One thing has always been clear to me: I would like to study in the USA . Because you know campus life from all the films and series, I’ve always believed that studying at an American university is a very special experience. And after my semester abroad , I can say: I was right.
There is not really a large selection of American partner universities for my course at the Rhein-Main University of Applied Sciences. At an information event at the university, I found out about your website, an agency that will help you apply to a university of your choice from their range of universities (the selection is really large) free of charge. The student advisors were always really helpful to me. In the end it took a while to collect all the documents. Without their help, this would definitely not have been possible.
As soon as the application was finally submitted, the confirmation was there and the flight could be booked. The next step was to apply for a visa , which was pretty quick. In fact, I was early and they didn’t send it to me until a few months later.
I also took care of my accommodation in advance . I have read from many people who have studied at San Diego State that they have found a place in what is known as the BLVD63. When I looked at the pictures of this property, I could hardly believe my eyes. Pool, hot tubs, own gym, all the palm trees. It looked a lot more like a paradise resort. In addition, mostly students lived there. So you get a certain “dorm feeling” without living in the expensive dorms on campus, which definitely had less to offer than the BLVD. You also have the advantage that you can choose your roommates.
At first I was a little concerned that it would be difficult to fill an apartment with the right roommates. But it was much easier than expected. As soon as I had contacted some people in the BLVD63 group, I had already filled my apartment and signed the contract.
I shared a room with an Italian woman and lived with a French woman, a Spanish woman, another Italian and an American. And I couldn’t have been happier than with this combination.
Furthermore, the BLVD63 makes it pretty easy to get to know other internationals, as they usually romp around at the same parties and go to the same San Diego Entertainment events.
A negative point, which could really be decisive, is that BLVD63 mostly only offers annual contracts. I took care of a new tenant very early on and luckily I found one. However, I know many who have had problems with this. And it is still not clear to me what BLVD63 is doing there. It should also be mentioned that the security precautions are not the best. For example, the front door was not locked for weeks, meaning anyone could walk in and out. Nevertheless, I would choose the BLVD again. It feels like living with all of your best friends and always making new ones.
San Diego State is a very special university. First of all, the campus is gigantic . Really, you will definitely get lost for the first few weeks. The architecture is beautiful and in general the campus is so inviting that you almost forget that you should study here.
With its huge gym, pool area (for which you get a free membership as an ALI student), food court, three Starbucks, art department store, book store (where you can find EVERYTHING) and not to forget, my favorite place on campus, the Koi Pond or as I call it: Turtle Pond.
Since I was spending a semester on my studies because of my stay abroad, I decided to take advantage of the extensive range of courses. Therefore, in addition to two computer science courses , I took a film course and a drawing course.
Unfortunately I have to say that I was very disappointed with the computer science courses. I took the CS570 Operating System at John Carroll, which in itself does not come close to the level in Germany and was only made unnecessarily annoying by the professor (numerous submissions, incomprehensible script that did not fit the exams). I would not recommend this course to anyone. I also took CS440 Social and Ethical Issues in Computing at Shawn Healey. When I think about the fact that these two courses are from the same subject area and you get the same number of credits for them, let’s just say that the level of difficulty really depends on the professor. There are no real guidelines, so for example you can only have one final in one subject and you could have 5 midterms in another subject in the middle of the semester. In general, the courses in the IT area are very crowded and I had great difficulty getting into the courses at the beginning. (Sometimes I was in 18th or 25th place on the waiting list) The whole department is a bit chaotic and you don’t really know who can help you. I’ve heard that the graduate computer science courses are supposed to be better, but I can’t really recommend the undergraduate courses. Check jibin123 to see more reviews from current students.
It looks different in the film and art school. The two courses I took there ( TFM322 Cinematography from Rich Underwood and ART100 Drawing 1 from Neil Shigley ) were very informative and I personally enjoyed them very much.
Special courses are offered for business administration students . So they don’t have the problem with the whole waiting list, but there are mostly other Germans, Danes and other internationals in these courses.
I was the only non-American in most of the courses, so I met a lot of Americans.
If you haven’t chosen the most challenging courses that require the most work, you have plenty of free time to explore San Diego.
San Diego definitely scores with its beaches (my favorite beaches are: Coronado & Ocean Beach).
You can also go hiking a lot if you feel like it (Cowles Mountain (very close to SDSU), Torrey Pines, Potato Chip Rock and many more if you want to go a little further).
You can explore San Diego’s different neighborhoods (Ocean Beach, Downtown, Hillcrest, North Park (my favorite neighborhood), La Jolla ..)
In general there is always something to do or something and the university also offers enough free events .
You can also do a lot of road trips , of course. Typical destinations are: Joshua Tree Park, Salvation Mountain, Death Valley, Los Angeles , Tijuana and Rosarito (Mexico).
A little further away there are two of my highlights: The whole canyons and national parks in Utah and Arizona (Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, Grand Canyon ..) and probably my favorite place: Yosemite National Park.
We drove seven hours north Thursday night after my midterm just so we could spend 2.5 days in Yosemite. And it was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. The place is really something very special and I can only recommend it to everyone. Don’t just drive to Sequoia, but accept the extra hours of travel.
I rented a car from Dirt Cheap Car Rental with my roommates for the entire semester. It costs $ 400 a month, a little cheaper if you rent it directly for the entire time.
I can only recommend it to everyone because it is really difficult to get around San Diego without your own car. Hardly anyone uses public transport as it takes forever to get to your destination. Therefore, most people use Uber or Lyft, which can be very expensive in the long run and especially for longer distances. In addition, of course, you are much more flexible with the car. So we had the opportunity to go to the booth as often as possible and watch the sunset (oh, the Californian sunsets!) In all kinds of places.
Unfortunately, the car is only valid in San Diego, which means that you have different tariffs for longer distances. So we had to rent a different car for each of the road trips. For this, Dirt Cheap Car Rental also has good prices, especially for under 25s, the prices are unbeatable, because you usually pay extra.
I didn’t have any really bad experiences during my stay abroad. However, I have to say again that San Diego is really not the cheapest place to study and live. The rents are expensive and especially the groceries. Fresh food such as fruit and vegetables are significantly more expensive than in Germany, as are dairy products. It’s a little terrifying how expensive it is to cook healthily, which is likely a problem across America. And how cheap fast food is in comparison.
You should definitely plan at least 15,000 euros for the entire stay. ( Tuition , rent, flight etc etc) If you start saving early enough and look around for scholarships , this is feasible and it is definitely worth it.
My semester abroad at SDSU was pretty much the most exciting and wonderful time of my life and I don’t regret my decision for a second. If I could do it all over again, I would do it.