University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: engineering
Study type: semester abroad
I planned my stay abroad in the United States of America a year in advance. It was very important for me to complete my studies within the standard period of study despite the stay abroad.
That’s why I first found all the courses at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) that are scheduled for my fifth semester in the bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. Visit toppharmacyschools.org to get information about Thompson Rivers University study abroad program.
Only then did I start looking for a suitable host university.
To do this, I consulted reviews and articles on MicroEdu about universities in North America. After narrowing down the selection to about five universities, I began to compare the courses offered on their websites with my pre-determined courses.
I chose San Diego State University (SDSU) in San Diego, California because it was the place where I found the closest match to my desired courses.
Another extremely important process was the conclusion of learning agreements. To do this, I had to present the course description, the so-called syllabus, of the equivalent course at San Diego State University to the responsible chairs at FAU.
It can take more than a month for the respective chair to confirm whether approval will be granted, since the lecturer has to examine the course description carefully for teaching content and examination modalities. Sufficient time should therefore be planned and, if necessary, alternative courses should be sought, since not every test has a positive result.
In early January 2015, I began my application to San Diego State University. This required a DAAD language certificate, a valid passport and a Transcript of Records (overview of grades) from FAU.
After going through the online application process of the SDSU, the confirmation was sent to me by e-mail two weeks later.
In early February, I received the I-20 form in the mail along with some information about the semester at San Diego State University.
After receiving the documents, I made an appointment at the American Consulate in Munich to apply for an F1 student visa.
This required a valid passport, the I-20 form and around $200 in fees.
After completing all the administrative steps, I flew to the US at the end of July.
I decided to find accommodation locally because contact with local students was very important to me.
At this point, however, I would like to point out that the search was extremely complicated. Due to the limited study stay of six months, it was difficult to find a landlord who would agree for this period. In addition, a Social Security Number is required to rent an apartment. However, this is only available to locals.
After a very extensive search through various channels such as AirBnb, Craigslist, bulletin boards and real estate websites, I found accommodation in Mission Beach in San Diego with three other students from Norway. In conclusion, it can be said that the effort was worth it for me, as I was able to gain extremely important experience through the search and made contact with the locals, which had a positive effect on my language skills.
However, I recommend future students to use the dormitories for international students, as it takes a lot of effort to organize everything yourself and there are a number of risks involved.
Studies at San Diego State University took place from mid-August to late December. The system in the United States of America is not comparable to that in Germany. For the most part, attendance in the courses is compulsory. It was also new for me to have weekly assignments and tests. The final grade is created by cumulating the tests, tasks and a final test “Finalexam” spread over the semester.
This system ensures that the material is continuously practiced and repeated, which I found to be consistently positive. However, this also represents a large time factor. Students should therefore be aware that the lectures and weekly assignments are equivalent to a working week, depending on the number and level of difficulty of the courses.
San Diego State University has many supervisors available to contact with questions. I have consistently had positive experiences and many professors always try to make things easier for exchange students.
San Diego State University has excellent facilities. This includes a large library that is open 24 hours. As well as modern computer equipment, a large sports area and a modern canteen with various food options.
My everyday life was always routine from Monday to Friday due to the university. At the weekends I went on trips with local students. I was lucky enough to make friends quickly and was able to spend traditional holidays like Thanksgiving with an American family. During my time in the US I also traveled to San Francisco and Maui in Hawaii, both of which are highly recommended.
The cost of living was comparatively high. Before starting planning, students should therefore be aware of how much money is available to them and make their decision in this regard. Cities like San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose are on average more expensive than other college towns like Palm Desert or San Marcos. The type of university also plays an important role.
State universities are usually twice or three times more expensive than community colleges.
It should also be noted that a car is necessary to be mobile in the USA, as public transport is very rare or poorly developed.
The semester in San Diego was an incredible experience for me. I met new friends, improved my English skills and gained a deep insight into the culture and mentality of another nation.
I would recommend every student to do a stay abroad, as this always has a positive effect on personal and professional development.