University: San Jose State University
City: San Jose
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: communication sciences
Study type: semester abroad
In order to be accepted at SJSU, one must apply early. However, MicroEdu gave me some useful tips and in the end the application process was quite easy. All you need is proof of language proficiency. The SJSU accepts some certificates for this, so that you can also do a simple and free DAAD at your home university. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Universidad Adolfo Ibanez UAI.
At the same time as you apply for the university, you should apply for the dormitory (dorms or also called campus village). If you are going in the winter semester, you should have completed the application process for the dormitory no later than April 1st. The dormitory is very popular and therefore fills up quickly. However, when I was there, a new residential complex was being built, so maybe things will get a little easier there soon. The application process also includes the transfer of a deposit. This should not be underestimated, as it takes a few days. I also had fundamental problems with the process because after acceptance at SJSU I was given an incorrect student ID and my ID has not yet been activated. A Mrs. Marquez was able to help me, but I was pretty much on the last minute.
Overall, the Campus Village is great. Of course quite expensive by German standards, but average by San Jose standards. You have a small apartment with 3 bedrooms for 2 people. Of course it was unusual to share a room, but the Americans are quite easy and sociable with that. In addition, you have a total of 2 bathrooms for the 6 people and a large living and dining area including a kitchen. Unfortunately, no kitchen utensils were included. If you’re lucky, you can share it with your roommates. You can do your laundry in the laundry room of the building and there is also a study room and several rooms with billiard tables and the like. From time to time extra leisure activities were offered, there were bouncy castles in the Campus Village, food was given away or prizes were raffled. All in all it was great to stay there as you can’t get more central.
When you arrived in San José, you were made aware of the first days of getting to know each other and excursions at check-in. A campus tour served for better orientation. The campus is beautiful and hardly comparable to German ones. Palm trees everywhere, modern buildings, perfectly maintained grounds with roses everywhere – you can see where the tuition fees are. The staff at the IGateways office was also very nice. They also stood by me when I had problems, so that I could even make a call to Germany there in an emergency.
Courses and professors
The professors were all much friendlier than at home. In general, there is a very good relationship and I kept getting emails about possible internships, or I was able to take part in interesting guest lectures from people from companies like Linkedin or CNN. Individual support is very important there. However, you have to be prepared for the weekly workload.
The courses I took were:
- Advertising 125: Layout and Production (Delacruz)
- PR 99: Contemporary PR (Cabot)
- PR 190: Writing for the Information Age (Disalvo)
- ART 12: 2-Dimensional Color and Design Concepts (Surgalsky)
In all courses you had to do a lot during the semester. But if you stay on the ball, it’s doable, and you can also work well in advance. Despite this, I mostly had the opportunity to travel. Difficulty level is rather easy – medium instead of high.
If 40 degrees is too much for you, you shouldn’t go to San Diego, but to Northern California. San José is a good starting point for this. The city itself, however, promises more than you can actually find with its 1 million inhabitants. The center is more like that of a small town. Nevertheless, I was quite satisfied, as there were a few bars where you later became a regular and met all the internationals. Nevertheless, celebrations were often held in fraternity houses or at house parties. However, if you are looking for the party life of a big city, you are in the wrong place in San José. However, the proximity to SF makes it possible to go partying there. I found San José very good as a starting point.Silicon Valley cities like Palo Alto, Mountain View, of course SF and Oakland are within easy reach. Santa Cruz is the beach of the Bay Area and can also be reached in 30-50 minutes. For longer weekend trips, you can be in Yosemite National Park or Lake Tahoe in 3 hours. I didn’t buy a car, just a bike.
All in all it was an unbelievable six months with an incredible amount of travel and many new friends from all over the world. I was impressed by the versatility of California. Because California is more than just LA and Hollywood. From snow to sun, desert to waterfall, big city to small wine villages, you can find everything – and during half a year you have the time you need to see some of it.