University: San Diego State University
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: industrial engineering
Study type: semester abroad
Planning, organization, application
San Diego State University has a variety of courses. You have the option of choosing so-called special sessions; however, these are usually exclusively business courses. However, this also means that you do not need to “crash” these courses and that you have a small selection of business administration courses.
The other option is to choose from the “Generals”. In principle, you have the entire course catalog of the university to choose from. Since most of the courses in the course catalog fit my domestic studies, I decided to “crash” the generals. Then I contacted the head of examinations at my home university and had a Learning Agreement issued to me. It is advisable to secure more courses in advance via the Learning Agreement than you can actually take, as it is not certain whether you will actually be able to take all the courses you want. For example, I had clarified 8 courses in my Learning Agreement with my professor in advance. Visit toppharmacyschools.org to get information about Swinburne University of Technology study abroad program.
After my home university cleared the way for courses to be credited, I took the DAAD language test. This test is actually offered by every German university and is also free of charge, in contrast to the TOEFL. After successfully completing my language test, I sent my application to MicroEdu. I got very good help here with all my questions.
After the confirmation from the university was available, I received a schedule. This simplifies things considerably and you can use the plan like a checklist. Then you apply for a passport, visa, possibly a credit card, travel insurance, book a flight, book a hostel or hotel, and off you go.
- I had travel insurance with Hanse Merkur (approx. €350), which is also cheaper. I think ADAC has a very good price-performance ratio.
- DKB Student Card – you can use this to withdraw cash worldwide free of charge, even if the ATM charges you a fee, simply always have a receipt issued at the ATM. I collected these receipts, photographed them and after a few weeks sent them to the DKB info e-mail with a request for reimbursement. Then you get the fees credited back after a few days.
- Book the flight as early as possible (I booked about four months in advance and paid €790 for a Lufthansa flight)
Having decided to look for an apartment locally, which I would recommend to anyone who wants to live on the beach, I booked a hostel in advance. I booked Ocean Beach International Hostel for 8 days.
When I got there, I shared a room with five other people and the next day I looked for apartments on Craigslist and Facebook and got an American SIM card. In America you don’t have to sign a mobile phone contract like in Germany, but you pay monthly like on a prepaid card and when you fly back, you simply don’t pay anymore and don’t have to cancel separately.
After two days of sightseeing, I found an apartment right in Mission Beach, about 100m from the beach. Cost $750 per month for a shared room. Since I had booked 8 days/nights in the hostel but checked out much earlier, the hostel was good enough to pay me the difference.
I have found that the easiest way to search for apartments is via Facebook. Everyone posts there about housing etc.
Here are two links that can be very helpful:
- https: //www.facebook.com/groups/Studenthousingsd.pb.mb/
- https: //www.facebook.com/groups/265151213658140/
If you would like to buy a car locally, the following link may be helpful:
- https: //www.facebook.com/groups/336543453147925/
My roommates and I decided to rent a car. Here we went to Dirt Cheap Cars and paid about $500 a month, insurance and service included. At the end of the semester we realized that the idea of renting a car was the better one, because we heard from a lot of students how many problems they had with their cars and then sold them at a big loss. You can also be lucky and make a real bargain. But this is rather rare. I only know of one person who got a really good deal buying a car.
Crashing courses, university life, free time and travel
SDSU has an introductory week for all internationals. That was very helpful and basically all questions were answered.
Since I crashed all my courses (Spanish, Statics, Statistics), I had to ask the professor at every lecture and at the end if he would sign me and accept me in the course. This turned out to be very tiring as it took me almost two weeks to get the courses I wanted.
Since the book costs are really extortionate in America, I had costs of over $300, which is still quite cheap. In business courses, it is not uncommon for ONE book to cost over $300.
If you try to be clever and try to borrow one from Amazon for just under $35 for the whole semester, you will be taught a lesson, since the professors like to use the so-called online platforms of the book publishers. You can only register there if you have the access code for the book. In a way, this access code is just as expensive as the new book… That’s why it’s best to ask the professor in advance how to design the course with quizzes, homeworks and assignments.
In contrast to Germany, the courses are quite simple, since you always have to do homework and quizzes, but this is always included in the grade. I sat down for an hour every day and always did a little bit. If I didn’t do anything for a while, I sometimes had to sacrifice a whole day. It wasn’t that dramatic either, as it really wasn’t that difficult.
The learning effort is a bit more during the semester, but the exam phase is very relaxed.
The recreational opportunities are amazing. The university has a huge fitness studio, a pool area, bowling alley and, and, and… Nothing is missing.
I went surfing with my roommate almost every day and we also used a credit from the university for a surfing course. Otherwise you can also visit Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco or the super beautiful National Parks at the weekend. San Diego itself has a lot to offer, but you’ll find out for yourself.
If you would like to go to Tijuana, you can drive to the Mexican border in 30 minutes. It has to be said that you have to be careful about this. The university recommends that you do not go there. However, during the day it shouldn’t be a problem, at night it’s certainly more dangerous. But everyone has to decide for themselves. In my experience it wasn’t a problem and I haven’t heard or seen anything negative either.
In the middle of the semester I booked a trip to Hawaii (Oahu), because the flights from the west coast are of course considerably cheaper than from Europe. Here I can say that it is really worth it and worth every dollar : )
I have consistently had very good experiences. San Diego is simply America’s finest city. The people are super nice and everyone actually lives the typical California lifestyle. The only thing negative is the cost of living. These are very high by German standards.
With a slightly better exchange rate, however, this will probably look different. All in all, I can recommend everyone to go to San Diego and gain their own experience there.
I would do it again anytime and have not regretted it for a second. It’s just an amazing time.