University: San Jose State University
City: San Jose
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: International Business Administration
Study type: semester abroad
At the beginning of the planning phase, I looked closely at the MicroEdu website and the offers. I checked countless testimonials and schools and finally decided on San José State University in Northern California. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about Swinburne University of Technology SUT.
- The university is located in the heart of Silicon Valley (one of the most important locations for the IT and high-tech industry worldwide). There are countless well-known companies in the city, and the professors are also very well networked.
- San Jose as a city offers a good location to get everywhere. To the north is San Francisco, to the south Santa Cruz and Monterey. To the west is the ocean and there are countless parks and national parks in the area.
- There is a business department with many interesting courses.
- The university is in the heart of the metropolis, so you can easily hang out downtown.
- Friendly International Gateways Office team to take care of your concerns.
- Class Crashing: Local students are allowed to pre-register for classes on the website. However, you have to fight for free places on site and talk to the professors. Since you’re not the only ones going to do this, it often gets stressful.
- A lot is currently being built on campus.
Distances to the environment and infrastructure
- The Caltrain that runs through San Jose has a single route. This runs from north to south or vice versa (Northbound/Southbound). Northbound means towards San Francisco, which costs $10 and takes 1.5 hours.
- At the beginning of the semester, the school issues a Clipper Card that allows you to use the bus and tram network.
- In some areas you have to walk a little further to get to the nearest bus or tram stop. You can also use Uber or Lyft here (app download required). Uber or Lyft drivers are mostly private people driving for the company, so it’s cheaper than taxis. On average, I paid about $4.50 for a 5 km distance for an Uber pool (pool means that the Uber driver also picks up other passengers along the way who have to go in roughly the same direction).
- If you want to go to the southern coastal city of Santa Cruz and don’t have a car, you can take the number 17 bus from Diridon Station (also called Caltrain Station). A ride costs about $5 and the journey takes about an hour.
- A lot of people are out and about with bicycles, especially because the area is so huge and yet flat. However, theft is common. My bike was stolen despite the bike lock. It’s best to use one of those steel bike locks and lock it through the bike, as some are only interested in a single tire.
- San Francisco is 1 hour away and Los Angeles is about 6 hours away by car.
Parties and entertainment
- The bars in the city mostly double as clubs as they have a dance floor. Admission and alcohol consumption is from 21. All the bars we have been to with friends have already closed at 1: 30 in the morning. But there are also clubs in San Francisco that don’t close until 4 a.m. or later, as is common in Germany.
- It is not allowed to walk around outside with visible bottles of alcohol. These must be wrapped/hidden.
- Throughout the semester there are always frat parties (frat from fraternity = connection for boys). The sororities themselves are not allowed to throw parties, but go to the fraternity parties. It’s usually difficult to get into one of these parties unless you’re on the guest list. However, women have better chances.
- There is an amusement park called Californias Great America, a zoo Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, a public outdoor pool Raging Waters, and several large shopping malls dotted around the city. There is a big stadium called SAP Center near the main train station that often hosts concerts, ice hockey games, etc. The Westfield Valley Fair (Mall) near Santana Row is also worth checking out.
Demographics and cuisine
About one-third each of the population is Caucasian (~ European), Asian, and Latino. Accordingly, there are also a lot of Mexican and Asian restaurants.
Costs, Expenses and Accommodation
- The San Jose area is one of the most expensive cities in the USA, maybe even ahead of New York City. You can expect at least $20 daily expenses within the week. Then more on the weekend, depending on what you’re doing.
- Living on campus is very expensive. Estimated $6000 per semester (5 months). An accommodation in a kind of host family is not that cheap either, around $1000 per month (rent including heating), but you usually get away better with your own room, which is not always the case in campus housing. The cheapest option would be to team up with other local students and look for an apartment close to the campus, although this is difficult if you are still in Germany. A third option is to get together in advance with other German students who will be going to San Jose and rent a complete house (5-6 etc.) right away. A final option is to apply to International House. This accommodates international students from all kinds of countries. A friend of mine stayed there, but one thing he didn’t like was that there are mandatory events that you have to attend from time to time. Of the In terms of cost, it also ranges between host family accommodation and campus housing.
- For a return flight from Germany to San Jose, you can expect a total of around $1500 – $2000.
- There are many unstable and lonely street dwellers in San Jose. You should avoid them as much as possible. Also, there are now and then people who might ask you on the street if you want to buy weed.
- Sirens can be heard almost every day in the city and shots were also heard near campus by some of my fellow students. However, it must be said that crime in the USA is on a different level than in Germany and that San Jose does not have to be worse and riskier than other areas in California.
- You should definitely not cover long distances yourself at night, but use Uber or Lyft instead.
- Form a group early on with other German students from Germany (who will also be going to SJSU). For example a Facebook or Whatsapp group.
- Sim card: There are family plans from providers like Tmobile if you get a sim card. This makes the monthly Internet package cheaper than buying it alone.
- One way to get to know a lot of local Americans is to take tours (such as a drive to a national park) offered by the university for a fee. You can also join a club. For this type of offer, however, you have to pay again, which is mentioned here. In my case, it was that I chose to join a connection. It took me 92 days to become a full member and it was one of the hardest yet best experiences of my life. With connections, however, you have to constantly attend their events, which makes the whole thing very time-consuming. You should decide for yourself beforehand whether it’s worth it if you have to forgo a trip with friends every now and then because of this.