After completing my basic studies in economics, I went to SDSU for 2 semesters. With many “Southern California” ideas in mind, organizational questions arose even before the query: Which courses are you taking, WG or Dorm, what can you organize from Germany. You quickly notice that most things can only be clarified on site.
So first fly over in relaxed California style and see what happens. That turned out to be the right decision, and not just for me. Internet portals make it easy to organize visits to a flat share and then find your own room relatively easily (which is usually not possible when living on campus).
It is also important if you do not live on campus and it is somehow financially possible to get a car. For all this and other things like finding furniture there is the wonder site www.craigslist.com – there you can find a solution for almost everything. Read more student reviews on Mcat-test-centers.
I can only advise you to try to live with Americans if possible – you automatically get enough contact with internationals.
When it comes to university, I can only say so much that nothing is given to you. In other words: you have to take care of your schedule yourself, which is associated with stress when crashing, especially in the first 2 weeks. However, if you are fairly flexible and, above all, hit the right note, almost all the professors were really helpful and I got almost all of the courses I wanted.
A short comment on the popular website www.ratemyprofessor.com: as a rough guide it is certainly not bad, but it is sometimes really very subjective. So don’t let that stop you if you’re really interested in a course.
My experience was that you should not go from the course level with a clear conscience and go to the Upper Division Undergraduate Level (less than 400 courses), as these introductory courses often do not correspond to the German university level. And with increasing course number, not only does the level increase, it also becomes more interesting, as it becomes more interactive and, above all, the other course participants are better and more reliable (which is very important given the sometimes strenuous amount of group work).
I have almost exclusively chosen master’s courses and can recommend this to everyone. It is also important that you learn to adapt your attitude towards advice centers. The ALI but also the other advice centers can not only really help you, they are also happy to do so, unlike in Germany. Because of the tuition fees, it’s more of a service mentality.
In summary, I can unreservedly recommend this adventure to everyone. Every experience is different and what you do with the time depends largely on you – I especially advise against making contact with other Germans – you don’t have to fly halfway around the world for that.
If you open up to the California way of life, take a surf course at the university if possible, take road tips (tip: Highway 1), get involved in one of the countless clubs and go to PB on the weekend (or during the week) to party, start you really start to get enthusiastic about this region.
Have fun – it’s all up to you!
SAN DIEGO STATE UNIVERSITY
In August 2010, my journey to the land of opportunity began with an incident. My pastries got lost at the airport and were only delivered to me days later. Well, one more reason to go shopping. I had already answered the question of where I should live during the semester from Germany. I contacted several Americans via www.craigslist.org to inquire whether there was still a free space in their flat share. It was a difficult search, but I would recommend it to anyone because the majority of all exchange students lived with other exchange students. For me, living with Americans was the best thing that could have happened to me. Not only was I taken everywhere and shown the whole city, beaches and nightlife, on weekends they lent me tents, Air mattresses and everything else that was necessary for camping in the national parks. By the way, my highlight was Yosimite Park with its waterfalls, moose and bears. Another important point was that my roommates put me in contact with other Americans. Extra courses for exchange students were opened at San Diego State University, because apparently all German universities credit the same courses and the demand was therefore too great. The advantage of this is the level of the courses. In all of my courses, the grade was A-. The disadvantage of all this is that 80% of the participants are Germans in each course. It was extremely difficult to get to know Amis through university. Many Germans on site also suffered from this. Anyone who did not have contact about their living situation was dependent on getting to know American students in the numerous sports activities. By the way, surfing is not appropriate for this;) I myself solved the whole thing in such a way that I worked as an intern twice a week for 5 hours in addition to my studies. It was really a great atmosphere in the office and you were always invited to go out to dinner in the evening. Because of the few university hours, this was really a great activity and gave you a good insight into the life of Americans.
On the weekends, I always went somewhere with friends. It is really amazing how little Americans born there have seen of California. The list of things to do in San Diego itself and in California seems endless.J In addition to the numerous national parks that are closed from November due to snow, Las Vegas, Santa Barbara, Highway 1, San Fransisco are definitely a MUST. Another good tip is www.priceline.com. Here you can bid on hotels and actually always make pretty good deals. The always wonderful weather in California invites you to go on trips like this. During the whole time I never needed a jacket and in retrospect I definitely packed too many warm things. That just took up unnecessary space to go shopping even more;). At the end of my trip, a few friends from Germany came to visit me and after the obligatory tour through California we flew to Hawaii for another week. This is an absolute dream, especially for surfers. Although I hardly got on the board in San Diego, it was not a problem to be successful in the long waves in Hawaii. There are also snorkeling areas in Hawaii where you can swim with large sea turtles. Another hundred species of fish can be found in the reefs. But also here it is important to rent a car. Otherwise you are stuck in the tourist-flooded city of Waikiki and unfortunately cannot see the lonely sandy beaches. By the way, Hawaii is a 6 hour flight from Los Angeles and there is another 2 hours more time difference to Germany. So a total of 11. The chance of visiting this remote place again seems very slim. So it is really worth considering.
San Diego is a wonderful city and I can only advise everyone to do a semester abroad there. In order to get along really well on site, I can only suggest that everyone plan early. In addition to the accommodation, you should think about whether you want to rent or buy a car. You can’t get around a car. Under certain circumstances you can find people through MicroEDU with whom you can share the costs.