So one thing first … Go to the SDSU! I am studying at the EUFH and 1 semester abroad is compulsory. To improve my English, only an English-speaking country came into question for me.
The catch: England, Ireland and the USA, Canada and Australia conceivable alternatives are all super expensive …
If, like me, you get a foreign loan, a lot of things previously unthinkable will become possible. A lot of paperwork, but it’s worth it! I have received a travel allowance of EUR 1000 (but only paid 640 on flights with British Airways) and up to EUR 4,600 for tuition fees. At the exchange rate at the time, the SDSU suddenly came into the shortlist despite $ 6,000 tuition fees. A few testimonials, youtube videos, photos and a walk with Google Streetview later I was completely convinced.
Applying to the university was then very easy. USPRIVATESCHOOLSFINDER provides everything and you can’t really go wrong, thank you again! It is best to start one to six months in advance, you need your SDSU approval for student loans, the visa, etc.
Here you notice for the first time how expensive it all is … The application fee of the university was $ 175 and the visa was around 250 euros.
You have to pick up the visa at a US embassy. I had to sacrifice almost a whole day for this because the next embassy from Cologne is in Frankfurt. The appointment there was easy: “What do you wanna do in America?”, “Nice, San Diego! How do you finance it? Do you have health insurance? Did you ever have problems with the police? No? Good answer, have fun buddy! ”That’s how it went with me, but others had real watchdogs, so you have to be lucky. Make sure you bring your time, you wait for hours.
For the KV I can recommend the ADAC. I wasn’t even sick or at the doctor’s, but it was nice and cheap (about 120 for 5 months) and others thought the package was okay. A bank account at Deutsche Bank is also advisable, as you can withdraw money from Bank of America free of charge.
Book flights, pack your bags and go!
Everyone tells you to look for apartments in the hotel and on site beforehand. Some were really lucky, others weren’t. For this tactic, however, you should be in San Diego at least 2, rather 3 weeks in advance. I had previously looked for a room in a private house next to the university via craigslist. The location was 5083 Debby Drive, 5 minutes walk from the university – awesome! Many advise you to go to PB (Pacific Beach). At first I regretted it, but not afterwards. Sure, a beach life is fantastic and so you will definitely get tanned and go surfing more. On the other hand, you then inevitably need a car and the temptation to skip college grows even more. The people in PB were evacuated when the tsunami warning was given, but that will probably not happen in the long term.
For me, the grades were 1 to 1 in my German bachelor’s degree, which is why I made the better decision for me. If you just have to pass, surf and party 5 days a week, you should try PB. But there are also parties in the College Area, but unfortunately not as many as in the past. The police have become very strict, that’s why. On the other hand, all the fraternity and sorority parties are there. If you know or get to know a member … these are the hottest parties, like in college films;)
Otherwise there is always a dork who drives, or take the shuttle / party bus or a taxi to several! Not the trolley … it takes hours and only the lower class uses it. 1-3 parties a week were enough for me. The parties are good, but it always ends at half past two! A total change, but you get used to it. In PB and Mission Beach there are always bar / clubs / beach clubs and the crowd is relaxed, just like the style. Downtown SD is fancier and more expensive (around $ 20 entry). In PB you pay significantly less. Entry is free or so $ 5, alcohol is also affordable. My favorite day was always “Thirsty Thursday” – no university on Friday and very cheap parties where there is still a lot going on.
At the weekend the parties are a bit more expensive, but still good. Clubs always change and so do people’s preferences. My favorite places in PB / Mission Beach were Moondoggies, Sandbar, BarWest and ShoreClub. Taco Tuesday at Typhoon (PB) is highly recommended, but I always had university until late at night. In downtown: Fluxx.
So enough with parties. The apartment was filthy because of my 4 roommates one girl was pretty disgusting and messy. The rest was really cool, all Americans and students. In this way you speak English diligently, otherwise you will meet enough like-minded Germans anyway … After 2 nights in the hostel, I basically furnished my room with Ikea furniture and then first explored the city in peace.
The city is considered very beautiful by American standards. I think San Diego is okay but a bit boring. The city center is limited to Little Italy, an approx. 1 kilometer long row of pizzerias and ice cream parlors, a fairly deserted banking district full of skyscrapers and the “historic” Gaslamp Quarter. The latter was remodeled to old as the origin of the city in the 90s and looks a bit like Disneyland. But I still like it because there is something like city life there and people are still outside in restaurants and bars after sunset. The only culture shock was the incredible number of homeless people here on the streets. Everywhere there is a lot more than here in Germany, but downtown are the salvation armies and therefore about every 7th-8th person is.
The lack of attraction in the city center is more than compensated for by the surroundings. The harbor and the beaches are beautiful. In front of the harbor is the Coronado Peninsula with Imperial Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen so far. Many older and richer people live on Coronado and the film Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe is also set here. The coastal area of La Jolla in the north is very, very beautiful and heavily populated by sea lions and seals.
Students are more likely to be in Pacific or Mission Beach. Both the same beach, but different sections of it. As I said, here are all the beach clubs and bars. Surfing is also relatively inexpensive here.
To the University:
A little further in the country, about 20 minutes by car to the beach or downtown. The college area is pretty nice and the campus is like a nice city park with its own Japanese garden, lots of green lawns, beds and trees. All international students have free access to the university’s huge fitness studio, which is why I haven’t done as much sport as in a long time. The private outdoor pool with whirlpool is also free of charge. In addition, you can play tennis for free with equipment and in the gym, if there is something free, you can also play indoor soccer, volleyball and basketball.
The choice of course was relatively unproblematic for us. Yes, you have to crash and yes, the Americans have priority. You can then see the open places on the Internet the week before the start of the lecture. Experience has shown that even when the courses are full, some still jump off, so stay tuned! The most popular courses are still offered as a special section, ie. you then have a course with a more or less English-speaking lecturer, ¾ Germans and other students from Sweden, Denmark, Italy or France. I had no problem with the “right” courses. I wanted economics CPs to increase the chances of getting a master’s degree. After a week I had all my courses, I needed 4. Whoever needs more has to pay extra. Ultimately I had Labor Economics with Prof. Amuedo-Dorantes, International Economic Problems with Prof. Gerber and Managerial Economics at Januji Juneja. The first two in particular were quite interesting, but also a bit more intensive to learn (which is also feasible in SD). As a special section, I then have HR Management at “Dr. Z “selected. The guy was considered easygoing, but after he had lifted the compulsory attendance and no one came, he deducted a flat 15% from the grade. Slightly incompetent for me and his language skills were worse than that of 80% of the course participants. Try to avoid him or maybe you’ll be lucky again. In retrospect, that was my only “B”, the other 3 were “A” s. Because I needed the grades I already learned something and didn’t celebrate 4-7, but as a German student in the 2nd or 3rd year you are guaranteed not to be overwhelmed and always have a life outside of the university.
That may sound very encouraging now, but I was also there in the spring semester. According to Prof. Amuedo-Dorantes, there are many more Germans there in the case of Semester and are fighting for the vacancies. Speaking of Germans, there were more than enough there. I got to know really cool Germans, but you have to try a little to make other friends. The temptation is otherwise great and you don’t speak English at all. By the way, the Americans are generally not stupid or superficial, you just have to be a bit lucky and meet cool people, but there are enough of them in San Diego. My tip: start with an American flat share and take as many “Open University” classes as possible.
What else was great, we had a week of spring break. Instead of tearing up Cancun and women, I went on a road trip through California with my girlfriend. We rented a cart, went to Los Angeles (ugly, but you have to do Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Venice Beach a few times), Disneyland, whale watching in Orange County etc. We went from LA to San Francisco up the coast cruised Highway 1, it’s incredibly beautiful. You drive through Malibu, Santa Barbara and the scenic Central Coast. The supposedly best track at Big Sur was unfortunately closed, but ok. After an overnight stay in the really recommendable Monterey, we went to SF. San Francisco is very charming and we had unusually good weather. According to the weather report, there has never been 28 degrees in March in San Francisco. In contrast to LA and San Diego, downtown is really cool, but I was also deeply impressed by the suburb of Sausalito, the Golden Gate Bridge and the former prison island of Alcatraz. Plan at least 3 days!
Otherwise Vegas (!!!) was very nice, I would have liked to have been more often, Mather Point at the Grand Canyon and Tijuana. The latter is a bit dangerous at the moment, but longer parties than in SD and you have to see it. Goes with Mexicans who know their way around, that’s how we did it.
What I unfortunately didn’t manage: Yosemite and Redwood National Park.
Cost of living around 900-1000 euros / month
+ party life
For travel I would plan another 1,500-2,000 euros, it’s just worth it.
Clothes are much cheaper than at home.
It’s really expensive. A room near the university with a shared bathroom costs the equivalent of 550 euros. The cost of living in SD is another 40% above the American average.
On all things, including groceries or in the fast food shop, there are almost 10% taxes … but it is not written anywhere, you always have to add that in your head.
If you think it’s always warm and sunny – forget about it. The weather is great. In January it was often 20 degrees at noon, but quite cold in the evening. It’s mostly warm, around 20-30, but always pleasant. We had rainy days disproportionately for SD, but we had cracked the alleged 10 rainy days per year at the end of February and rain was normal now and then.
Well, I really can’t write more than that. I was there for 5 months and it was the hottest time of my life! I’ve seen and experienced so much, it’s great there. There are negative aspects, but the positive aspects clearly predominate! I wasn’t homesick for 1 second, ok at carnival;) Even if you don’t want to go back afterwards, go to San Diego! It’s gonna be legendary.