I can only advise everyone who has to / wants to do a semester abroad to go to San Diego – because this is definitely one of your best times full of party, sun, beach and of course university, but it is absolutely fantastic!
I applied to SDSU through College Contact. I would definitely recommend that to everyone because it saves you all the formal affairs with the SDSU, which is carried out by the nice and always helpful staff.
I applied six months before it started – I got a positive answer relatively quickly and was then able to start planning everything.
Due to the stay at the US university you have to apply for an F1 visa – you should do that in good time, because you never know exactly how long it can take with the American authorities. But normally you get an appointment at the embassy quickly and the visa is sent to you after about 2 weeks.
Fortunately, I had already completed the Cambridge Certificate before starting my studies – but no matter which language test you choose: plan some time!
When booking a flight, I would personally always wait a bit, as the prices of the airlines sometimes fluctuate a lot. In any case, I paid around € 800 (in high season).
In general, you have 3 options to take care of your living situation:
(1) In advance you can have a look at Craigslist’s rooms, apartments and houses (unfurnished / furnished) and get in touch with the landlords / roommates. I decided to do this because I just found that it would be more pleasant to come straight to your new home instead of having to sleep in the hostel first. Sure, you get to know a lot of people in the hostel, but you also do that during the semester. It also saves a lot of money and time, and the later you arrive in San Diego, the greater the likelihood that all good housing options have already been taken. The best thing to do is to move in with Americans, because unfortunately only German is spoken among Germans …
(2) You can also rent a hostel room and look for an apartment directly in San Diego, but as I said, this is time-consuming and costly and it can be good that the good things are already taken.
(3) The university offers students “on-campus living” – something I cannot recommend. You have to share a room, so you have almost no privacy and it is very expensive compared to what you can get off-campus.
The university is just a dream! The campus is amazing and I have to say that it was the first time in my life that I enjoyed spending time in college. There are many ways to enjoy the sun during breaks. The university also has the “Aztec Gym” which is free for us exchange students. They have very good equipment, weight and cardio and classes such as spinning, yoga etc. (arc.sdsu.edu) – I love this gym and it would be pointless to enroll in another off campus gym.
When you come to San Diego, you definitely don’t need to worry about the courses – they are easy to pass and sometimes even really fun.
In the first three weeks you have to “crash” the classes – ie. You choose courses that you would like to take and then go to the professor and ask him if you can take part in the class. Most of the time you get a yes, but sometimes also a no – but in the end you always have something that suits you! If this is not the case, you have these first three weeks in which you can see whether you like the course and stay or whether you want to get something else. But as I said, in the end everything is fine.
The course level is lower than in DE – the only problem you will have, however, is how small children have to be taken by the hand. Many professors check attendance (because Americans are required to attend in most courses and if you are absent more than once without a valid excuse, points will be deducted from the final grade).
You also get homework and have an average of 3 midterms. Exams that ask about the material of about 3 weeks of lessons. At the end of the semester there is also a final exam.
So I can’t say much about the city, except that it’s an absolute dream !!!!!! San Diego has everything you need for a great life! Downtown is amazing – for partying as well as for shopping and living. The beaches are beautiful and always worth going to.
Everywhere you go there are parties that are great!
To be honest, there is so much great things to say about San Diego that I don’t even know what to write about here: I’d rather tell you that you should start planning your semester abroad in San Diego, because it will be the best time ever.