University: San Jose State University
City: San Jose
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: computer science
Study type: semester abroad
My preparation for the semester abroad started about 5-6 months before my stay in the USA. I spent a long time researching which university it should be for me and in the end there were only San Diego State University (SDSU) and San José State University (SJSU) to choose from. Since the location of SJSU in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area was particularly appealing to me as a computer science student, I finally chose this university. Visit mcat-test-centers.com to get information about University of New Brunswick Fredericton.
The application process is quite easy, especially with the guidelines from MicroEdu, and some certificates are accepted by the SJSU as proof of language proficiency, including the DAAD certificate, which I was able to obtain free of charge at my home university.
Unfortunately, I had to travel to Frankfurt for the US visa, as you can only apply for the visa in the US embassies in Berlin, Frankfurt or Munich and for me it all meant at least a 4-hour drive each way. However, the application at the embassy was completed and approved after 15-20 minutes.
All of the questions I had during the application process were excellently answered by MicroEdu and they helped wherever they could.
Since I decided to spend a semester abroad relatively spontaneously, unfortunately all the places in the dormitory on campus were taken, as they seem to be very popular.
Since I still wanted to live close to the campus, I looked for apartments on the community marketplace called “Airbnb” and found a shared apartment in San José Downtown, about 15 minutes’ walk from the campus.
It was therefore possible for me to participate almost directly in campus life, although I lived “off-campus”.
San Jose State
The SJSU campus cannot be compared to that of a German university. It’s a very large campus with many buildings (Student Union, Event Center, etc.), palm trees and beautifully designed corners.
The studies started a week earlier for the “Internationals” because an orientation week was organized. After this week, the “course crashing” started, which can end in torture, especially for international students, since local students are given preference when choosing a course.
So I spent the first 2 weeks just attending courses hoping to get an “add code” for it. After the course crashing, I didn’t get all the courses I wanted, but at least all of them in the area of CS (Computer Science).
My courses were:
- CS152: Programming Paradigms
- CS154: Formal Languages and Computability
- CS166: Information Security
- CS185C: Solving Big Data Problems
For me personally, the American system was better designed than the German one, since many tasks and exams had to be completed during the semester, but this effort was also “rewarded” in the form that everything that was included in the final grade my home university in DE is not the case.
San Jose is one of the 10 most populous cities in the United States by numbers, even larger than nearby San Francisco. However, San José does not give the impression of a city with about 1 million inhabitants, since it is very quiet compared to other cities of this size. This becomes clear on a trip to SF undertaken more than once.
As already mentioned, there is a lot of work to be done during the semester. Nevertheless, I took 3 weeks off in October, my girlfriend visited me and we made a round trip, which of course should not be missed in a semester abroad.
Here we have been in San Francisco (again), San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York City, or in Yosemite National Park or at the Grand Canyon.
In addition, a visit to the sporting events of the “Big 4” sports is a must. There are enough professional teams nearby (San Francisco 49ers = football, San Francisco Giants = baseball, San José Sharks = ice hockey, Golden State Warriors = basketball) or just the college teams.
Since the visa is still valid for up to 60 days after the program, I made a trip to Miami after the end of the semester and over Christmas before going home from there.
All in all, this semester abroad was an incredible experience that I can only recommend to everyone. Traveled a lot, made new friends, and was part of the American way of life for a while. Likewise, the enormous diversity of the USA and especially that of California can be explored.