San Diego State University Review (73)

San Diego State University Review (73)

North America

University: San Diego State University

Country: United States

Continent: North America

Field of study: psychology

Study type: semester abroad

In the fall of 2015, I studied one semester at SDSU. In addition to the comparatively low tuition fees and the wide range of courses, my main reasons for choosing this university were, of course, the location in the Sunshine State of California. MicroEdu advised and supported me so well in advance that the application phase went smoothly and I knew exactly what I had to do by when and how. At this point a big praise and thank you to the friendly CoCo team!

Course choice

The class crashing on site was difficult at first because there are only fixed master ‘s programs in psychology (e.g. Marriage & Family Therapy ), and we are not allowed to take courses in them. In the course catalogue, you can recognize this by the fact that all courses have ****** instead of a schedule number. Eventually I became a bachelor student and took the following courses:

Early Childhood Mental Health (CFD 595) was interesting but also very time consuming. In addition to two (out of three) Take Home Exams, we had to write 3 Diagnostic Assignments and 2 Intervention Assignments and read a lot every week. At least the assignments helped me a lot, because I was able to use the tools I had learned in practice. Visit to get information about Saint Marys University study abroad program.

JMS 460 is a Principles of Advertising course and internationals were officially welcome. The professor herself lived in Germany for a while and knows how difficult class crashing can be. So she did a lot of publicity for her course and promised to take everyone who was interested. The course was nice and entertaining and if you write down all 4 midterms, the final about the entire material is omitted. The basis was a book that costs a whopping $280. Luckily we were able to borrow it from Amazon. Unfortunately, not all books are offered there and free lending or scanning, as I know it from Germany, is generally not possible.

Spanish (SPAN 101) was a lot of fun because we had a young Mexican teacher who told us a lot about her life and was also very interested in our weekends. We had 50 minutes four times a week and that was very helpful for the language skills. The Spanish book was $110 and we had to buy it again to get access to My Spanish Lab. This is an online platform on which we had to do short homework every week.

Since Spanish had 4 units, I chose two small courses (1 unit each):

Salsa (ENS 138) was a physical education course that I had to pay an extra $90 for (requires ARC (Aztec Recreation Center) membership, but it’s free for ALI students). The trainer was quite funny and so the course was a lot of fun : ) It was also a good idea that you didn’t need a dance partner, but rotated every few minutes. At first there were more women than men, but after a few weeks the tide had turned.

PSY 201 addressed Academic and Career Opportunities in Psychology. It was supposed to give orientation to first-year students, but I found it interesting to get to know the structure of American studies – it’s very different! Guest lecturers reported on their CVs and provided practical insights.


I had previously rented a single ensuite room (furnished at $865, individual lease) at the Sterling Alvarado. The staff was very helpful in handling all the paperwork. Based on a profile with all sorts of “critical” questions (cleanliness, volume, bed times,…), a matching system selected my roommates and it worked really well. The apartment complex is very modern, close to the campus and highly recommended!

I stayed at Lucky D’s Hostel for the first 10 days (also great, also because you get to know a lot of people!) and noticed that finding an apartment there was difficult. Many had to give up the dream of a house on the beach because they didn’t want to spend $950 pp for a triple room or for one with no windows or no door…


I didn’t have a car and got by just fine using public transport! The university offers a semester pass for $150, which was absolutely worth it for me. With the trolley I was at the university in 90 seconds and downtown in 30 minutes and at the beach in about an hour (sounds a lot, but in San Diego life is not as hectic as in Germany). Uber and Lyft are great options for cheap cab rides in the evenings, and we sometimes rented a car on weekends to visit other cities or national parks. With the Greyhound Bus or Hostel Hopper I also got from Los Angeles to San Diego and back without any problems! Spirit Airline, for example, has flights to Las Vegas for $34 and Southwest can sometimes find bargains if you want to fly to San Francisco, for example.

By the way, I flew from Dusseldorf to Los Angeles because it was $300 cheaper than direct to San Diego.


You really never get bored in San Diego! In addition to districts such as Old Town, Gaslamp Quarter, Seaport Village and Coronado Island, the diverse beaches are of course always worth a visit! Hikes (e.g. Potato Chip Rock, Adobe Falls, Torrey Pines) in and around San Diego also promise great pictures, simply because sun and a bright blue sky are guaranteed! It rained 3 days in 5 months and even clouds are a rarity.

I can only recommend that you join student clubs to get to know the “real” American student life. In the Salsa Club and GAA (Global Aztec Alliance) I met most of the people with whom I spent my weekends and planned trips shortly afterwards.

San Diego is 30 minutes from Tijuana (Mexico), 2 hours from Los Angeles, 4 hours from Santa Barbara, 5 hours from Las Vegas and 8 hours from San Francisco. Beautiful national parks (e.g. Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Valley of Fire, Zion) can easily be visited in a (long) weekend.

Important NOTE

We only got the tuition fees reimbursed by the Bafög office at the beginning of November ! For starters, you should bring enough money with you to be able to pay for the many purchases (books, course fees, apartment inventory, semester pass/car, groceries).


The semester at SDSU was by far the most expensive, but also the most exciting and fun of my life! Even if the many demands of the university initially seemed unattainable, they were distributed so evenly that free time and travel were not neglected : ) SUN Diego is a beautiful and diverse city and a good starting point for unforgettable road trips!

San Diego State University Review (73)