When I was planning my stay abroad (together with my girlfriend), MicroEDU helped us a lot. The staff were always very friendly and helpful. Nevertheless, it was quite a stress at the beginning to get all the necessary documents, to make an appointment with the American booth, to first decide on a university,…. MicroEDU is prepared for this and provides all sorts of material, which makes it easier for you. When I had to choose a university, I first thought about which country I would like to go to. I realized very quickly that it should be the USA, but where exactly? The northeast or the southwest were available. When comparing the tuition fees at the interesting universities, the universities themselves, Because of the range of lectures and because of the better weather, I decided to go to California. A combination of requirements from the Bafög office (you only pay tuition fees of up to 4600 € per year if you stay at least one semester, so not a trimester !!!) and the amount of the tuition fees let the list of possible universities shrink. Ultimately, I decided to go to San Diego State University (SDSU) and in retrospect I am happy with the decision. However, it should be mentioned that there are far too many Germans at this university. It is disturbing to speak German so often abroad. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case for me in physics, but things looked dramatically different in economics. Read more student reviews on Liuxers.
Now back to the preparations. It was very worthwhile for me to take care of a flight there and back at an early stage, even if you then have to decide when to fly back. The advantage of the American examination system (at least at the SDSU) is that all exams are passed no later than one week after the end of the lectures. So you can plan quite well. In my case it was on December 12th. my last exam and on December 27th I flew back So there was still time to travel to California and neighboring states. It is also worth booking the rental car in good time. But you should be careful with which provider you do this. The Alamo is often quite cheap. But if you are not yet 25 years old (as in my case) you pay a hefty surcharge daily (around 20-25 €). At Alamo you are also not allowed to put snow chains on the car. If you want to go to the mountains, national parks such as Yosemite or Lake Tahoe in winter, you have to consider that. We (my girlfriend and I) didn’t fly directly to San Diego either, but to Las Vegas and from there by car via various national parks (really beautiful) and San Francisco to San Diego. We didn’t have a car when we were studying because everything can be easily reached by public transport. It just takes a little longer. The pass cost us $ 150 for the entire time. A (junk) car would cost around $ 300 a month. We (my girlfriend and I) didn’t fly directly to San Diego either, but to Las Vegas and from there by car via various national parks (really beautiful) and San Francisco to San Diego. We didn’t have a car when we were studying because everything can be easily reached by public transport. It just takes a little longer. The pass cost us $ 150 for the entire time. A (junk) car would cost around $ 300 a month. We (my girlfriend and I) didn’t fly directly to San Diego either, but to Las Vegas and from there by car via various national parks (really beautiful) and San Francisco to San Diego. We didn’t have a car when we were studying because everything can be easily reached by public transport. It just takes a little longer. The pass cost us $ 150 for the entire time. A (junk) car would cost around $ 300 a month. The pass cost us $ 150 for the entire time. A (junk) car would cost around $ 300 a month. The pass cost us $ 150 for the entire time. A (junk) car would cost around $ 300 a month.
Perhaps one more thing to prepare, actually you should bring a transcript of records with you, we never needed this in physics, but some business administration students did.
The SDSU is a very nice university with a compact, large campus. Every corner is blooming, everything is well-kept and the main building looks really good. However, there is also a lot of construction going on. On the campus of the university there is a basketball stadium, a baseball stadium, a large theater, an aquaplex (outdoor pool),…. For American Language Institute (ALI) students (which you are automatically if the SDSU is not a partner university of your home university) the Aquaplex is free of charge. Entry to basketball and American football games (home games) is free anyway and highly recommended. The student council from there (associated students = AS) also organizes something from time to time. For example, they sometimes show films with free popcorn and water in the meadow, or a free BBQ.
The only annoying thing is that you are an ALI student and therefore the tuition fees are higher than for “normal” students. We are just not subsidized by the state. A business economics professor has to admit another reason. The university would also like to earn money from the international students !!! As a business economist, you have to be aware that you don’t always end up in the courses where you want. But that’s not a problem in physics. But since my roommates are studying business administration, you have noticed a lot. In class crashing, for example, some professors simply counted off in pairs and none of the “straight” people could join the others in the course. The courses there are often completely overcrowded. But I got into the courses I wanted without any problems.
The physics institute is rather manageable and mainly designed for bachelor students. Due to austerity measures at the university, fewer and fewer lectures can be offered, which then sometimes means that bachelor students have to attend master’s lectures. Unfortunately, there is also no PhD (doctoral student) program at the university in physics, which means that some working groups are rather small. I really enjoyed the lectures I heard and the lecturers really tried hard. However, the effort for a lecture is significantly higher than at home. There is tons of homework and several midterms, finals and sometimes plenty of mini-tests. But then you don’t have much to do for the final. The university also has an astronomy institute with a fairly active student club. Once I went to the university’s own observatory on Mt. Laguna in the middle of nowhere. That is only to be recommended.
San Diego and California
San Diego is a really nice city. It’s quite big, but that’s why there’s always something to do. There were regular emails from the ALI about what to do in San Diego this week. We recommend the Farmers Market in Little Italy, the Coronado peninsula, the Mission, the Balbo Park with countless museums, which incidentally have free entry on some Tuesdays, Downtown, various Mals, La Jolla (really very nice), PB, the Torrey Pine state reserve, Pt. Loma National Park, Breweries,… It was never boring.
In California, the national parks are highly recommended. Especially the Yosemite, the Sequoia, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Grand Canjon (even if it’s not in CA),.., are really nice. But the drive on Hwy No 1 from San Francisco to the south was also nice. I didn’t like LA that much (Hollywood with Walk of Fame) but nearby is the Griffiths Observatory from where you have a breathtaking view of the greater LA area. San Francisco, Santa Barbara, Monterey,… everything can only be recommended.
I really enjoyed it in San Diego and at SDSU and I can only recommend it. If you are not on the beach all day, you can experience a lot. But because of “it never rains in southern california” December was really wet!