University: San Jose State University
City: San Jose
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: pedagogy and teaching
Study type: semester abroad
About half a year before my semester abroad (i.e. in December 2010) I spontaneously had the idea of trying to do a semester abroad in the USA. After a tip from a friend, I ended up at MicroEdu and bombarded Alina with a lot of annoying emails. At this point, I have to give the MicroEdu Team full praise, because the answers always came very quickly and no question was too stupid to get a nice answer.
Since I was already limited in my choice of university due to my dependence on the BAföG office, and it was clear to me from the start that I wanted to go to California, I came to SJSU through a recommendation, among other things. What particularly appealed to me about San Josè and the associated university was the central location. Monterey, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and many other places worth seeing were relatively close and always worth a weekend trip. Visit toppharmacyschools.org to get information about James Cook University study abroad program.
The application process is a bit time-consuming, but totally doable. As I said, the MicroEdu team is always available and happy to explain everything. Once you’ve gone through all the paperwork, the worst is already over and you’re just waiting for the confirmation. The arrival at the university in August was completely harmless and you are in good hands. Everything is explained well and I was quickly reassured by the fact that there were really a lot of students who, like me, arrived there unsuspectingly. Information events and the SAL office were always available if you had any questions and also support you in registering for the course.
I flew to San Jose without organizing a place to live first. Since the student residence there was too expensive for me, I decided to look around for an apartment or something similar on site. Luckily I ran into a couple on my first weekend who offered me a room with them and moving in was the best decision I could have made. But I also know of some people who have searched for apartments locally via craigslist.org and have also been successful. The “housing officer” of SJSU, Cindy, was also motivated at the beginning to find accommodation for each of us – so nobody who is homeless has to study there : -)
The first 2 weeks in San Jose we were mostly busy getting into the right courses. Since the local students had already registered online for their courses, and this was not possible for us foreign students beforehand, we had to arrange the course occupancy on site by contacting the lecturers by email or by addressing them personally. Luckily I got into all the courses I wanted to take. But this is partly just out of luck, since some remaining places were simply drawn by lot. In any case, my experience is that persistence helps. After just one week, places in a course can become available because students have changed their minds.
Overall, my courses were not difficult at all, but time consuming. Regular writing of essays, preparation of presentations and other homework, exams, but also regular attendance and participation are prerequisites for successfully completing a course. But I wouldn’t let that put me off, I think the level of difficulty is much lower than at German universities.
The university offers a lot of opportunities to spend your free time in a colorful way. But I also saw a lot through my host family and we also regularly did something with the other Germans who studied at the university through MicroEdu. Whether it’s shopping in the mall, the beach in Santa Cruz, or the cinema or theater in San Jose – we’ve always found something to experience America and see something new.
Personally, I went to university by bike and lightrail. The ticket for this was integrated into our student ID and that was very helpful for us because we could get everywhere with it. Unless we wanted to go to Monterey or Yosemite National Park for the weekend – then we rented a car (split to 4-5 people a very inexpensive affair!)
The cost of living in San Jose was extremely high. The high food prices and housing costs were not without. But with a semester abroad you also expect increased expenses, so everything was still within the planned framework. After all, I also wanted to see and experience something and I’m happy with every cent I left there : -) In summary, I can say that this semester was totally worth it for me! Firstly, I improved my English and secondly, I made many friends that I will definitely visit again. My subsequent road trip to southern California also totally impressed me. I would recommend everyone to do the same!