University: San Diego State University
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
The first preparations began 1 year before the start of the stay abroad (~ Oct. 2014). We were a group of 5 people in total. Since we all knew each other well from studying at the Fulda University of Applied Sciences, we planned the semester abroad together right from the start. After we decided to study in California in San Diego, the first preparations began immediately, since the registration deadline for SDSU was already in January 2015. Since the SDSU is not a partner university of the Fulda University of Applied Sciences, we had to take care of all the formalities ourselves. For this we commissioned a service company that took over the communication to the university in San Diego – “MicroEdu”. MicroEdu established the first contact with the university abroad and helped us with organizational things related to the registration process. After we had received the registration confirmation from the SDSU and thus also the I-20 form, we took care of our visa. After you have applied for this online, you make an appointment at the American Embassy. We received our appointment a week after submitting the application. However, it can take up to 4 weeks before the visa is finally sent. You should definitely schedule this time. Visit toppharmacyschools.org to get information about Brock University study abroad program.
In addition, documents such as a “finance statement” (proof that you have the necessary money for a semester abroad), proof of language proficiency, English-language certificate, credit card form and a copy of your passport must be submitted. I also recommend applying for an international driver’s license. Whether you really need this in an emergency, I can’t say, because I personally was never checked by the police. You can get an international driver’s license for an affordable €15, so you can be on the safe side.
It will take some time to really have everything together, so you should start taking care of all the documents early enough.
You can also have an international student ID issued – the ISIC. This is not absolutely necessary, but with such a card you can get many benefits, such as car rental.;
When choosing the accommodation, we all quickly agreed that we would move into the BLVD63 for the next 5 months. BLVD63 was by far the best choice among numerous other housing options, such as the Sterling Alverado and Fiftytwentyfive apartment complexes, or even your own house on Pacific Beach. It was particularly convincing with the large living rooms and a beautiful outdoor area.
We rented a flat share for 6 people with 2 single rooms and 2 double rooms. After advertising on the Facebook page of BLVD63, we quickly found a sixth roommate. Unfortunately, with 5 German students, it was difficult to find a 6th international student. So we were in an apartment with 6 Germans, which wasn’t the best for our English.
The rent at BLVD 63 is quite steep, but it’s definitely worth it!!!
As in all other apartment complexes, we had to buy the apartment and especially the kitchen equipment from scratch because the apartment was handed over to us completely empty. The apartments are furnished with furniture (beds, cupboards, sofa,…), but you have to buy all the kitchen utensils, such as pots, plates, cutlery, coffee maker, etc., yourself. You also have to buy bed linen, blankets, pillows and all bathroom accessories such as shower curtains, hair dryers, etc. yourself.
The student accommodation is very modern and friendly. There is a new gym that all residents can use 24 hours a day free of charge. There are also 2 pool areas, BBQ areas, well-equipped common rooms and a computer room with printer. In addition, security people are deployed 24 hours a day to ensure on-site security.
BLVD 63 also offers a shuttle service to the campus, which is available until 10: 00 p.m. Monday through Friday for every resident.
There are often pool parties or flat share parties, so it never gets boring there. The location is perfect. There are supermarkets, pharmacies, various places to eat and a few bars/Irish pubs for a cozy evening just around the corner. The BLVD is super modern with large rooms and an overall vacation vibe. All in all, the BLVD 63 can definitely be recommended. I would choose it again and again.
3) Studied at SDSU
After the introductory days at SDSU, class crashing takes place. I took a total of 4 courses. We were able to choose two of them, the so-called special sessions, in advance using an online form from the SDSU. Since there are many international students at SDSU, the American Language Institute (ALI) organizes these additional special sessions so that international semester students can also take business courses at SDSU. In terms of content, these courses are equivalent to the regular SDSU business courses.
The remaining two courses can then be chosen on site via class crashing from the regular SDSU course offer, or you can opt for further special sessions. I decided to do two more special sessions, because when crashing, unfortunately, it cannot be guaranteed in advance that you will get into the desired course. We were in groups of ~60 students max. Most of them were German students, which was a real shame. In hindsight, I would have liked to have attended one or two regular courses so that I could also have lessons with “real” Americans.
In addition to the lectures, there were often group or individual presentations, which also counted towards the grades. In addition, small control tests or control quizzes were often carried out to check who actually attended the lectures. In principle, attendance is compulsory, which is checked by logging in with the students’ smartphones.
Except for the finance course I took, all the other exams were multiple choice. A total of 3 exams are written in each subject, two of which are so-called mid-terms and one final exam.
The SDSU campus is very large and really beautiful, almost like a picture book! In addition to numerous food options, it also includes an S-Bahn station, basketball stadium, fitness center with swimming pool, cafés and an SDSU shop with all kinds of fan articles from the SDSU football team “Aztecs”. The football stadium, Qualcomm Stadium, where the games of the San Diego Aztecs take place, can be reached in 10 minutes by subway. As a student of the SDSU you get free tickets for the games, which were always worth a visit.
4) Life in San Diego/ everyday life & free time
San Diego is a beautiful city with a very relaxed vibe. Located directly on the west coast, it offers great stretches of beach and a harbor with views of the San Diego skyline. There are many places to visit in the city itself, such as the San Diego Zoo, Sea World, the USS Midway or a bike ride along Pacific Beach.
Downtown in the Gaslampquater, San Diego’s nightlife takes place in numerous bars and discotheques. There are endless opportunities to eat well, drink cocktails and party. We mostly used “party buses” to get to the clubs directly from BLVD63 or from the university. For a fixed price you have the shuttle there and back as well as the entry for the discotheque.
Well-known destinations such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Mexico, Silicon Valley, Santa Barbara etc. are easy to reach from San Diego. If you schedule your courses wisely and make good use of days off like Thanksgiving, you’ll have plenty of time to explore the West Coast. Los Angeles can be reached within 2 hours by car and is perfect for a weekend getaway. A highlight that I can only recommend is the Six Flags amusement park right next to LA
In San Diego itself, everything is easily accessible by subway and bus if you have the time. Anyone who likes it more convenient and faster should consider renting a car. We didn’t have a car and we got along really well. So a car is not essential for survival, but rather a luxury. We then rented a car for special excursions, day trips or road trips. For just under €150 you can get a semester ticket at the university, with which you can use all public transport, bus and train. It was definitely worth it for me, as I often traveled around the city by train and bus. If you need a taxi, you should change to “UBER”. Often much cheaper than taxis and above all more comfortable and easier. UBER is an app where you can order a car with one click/touch, that picks you up at your location and takes you to a desired destination. Payment is made via the app by credit card. Super easy, also for driving home from the disco late at night, for example.
Overall, I had an unforgettable 5 months in San Diego. The weather, the environment and the lifestyle in San Diego are fantastic. Every day feels like vacation. Even if you have to cram for the university from time to time. You live in a completely different world there. I experienced a lot, met a lot of new people, celebrated a lot of parties. The only negative thing left to say is that San Diego and especially the international courses are very crowded with Germans. As a result, the English language sometimes falls by the wayside. The overall package was great and I would choose San Diego again anytime!!