San Diego State University Review (67)

San Diego State University Review (67)

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


San Diego State University is a state-funded university with over 33,000 students and is located in an urban setting. It is one of two major universities in the city of San Diego. SDSU’s Business Program is one of the most renowned and best state school programs in the USA. The SDSU campus is about 20 minutes from the sea and convinces with its size and a great range of sporting activities that are free for exchange students. A huge fitness center, several tennis courts and a swimming pool with a diving platform and a 50-meter pool are worth mentioning. Visit to get information about University of Newcastle study abroad program.


Most of the courses offered at the SDSU are “3-unit courses”, which can be credited with 6 ECTS at the HSG. I had a large selection of courses that I could take, although when choosing courses it is important to ask the HSG whether these courses can really be credited. I had no problems in this regard and was able to take all courses and get credit for them. Unlike in Switzerland, compulsory attendance is common in the USA and is also checked. This can either be in the form of a “check-in list” or through graded class attendance.

I attended four courses during my semester abroad (12 units/ 24 ECTS), which is also the specified maximum. However, more than four courses can easily be chosen, but these are then subject to a fee. The additional cost depends on the number of units in the course, with the normal rate per unit being approximately $200. The regular tuition at SDSU is approximately $8,000. This is relatively inexpensive compared to other US universities.

Completed courses:

MGT 746: Seminar: Corporate Governance – Prof. Ryan – 6 ECTS: Independent Elective

In retrospect, this course was not the best choice. The required reading is indeed informative, but the format of the seminar is not successful. During the lesson, the respective chapter was only leafed through and discussed. Rarely did it go into depth. Only the numerous guest lectures were interesting. A good grade shouldn’t be a big problem here. Grade: B

JMS 460 Principles of Advertising – Prof. Mueller – 6 ECTS: REKO

This course is highly recommended. You get an interesting insight into the topic and the advertising industry. The effort involved in this course should not be underestimated. There are four tests to be taken during the semester. You also have to write a small paper. For each test you have to read about five chapters of the required reading. With commitment and diligence, a very good grade is possible here. Grade: A

TFM 363 International Cinema – Prof. Jordan – 6 ECTS: HAKO

In this course we watched and analyzed a film every week. There were a few homeworks to write that were graded more severely, but thanks to the bonus points, an A was very easy to get here. I didn’t like some of the films, but they were still interesting to analyze. Grade: A

TFM 364B History of Film Classics – Prof. Jordan – 6 ECTS: REKO

This course examines the history and different eras of the film industry. Topics include the Hollywood system and the resulting influences on our culture and society. During the semester we had to take three tests and regularly submit homework. This course is highly recommended and a good grade is no problem with a little commitment. Grade: A

Academic experience

As a whole, my academic experience at SDSU was very positive and valuable. During this time, I not only made new cultural and academic experiences, but I was also able to successfully develop personally and socially. You definitely have to be willing to step out of your comfort zone and get used to a new environment.

Academically, SDSU has a very different approach and the learning techniques are also completely different. You have to be prepared to hand in homework every week and take a number of smaller exams. The typical HSG approach, in which exams are studied at the end of the semester, is out of place here. You can only be successful at the SDSU if you deal with the material continuously, since the final grade depends heavily on the homework and several smaller tests.

Organization of the semester abroad

If you should decide to study at SDSU, it is highly recommended to organize this through one of the countless agencies such as MicroEdu. These professional platforms then provide you with ideal support during the application process and help you to fill out and send in the correct documents in good time. It is also important to complete the necessary language tests (TOEFL, CPE) in good time. This can be very time consuming and should not be done at the last second. The time required to obtain a student visa for the USA should also not be underestimated and one should find out early enough what is required.

Arrival and mobility

Getting to San Diego is relatively simple and the most efficient way is to take a direct flight (Zurich-San Diego) with Edelweiss Airline. Of course you can also travel to San Diego via LA, but it should be noted that the journey from LA to San Diego only takes about two hours in terms of distance, but can quickly take more than three hours in normal traffic conditions.

In San Diego itself it is highly recommended to rent a car, since San Diego is the second largest city in California and the different districts are spread over a relatively large area. Luckily, there are fairly cheap car hire deals out there. In my experience, you get the best value for money with Dirt-Cheap Car Rentals, which specialize in exchange students. If you decide to rent a car, you should be careful not to save in the wrong place and really take out the most comprehensive insurance.


One of the most important decisions when planning an exchange in San Diego is the location of the accommodation. For maximum quality of life, I suggest staying near Pacific Beach or Mission Beach, as these are the heart of the San Diego lifestyle and are where most of the bars, pubs, surf shops, and restaurants are located. If you live in Pacific Beach, you can walk to virtually every bar and restaurant and don’t have to constantly use Uber services. Pacific Beach has a very relaxed, typically Californian atmosphere.

Alternatively, you can live in a dormitory on campus, just be aware that you are about 15-20 minutes (by car) from the beach and the best bars.

The big downside to Pacific Beach and Mission Beach is that rental rates are relatively high. It is best to look for other students in advance who also want to do their exchange in San Diego and try to rent a somewhat larger property directly. Another disadvantage is the distance to the university. Depending on the traffic (especially in the rush hour around 4: 30 p.m.), the drive to the university can take between 20-45 minutes. Since you don’t usually have university every day at SDSU, this shouldn’t carry too much weight when choosing a location.


San Diego is ideally located for short (or long) trips to Mexico, Las Vegas or other cities and the national parks of California. Due to its proximity to the Mexican border, you can be in Tijuana in less than 40 minutes and enjoy the local nightlife. In San Diego itself there are countless offers of leisure activities, such as surfing, enjoying the sun on the beach, hiking or playing tennis. Of course, the nightlife is also an important factor and you definitely get your money’s worth in San Diego. Be it with a cozy beer overlooking the sea in Pacific Beach or downtown in one of the countless clubs.


During my stay in San Diego I had the opportunity to make some unforgettable trips to neighboring cities and national parks, such as a long weekend in Los Angeles, climbing in Joshua Tree National Park (very nice to go climbing with friends), “gambeln » in Las Vegas. Of course, you are also in the perfect location to spend the “spring break” in Cancún. However, this legendary party spot is not allowed don’t expect too much and must be prepared for conditions like the Ballermann in Mallorca. My personal advice is to choose the courses in such a way that you definitely don’t have any courses on Fridays or, ideally, on Mondays either. You should be able to do this without any problems, giving you plenty of time to see all these amazing places in the western United States and Mexico.


Clearly, the downside of an exchange in San Diego (or the US in general) is the high cost. You have to be prepared that living in California is very expensive. Although food etc. is cheaper than in Switzerland, one must not forget that one is in exchange and also wants to afford something. You have to keep in mind that these additional expenses are worthwhile in any case. Rental prices in San Diego are comparable to St. Gallen. If you look around early enough, you should be able to find a single room for around $700.


My semester at SDSU was undoubtedly one of the best experiences I have ever had and I highly recommend it. The unbelievably good weather (I’ve had about six rainy days in five months), the effortless atmosphere and the extraordinary easygoingness of the Americans make the city fall in love with you immediately.

San Diego State University Review (67)