San Diego State University Review (51)

San Diego State University Review (51)

North America

University: San Diego State University

City: San Diego

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: business administration

Study type: semester abroad

In the six months that I was there, I experienced an incredible amount. It’s really true that you come back different than you left. I don’t want to miss the experiences anymore, but where do I start? I’ll just start writing. In my opinion, personal impressions are more important in a report of this kind than all the facts that you can read about everywhere.

MicroEdu was extremely helpful in the preparation. There you can get all the necessary documents and an answer to practically all questions. The process is described in detail there, so I don’t have to mention everything again here. It is important that you take care of everything at least 3-4 months in advance. The application can be sent directly to MicroEdu, where it will be checked for correctness and completeness and then forwarded. Time should be planned especially for the visa. Visit to get information about Vancouver Island University study abroad program.

You have to fill out a few forms and in any case go to one of the US consulates, in my case Munich was the closest. The Auslandsbafög also takes time and the cost of the flight (about 800-1200 €) and the tuition fees (5980 US$) have to be paid first in any case. So you have to borrow money because you can’t have that much money without your student loans being reduced. Incidentally, the confirmation from the study secretariat that you have taken at least two courses in English during your studies is sufficient for proof of language proficiency.

English courses do not count, but still an easy and quick way to save yourself the TOEFL or similar tests that would also be possible.
General help:

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Aline is a sweetheart and is always happy to help with anything. A thousand thanks again at this point.
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Thanks to your help, everything is really possible and it’s absolutely worth it!

At the home university, the crediting of the courses is the main topic. The whole thing dragged on for me quite a bit until I had the signatures for the various courses. That brings us to the most stressful point, class crashing. You have to have some credit alternatives ready because you can’t be sure of getting a course. The first two weeks are stressful because as a foreign student you have to crash the course. That means running into all the courses that you could get credit for, saying that you want to take part and going until the professor tells you that you can get his signature so that you can then enroll with the respective department.

The courses themselves are rather low level. Typically American mass instead of class, so many terms, but if you really want to learn something about it, you have to read the book. I noticed that especially during the Spanish course, which I really recommend to everyone. A lot is said, but for the most part you have to teach yourself, even if Prof. Roberto Plancarte was very open to all questions. Prof. Blue Robbins (MGT357 and MGT405) is an entertainer who never gets bored, but he treats many topics very superficially and for the multiple choice exams it is actually enough if you know the terms and can assign them. Prof. David Ely (FIN321) can without any ifs and buts be described as a very good professor.

The course was much more demanding and also involved math, but it has adapted to the level and explains everything in detail. By the way, a dictionary is allowed in the exams if you ask beforehand. I think it’s good that you usually have 2 mitterms, a project and the final as well as a project. Some also include attendance and participation. So you’re busy for the whole semester, but at the end of the day you don’t have these tough exam phases like we do. Once you’re in the courses, then it’s going well and you also have some free time.

It is also necessary, because San Diego is a great city that offers everything. Sea World and the Zoo are world-renowned, but there are other things to discover in San Diego County. In San Diego itself that would be, for example, Coronado including the bridge and the Hotel Del Coronado, Downdown, Balboa Park with its numerous museums (every Tuesday you can enter for free as a resident, for which the SDSU ID is sufficient), the Cabrillo National Monument, Mission Bay, Oldtown as the origin of California, Lake Murray, Mount Soledad, La Jolla with its sea lions or the USS Midway. For shopping, I recommend the Las Americas Outlet right on the border with Mexico. Yes, Tijuana is a stone’s throw away, but it shouldn’t be explored alone.

Downdown is also the Horton Plaza, which is a typical SoCal mall and is therefore open-air. In the vicinity, Temecula is also particularly interesting for wine lovers. If you want to see something of the Wild West, you can drive along the winding country roads to Julian and enjoy a sensational apple pie there.

The climate is mostly dry and sunny. The sun really does shine almost every day and feels warm even in December. You only notice that it’s winter because it gets “cold” as soon as the sun is gone. Then you just have to pull a sweater over it. The city is greener, the air is better, and the traffic is more tolerable than in LA. A few words about the rest of California. Orange County worth the trip. I can only recommend renting a Mustang convertible and then driving along Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway). Much nicer than on the sometimes seven-lane Interstates.

It goes a little faster there, especially if you are allowed to use the carpool lane, but the whole thing is quite boring. Highway 1 leads, among other things, from Dana Point via Laguna Beach and New Port Beach (greeting from OC California) to Long Beach. Disney Land is also in Anaheim, and if you like roller coasters, I recommend Six Flags Magic Mountain. LA itself is pure traffic chaos, but of course worth a trip because of Hollywood. In Santa Monica check out the pier and then take Highway 1 through Malibu (say hello to Charlie Sheen) to Oxnard. There, Highway 1 becomes one with Highway 101 and leads to Santa Barbara.

Another beautiful town with a beach, palm trees and surfers. Further north, however, the climate changes and becomes colder and wetter. Fog is not uncommon in San Francisco. But you should definitely visit this city just because of the Golden Gate Bridge and the cable cars. The guided tour of Alcatraz is also recommended. To the east is Yosemite National Park, which boasts breathtaking natural scenery.

What is still missing is of course Las Vegas. Hot, dry, colorful and loud, a veritable sensory overload. Beautiful beaches abound throughout California, and yes, you can even take a surfing course at SDSU to take advantage of that. However, one should keep in mind that it is noticeably cooler and windier on the beach than further inland, such as on campus. This should also be taken into account when looking for an apartment.

Although bus services are generally good, Pacific Beach is difficult to reach by bus. If bars are more important to you than uni and you want to rent or buy a car, you can move there but struggle with parking at the uni every day (semester fee around US$150). Otherwise I would move closer to the campus. Applying for rooms on campus is easy via MicroEdu. There’s the forms. I decided against it because, firstly, I’m not studying in the USA to share my apartment with four Germans and two Japanese, and secondly, I need peace and quiet to study. Besides, the prices are quite steep.

Overall, I don’t think it’s much more expensive to live here. All this fuss about living expenses sucks to me. In Germany, too, you have to eat and wash your clothes. The influence of whether you cook, what you eat, where and how often you eat is much greater than the difference between Germany and California. Also, you can easily pay 1000€ for the flight, do you really care if the piece of butter costs 2 or 4$? I chose the host family because they know their way around and to get to know the culture better.

Strangely, I ended up with a Mexican woman and learned more Spanish than English. Very interesting. By the way, I would definitely recommend you to learn or continue Spanish here. A third speaks Spanish here. I found my current place of residence through contacts in the gym. It is also quite possible to just look for a place to stay for a short time and then look around for something permanent on site. You can find deals for just about anything on But I think going to a host family is the best.

It’s easy to switch if you’re not satisfied. A good reason to move close to the university, in addition to saving time –> short distances to avoid Muda;-), is simply the beautiful campus. Lots of greenery, lots of benches, a food court including Starbucks and, to put it neutrally, an unbelievable number of good-looking people. Most are in top form because there are so many sporting opportunities. This may well be due to the fact that life in this weather happens mostly outside in shorts. However, this also goes hand in hand with a certain superficiality.

Although California is certainly the pearl of the USA, there are enough here who don’t know that somewhere else they actually use something like degrees Celsius to indicate the temperature. But back to sports. As an ALI (American Language Institute) student you get a free membership to the gym (ARC – Aztecs Recreation Center). That thing is awesome! Just huge, a basketball and foot / volleyball halls and climbing wall included. There is even a sauna in the changing room. However, you will be surprised how Americans use them (just leave your sweaty clothes on and go to the sauna to listen to music with your iPhone at around 90 degrees or better 180 Fahrenheit).

In addition to the gym, you can also use the university’s own swimming pool, which you can also enjoy in December! Lots of lanes and a pool oasis including a hot tub. You can tell that the university has money. Besides the tuition ($5980 for you), that’s probably from the parking tickets. Parking at the university is just a disaster! You shouldn’t adapt too much to the Americans and do everything by car. I hadn’t bought a car because of the risk involved (no MOT, no guarantee).

I had rented a Mustang convertible for a while (yes, I drove with the top down on 5 out of 7 days at the beginning of December) and got a ticket for illegal parking, even though I had a valid parking ticket. They just want to rip you off. I recommend avoiding the stress and buying an MTS (Metropolitan Transfer System) semester ticket for about $150. The bus service at SDSU is really good. There is an extra SDSU Transit Center, where the trolley stops. There are only three lines, but still.

By the way, that also takes you to Qualcomm Stadium, where you can watch a football game for free, because as a student you get free tickets for Aztecs games, incl. football and basketball. Incidentally, Qualcomm Stadium is where the San Diego Chargers (NHL) play, so even if it’s just college football, there are often 65,000 people there in the summer. Football is the number one sport in the USA and is simply a part of the culture that you should experience just for the atmosphere.

Basketball is in the Viejas Arena, which also hosts concerts if they are not in the Open Air Theater. When I arrived, Adele was singing there. Unfortunately I could only hear the rehearsals, but that was great. I went to the Foo Fighters in the Viejas Arena. Was a little disappointed with the band, but for $20 as a spontaneous decision coming out of the gym (it’s right next to it), you can accept that. By the way, there is a Rise Against concert in April.

It was just great and I would love to do it again. Take care of the foreign student loan, a Promos scholarship, and the application in good time and then it will work out. You just have to talk to people. Most people are very open and helpful. So, now the short overview has become a bit longer. As you can see, it’s hard not to think it’s great there.

San Diego State University Review (51)