University: San Jose State University
City: San Jose
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: media
Study type: semester abroad
I hope that the following report can help you with your decision to spend a semester abroad. It’s difficult to describe such a unique experience in a short report, but I’ll do my best to help you.
Organization before the start of the semester:
Unfortunately, in my experience, organizing a semester abroad is associated with a number of hurdles. Visa, finances, student loans, etc. MicroEdu and the International Office at my university were able to give me good tips and made the process easier, but it is a long way before you have all the documents together and are finally sitting in the lecture at the foreign university. So no matter if it gets stressful, you should stay strong and realize your wish for a semester abroad. It is essential to apply for foreign student loans, which you also get, as in my case, if applications for domestic student loans were rejected in previous years. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about University of California Berkeley.
Before I arrived in San José I didn’t know exactly what to expect. One should register with SAL (Studies of American Language) upon arrival on campus. This organization establishes the first on-site contact with the university. Campus tours, information events on course choices and leisure activities are offered. This facility can usually answer everything you need to know and simplifies your stay immensely. It also makes sense to contact SAL by phone beforehand if you are unsure. The people there are really very nice and helpful. Upon arrival, a TOEFL placement test is taken, but it is not as demanding as the real TOEFL. This is only there to determine and classify the individual language skills of the individual students. So DAAD is definitely enough to be admitted to the courses at San José State. After an introductory week, you have the opportunity to apply for the courses at the university. As is the case everywhere in the States, this is done using so-called course crashing: you go to the courses in the first week of lectures, talk to the professors and ask if there are still places available on the course. It is important not to be put off by the online status. In most cases, the professors have the opportunity to take exchange students into the courses as well. Of course you should have some course alternatives ready, but usually you get the courses you want. A good way to get a little security beforehand is to contact the respective professor directly by email. Most professors in America look forward to personal contact and reply to emails promptly. If that is too complicated for you, it is probably enough to get information from the responsible persons during the SAL introductory week. But generally, no one I spoke to had a problem getting the courses they wanted.
The course itself is great fun. I decided to study at SJSU because of the wide range of film courses on offer. The department is very well structured, equipment is available free of charge, but if you think you can just borrow a RED or an ALEXA and start shooting, you have wrong. Many projects in the film department are implemented very professionally (summer feature, etc.), but production tends to be low/no-budget during the semester. The offer of the summer feature could be interesting for students interested in film. During the summer holidays, a 90-minute film will be shot, which will be produced exclusively by students. The campus is the heart of San José and the approximately 25,000 students make this place special. The courses were good (Photographic Lighting/Postproduction& Delivery/Advanced Film and TV Production) I can recommend the photo courses in the photo department to people who are interested in photography. Funny and creative minds cavort there, with whom it is great fun to work project-related and freely.
In general, the quality of the professors seems to be quite decent. (Example: one of my professors is an Oscar winner!!!) My professors were very fair and open towards me and were always interested in my opinion. I was happy with my semester at SJSU it was a great enrichment and experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Important: Visiting various clubs is a good way to establish contacts with American students. There are free clubs for everything: sport, film, dance, art… So ask, go and make friends;)
San Jose the city:
Where is actually San José (pronounced: Sän Hosäi)? I asked myself that when I was looking for a university for my semester abroad. Being close to San Francisco you might think that the city would be really cool and that some of the San Francisco flair would have spilled over, but the city in the heart of Silicon Valley is rather unspectacular. The weather is positive – during my stay in San José it rained maybe twice. The public transport has free WiFi but is poorly connected, only runs until 1: 00 a.m., but is free for students. In order to make the most efficient use of your time, you should consider buying a car. Especially the cars in America are relatively cheap compared to German cars. You can also afford insurance. So weekend trips to Yosemite, Tahoe, Vegas, San Francisco and Los Angeles are no problem. However, the best thing would probably be to decide directly to study in a “real” city. Sounds worse than it is, but cities like San Francisco, San Diego or Los Angeles simply have more to offer and certainly make the experience of the semester abroad even more interesting.
I hope my report was of some help to you. If you have any further questions, you can also send me an email.