University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The first step
Actually, I didn’t want to do a semester abroad at all. But conversations with my friends at the university in Germany and the sudden wanderlust convinced me to take the step abroad and I have not regretted it.
Right from the start it was clear to me that the semester abroad had to take place in California, USA. Preferably at SDSU – San Diego State University. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Florida International University.
- The very nice weather.
- The university with the beautiful campus.
- The location and quite simply the city. Not as big as LA for example.
Right at the beginning I was able to find out that many students would like to spend a semester abroad at SDSU. As a result, I immediately had concerns. But MicroEdu took my fears away and explained how everything should work right from the start.
After I had a very lively exchange of e-mails with MicroEdu about the university to be chosen and the language certificates, I was told the application start date and I threw myself into the numerous forms.
The application process is quite simple. You have to fill out an application form and submit financial proof and proof of language proficiency (C1). Once you have taken this step, nothing should stand in your way.
I had to wait a few weeks for the confirmation and slowly began to have doubts until suddenly a large envelope with the confirmation was in the mailbox. After receiving the confirmation, I quickly took care of the VISA (there are costs and possible trips to the cities with the available US consulates) and international health insurance. After a few weeks, you’ll get a few more emails from MicroEdu and SDSU explaining next steps. It all sounds quite complex and complicated, but it is not. MicroEdu is always at your disposal and will always inform you when something new is coming up or there are changes.
After I had done all these things, I continued with the apartment search.
Luckily I found an apartment pretty quickly. I found my roommates on facebook.de in one of the groups for SDSU semester abroad students. I recommend that you deal intensively with your future roommates and get to know them, otherwise life in the flat share will suffer. Unfortunately, I wasn’t that lucky, but we got along. You should definitely look for and find an apartment before the start of the semester.
I met students who were still looking for a place to stay weeks after the semester had started. Her free time and her studies had to suffer as a result. Most students would like to live close to campus or on the beach. The demand is correspondingly high. Likewise the costs. A room in an apartment costs about 800-1100 dollars per month. So be prepared for high rental costs. I lived between the beach and university and fortunately I “only” had to pay $620 for a single room in an apartment.
Flats and apartments can be found on craiglist or in the various groups on facebook.
To the means of transport
America is known as the car city. I have to admit that it is difficult to do without a car. But I managed to do it without a car for the most part. I got myself a semester pass for public transportation in San Diego bought at university. Due to the good train connection to the university and the shopping centers, I was able to get to the most important places quickly and easily. I got there quickly to downtown. It’s getting harder to get to the beach. There is a change between train and bus. Of course, when I had visitors, I always rented a vehicle and we always took full advantage of it, often going to the beach or going on road trips. Every rental car (except for Hawaii) always got at least 4000 miles. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide how necessary you need a rental car. If you live on the beach, then a rental car is essential to get to the university (university parking costs money, not in the tuition fees contain). Except for the visits to Hawaii and the last few days in San Diego, I always managed without a rental car and thus saved a lot of money. Many recommend renting a car from Dirt Car Rental. I have never rented a vehicle from the company as they are subject to certain regulations. For example: limited miles, San Diego metropolitan area only, etc. There are many car rental companies at the San Diego airport and they cater for all classes of vehicles.
University and San Diego
SDSU has a very beautiful and large campus. There are many green spaces and palm trees beautify the campus immensely. Of course there are also tennis courts, a football field and a soccer field, as well as a swimming pool and a fitness center. All this is free of charge for you as a student! Be sure to check out some SDSU basketball team games as well. You don’t want to miss the mood. You get the tickets for free with your student ID. But these sell out quickly.
Your start at the SDSU begins with a so-called orientation week. Everything will be explained to you exactly how and what you have to do. For example, you have to choose other courses in addition to the two special courses that you already have in your luggage. There is no longer a crash in prices. You now have to select a course on the SDSU website and register there. Either you get the spot right away, or you get put on the waiting list because regular SDSU students have priority. I find the new system very convenient as there is a description for each course and when it takes place. The choice of courses is explained in great detail during the orientation week and is well illustrated by a presentation.
If you still have time and desire, you can still enroll in various sports courses. You can take a tennis course there or learn to surf on the beach. There is something for every sports enthusiast! (Note additional costs!)
In my opinion, studying is easier than in Germany. The grades are made up of homework, group work and assignments as well as intermediate exams. So there is no pure exam at the end that asks about the entire subject matter. You can get very good grades if you stay on the ball. Attendance is compulsory.
If you want to experience college life, you should definitely live on campus and spend a lot of time there. You are surrounded by students. Inexpensive bars and pubs are in the immediate vicinity. Instead of a canteen, there is a food court with several fast-food restaurants. Other fast food outlets can be found near campus. Anyone who would like to experience their semester abroad with a breeze of “chill factor” should live on the beach. It seems to be a different time there. Everyone seems carefree. People play sports or sunbathe on the beach. Surfing is everywhere. There are many cafes and bars along the promenade.
Downtown also has a lot to offer but is more for the larger budget. The drinks here are noticeably more expensive than, for example, in Pacific Beach. I’ve spent less time downtown, but it’s worth spending a few evenings and days. You can see and experience a lot.
Other places in the area:
- La Jolla: Highly recommended!!!
- Coronado Island: A very nice view of the skyline!
- Potato Chip Rock
- Cedar Creek Trail: A trail that’s downhill! leads to a waterfall
- Sunset Cliffs and Balboa Park
- Cowles Mountain: View of the entire city
- Point Loma: Also a very good view of the entire city (national park area. Admission: 10 dollars per car)
In any case, travel should not be neglected. Los Angeles is about 2-3 hours drive away, Las Vegas about 5 hours. I’ve been to Los Angeles several times and have visited everything relevant. I got there with the car without any problems. Las Vegas is a city in the desert. After hours of driving you suddenly see the lights and neon signs of Las Vegas. When you see something like this for the first time, it’s really very impressive. Las Vegas is also a very good starting point to visit the Grand Canyon and other canyons.
I also recommend a road trip to San Francisco and Yosemite National Park. The best way is to drive along the famous Highway 1. The views are beautiful. I did a combination of Highway 1 and 101 with my American friends and we climbed the route in one day. A day seems very short, but we took everything important with us. San Francisco is also a very interesting city for which you should plan 3-4 days. Yosemite National Park is about 4 hours from San Francisco and is also well worth seeing.
What you definitely shouldn’t miss: Hawaii. It is the opportunity to fly there cheaply. I started the journey alone and very quickly met nice people from all over the world in a hostel on Waikiki Beach. You don’t necessarily need a car on O’ahu, as public transport is well developed. Still, it takes 3 hours from Honolulu to the north side. I was glad that I had a rental car there as well and that I could get everywhere very quickly. For me, Hawaii was the highlight of the semester abroad and I often think of the good times in Hawaii. If you have to choose between New York or Hawaii, definitely choose Hawaii. You can get to New York from Germany quite cheaply these days.
The semester abroad was definitely one of the best decisions of my life. In the beginning I really had some doubts and thought about how to live alone without friends and family far away in a foreign country. After a short period of getting used to it, you quickly settle in and get to know super California life. In San Diego people are open and friendly. They always smile at you or ask at the checkout or at the red light how the day is going. People greet each other on the street even though they don’t know each other. I really liked this California lifestyle and I miss it in Germany.
The SDSU was a hit and I really liked it. My English skills have also improved a lot and I no longer have problems speaking in English. The lectures and seminars in English were not a problem.
After a while you get used to the language.
The opportunity to organize one’s life away from home and to manage one’s budget correctly was a priceless experience.
The time remains unforgettable and was a very good experience. I can only recommend everyone to do a semester abroad. In any case, you should put a little more money aside than planned, since the USA is quite expensive. I don’t regret being there for a minute. As difficult as saying goodbye to friends and family in Germany was, the time in the USA was beautiful and unforgettable. At the end of the semester I was a bit depressed that I had to start my journey home. I would like to be able to stay there. Take the chance and complete a semester abroad. You will not regret it! It will be an unforgettable time that you will also remember in the future.