shared by several people, it’s affordable too.
For me personally it has been a dream to live in California for a long time. I was able to fully enjoy this during the semester abroad and it was definitely worth it. I’ve been to the US three times before that, but there’s absolutely no comparison between vacation and life there. You get to know a lot more about American life and the peculiarities of Americans. The initially quite similar culture compared to Germany offers some small but interesting differences. Furthermore, you improve your English skills, of course, and learn the typical idioms and everyday language. Last but not least, I think it also brings you a good step forward personally, because you simply have to organize a lot yourself, you have to talk to people,
All in all, this is definitely an opportunity that should be used if possible. The time went by so quickly that it seems to me that even after almost half a year I haven’t seen all of the huge city. During this time you will gain so many new experiences and keep great memories from them, for which reason I only have one thing left to say… JUST DO IT!