University: San Jose State University
City: San Jose
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
My name is Florian, I studied the winter semester 2013 in San Jose (California) at the San Jose State University. I took 3 economics courses and an English grammar course there.
I prepared my stay abroad about a year in advance. This sounds like a long time, but in hindsight it really isn’t. I recommend getting information 1.5 years in advance and you will start organizing 1 year in advance. Especially the story with the application deadlines and the visa just takes time. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Universitat Autonoma De Barcelona UAB.
I chose San Jose because I really wanted to go to California. California just seemed like the ideal country to study for me. It’s warm there, the people eat healthier and do more sport compared to the other states and Silicon Valley in particular was there. And that is of course a big plus for my economics major. I strongly recommend that you inform yourself beforehand about what exactly your requirements and expectations are for your destination country. I met people who studied in Virginia and Michigan, for example, and for whom there simply wasn’t enough to do. Each state in the US is believed to have a lot to offer on its own, but this varies considerably.
I found a few things particularly difficult to organize. Once I had to show at least €15,000 in cash reserves and they have to be found first. The USA wants to make sure that you have enough money to live there for 6 months. And the second thing was how do I organize an apartment for myself. Because the rush is very high in California and, above all, the supply is scarce. But don’t worry, I just flew there, lived with a friend for the first few days and then just went on the lookout on the spot. On 21.8. The semester started and I was already on August 1st. there. I have to say that I’m always very careful in such cases and that you don’t usually have to come 3 weeks in advance. Friends of mine didn’t have until 12.8. started looking and found something. But I would recommend arriving 2 weeks beforehand. And please don’t secure an apartment beforehand, you’d better take a look at it beforehand. I could tell stories there.
Living in California, as everyone will attest, is very expensive. So I paid about €600 a month for a small room, albeit in a very nice modern house where I was of course also allowed to use the kitchen, bathroom and living room. However, if you search enough (I recommend Craigslist and ask the university itself whether they have contacts with private off-campus landlords) you can also get a room for €400. But it could be that you have to share a room with someone else.
Otherwise groceries are a third more expensive and the only thing cheaper is of course McDonalds. I therefore recommend that you cook at home as often as possible.
Be sure to get a cell phone on day one, I recommend GoSmart. Is relatively inexpensive, contains everything you need and is prepaid. So ideal for a stay abroad.
Incidentally, what I didn’t do was educate myself thoroughly about the state of California itself. That never turned out to be a real disadvantage as you learn and pick up all the stuff over time. However, next time I would just buy a travel guide to be a little better prepared.
I also recommend everyone who doesn’t feel very confident with the English language to watch a few English films and one or the other English book in the months before. Don’t worry, the English at the universities is actually very understandable and simple. However, this preparation helped me a lot.
Incidentally, if I had any questions or other concerns, I was always well looked after at the university. They do a really good job there and are always very friendly and very committed.
By the way, before you book your return flight, please make it clear in advance how much you still want to travel around after your study visit or not. Many flew straight home after their study visit. I traveled around for 2 months and did a road trip. I knew that beforehand and had already booked my return flight before I entered the USA. I wouldn’t do that today. Because 1. I only found out on site when the semester ends and it depends on how long you can stay in the USA later. I was able to stay in the US 60 days after the semester officially ended. However, since the university homepage had a different end date for the semester than it turned out later and I had already booked the return flight based on these dates, I would only fly home after 62 days. 2 days over the allowed time. The USA knows no fun and punishes you with a 5 to 10 year entry ban, even for 2 days. So I had to rebook my flight and pay a lot of money. And I would like to spare you that.
It is also very difficult to estimate in advance how much money you really need for traveling around. The risk that you don’t have enough money for 2 months of pure travel around is not harmless, even if it wasn’t as expensive as I thought afterwards.
All in all I think I spent 13,000€ for the 6.5 months in the USA (semester + 2 months travel). Of course that sounds like a lot, and it is, but the Promos scholarship and the foreign student loan helped me a lot. In the end I think I only paid 4000€ myself.
It’s a lot of paperwork, but it’s definitely worth it and nothing is free these days;) And don’t lose heart with the foreign student loan, I didn’t get my money until the middle of the semester, but it worked out in the end. Just ask relatives if they could help you out until then.
Unfortunately, I’m still ambivalent about the academic benefits. The lessons are definitely more practice-oriented and I learned more in the courses than in the German courses here. This is also simply because most of the professors come directly from business and also know what they are talking about. In my internship at the time, I also learned and saw that the theoretical approaches simply didn’t help you, and the input from the American courses was definitely very refreshing and enriching. I have to say that I got the courses I wanted. I had Sales Management, Marketing in New Ventures and Business to Business Marketing. My classmates were often less enthusiastic about their courses.
What I wasn’t satisfied with was the professionalism and maturity of the teachers. I still remember how my B2B professor said that it would be safer if everyone could carry a gun and that global warming didn’t even exist. He was definitely not a stupid man, but I found these statements very naive and disappointing. And another professor, on the other hand, didn’t push the course properly. So if you wanted to learn something, you had to suck it up from the books yourself. So the content was good and helpful, but I felt the delivery was lacking. All in all, I was satisfied and if you try hard, a 1.0 in all subjects is not difficult.
Incidentally, crashing courses is one of those things. You will have a lower status than American students when it comes to course allocation. In fact, American students can register online 2 weeks before you can take any step. But don’t panic, with the right strategy you can get at least half of your desired courses. And even if not, the other courses can later turn out to be very interesting and useful. As in my case. Most of my classmates only went to the professor at the beginning of the semester and asked. There is a lot of jostling and the first person gets the seat. In addition, due to the hustle and bustle there is no time to explain to the professor his motivation and his personal interest in this course.
In it you explain what you have done so far (your profile, course of study, any internships, etc.) and why you really want to be in this course. Here it is important not to use phrases, but real arguments. For example, I underpinned my interest in the B2B marketing course with my internship at the time in the marketing department. You can also add an application photo to the email so that the professor will remember you on the day the course crashes. Just sell yourself well…
For anyone who, as I said, is not so confident in the English language, I recommend simply taking an English course in addition to the university courses. I had big problems with grammar, so I took an advanced grammar course. Helped me incredibly much. I would also recommend that you don’t hang out with Germans any more than necessary. You won’t learn anything new culturally or linguistically. None of the German groups I got to know there spoke English throughout. The allure and convenience is just too great. Especially San Jose and the whole corner of Silicon Valley is very multicultural. Therefore, it is best to look for locals or internationals with whom you can spend your time. It’s up to you in the end, but that’s one of my biggest recommendations and advice.
My conclusion? Hmm… it will definitely be a very, very intense time. I believe that even if you are already very independent and think you know yourself quite well, a semester abroad will take you to the next level. You just learn a lot about yourself. You will also be confronted with weaknesses in yourself that you may have been able to ignore up until now, but which you now need to give the necessary attention. I am convinced that everyone will develop personally through a semester abroad. Even if it has its exhausting sides, I recommend it to everyone. Especially the USA, because it really has many different facets.
I would like to express my thanks once again for the help from MicroEdu. You really helped me a lot and kept my back free! Many Thanks.
All I have to say to all prospective travelers is that you’re going to have a great time and it’s definitely worth it. Have fun and safe flight….!