University: San Jose State University
City: San Jose
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: physics
Study type: semester abroad
Now it’s over again, the semester abroad in San Jose in beautiful California. The almost six months went by very quickly, which has to do with the fact that it was a great time!
I actually started to take care of the semester at the beginning of January of the year, which is a bit tight, but was still good enough to be able to get everything done. It was precisely here that I benefited from the help of MicroEdu, who was always able to help, for example which documents still had to be filled out. The application for the university went smoothly. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Universidad De Chile.
After the visa was in my possession relatively shortly before departure, it was finally time to get started.
The only thing I didn’t know at the time was where I would be staying for the semester. For the first week I looked for accommodation at www.couchsurfing.org.
This platform may seem a bit adventurous at first, but it offers the opportunity to immediately make nice contacts with locals. So my host has remained a good friend beyond my stay.
Then, during the first week, I searched www.craigslist.org for permanent housing. After less than a week I found what I was looking for, although it must be said that accommodation for $500 can be considered good value. The rental prices are sometimes significantly higher than in Germany.
The apartment was very central, so I could walk to the city center and to the university. But since my roommates were able to offer me a bike, I cycled almost all the distances. The bus and train connections are also very good by American standards.
The university is relatively large and extends over several blocks. The campus offers some very nice green areas with palm trees, which is always nice to see;-) It wasn’t difficult for me to get into my desired courses, but this can certainly look different in other subjects. As a graduate student, I had most of my classes in the late afternoon. In total, I had to choose three courses to get to the 9 units, and I also chose an SAL course.
If you have longer breaks between lectures, you can relax by the pool, which is located on campus;-)
Compared to my master’s program in Germany, more exams had to be completed during the semester, such as weekly homework and midterms, which then included in the final grade.
We usually did the exercise sheets in a group of fellow students. As a result, good friendships developed, so that we often went out for a beer after university.
By the way, many friendships have developed over time. I went to San Jose with a friend from Germany, we studied together but lived separately. So we were able to get to know new friends together or separately and then bring them together to form a large circle of friends. In addition to locals, there were also people from many other nations (Italy, Switzerland, Turkey, Chile, Germany, Mexico…).
Despite the large number of inhabitants, San Jose as a city is relatively manageable. In the evening you can go out, for example, in bars and pubs on 1st and 2nd Street, San Fernando and Sanata Clara, but also on San Petro Square.
If you want to leave San Jose, it takes about 45 minutes by car to get to San Francisco, a really beautiful and lively city. The nearest beach is in Santa Cruz, the surfing capital about 30 minutes away. These destinations can also be reached by bus and train, but it takes a little longer. So it makes sense to have a car or to know other people who own cars. Because in addition to San Francisco and Santa Cruz, destinations such as Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Napa Valley or Big Sur offer breathtaking landscapes that are not too far away. A weekend in Las Vegas is also only recommended : -)
You can live much more relaxed in the USA if you are at least 21 years old, because otherwise you can hardly get into any bars or similar.
In summary, I can say that it was a very eventful, intensive, and wonderful time, so that I can only recommend everyone to take the step abroad. Financially, it is certainly not the cheapest to study in California, but if you get Auslandsbafög, the high tuition fees will definitely be eliminated.
What has stuck with time is not the slightly more expensive food or the more expensive beer, but a time in warm San Jose, with good friends, an impressive landscape and lots of fun!