Before you apply to San Diego State University, you should answer the following questions for yourself:
- Do I want to attend academically demanding events and develop myself professionally?
- Do I want to speak mainly English and only want to deal with locals if possible?
If you answered “no” to both questions, you can put the application in the mailbox. Otherwise I would recommend you to choose another university, but more on that later.
Iamaccepted is very helpful in planning for applying to San Diego State University. You get a to-do list, with the help of which you can regulate everything well. It’s a chunk of work, but manageable. What I found most annoying was the application for a visa, which really amounts to a first test of will, it is so bureaucratic and user-unfriendly. But if you have overcome this hurdle, the worst preparations are over.
Most of the students sleep in one of the hostels in downtown (Lucky Ds, American Hostel, Hostel International) for the first few weeks and from there they compete fiercely for the apartments. It is best to rent a car for this endeavor, because it is more of a cramp with public transport. My experience with DirtCheap has been good, and I’ve also heard bad stories about the company from other students.
Now you have to make a first important decision: an apartment on the beach (PB) or at the university? Your decision should depend on whether you:
- Have enough money to rent a car the whole time (+ the $ 160 for a parking sticker)
- Have a timetable that is driver-friendly Depending on the traffic, I often drove 50 minutes from Pacific Beach to the university (20 minutes if there was little traffic), so you have to weigh up whether you can handle it. Of course, four free hours in between are stupid when you’re at university. Some German fellow students followed the strategy that they put everything on two days, what kind of courses were not so important. They only had to go up to university on two days, which was pretty stress-free.
In general, you can expect about 650 euros for a normal apartment (on the lower level).
Taking the desired courses turned out to be quite difficult. In contrast to the Americans, the international students cannot register on the Internet before the start of the courses, but have to agree this personally with the lecturer in the first session. I found out that three out of four of the courses I wanted were already full. You are always a second-class student there, although you have to pay a lot. Because of this problem, I don’t think it makes sense to have the desired courses in Germany approved by your professor. 90% of the time, the course selection doesn’t work out as planned anyway and the work is free. To be fair, it has to be said that there were many alternative courses in San Diego that you could take in without any problems. Courses that were particularly popular were also offered again for the international students. In these, however, you only sat with “foreigners” (or 80% Germans). The level of the courses is very low and the workload is very high. Quantity instead of quality seems to have been a priority. However, this largely depends on the American fellow students, because they performed significantly worse on average (also in the courses with friends) than the international ones. In addition, they are significantly younger than the European students, which is why the very schooly teaching can probably be seen as a disciplinary measure on the part of the teachers.
Life / leisure
San Diego is a great place to be. A really great city with a lot to offer. Many bars and night clubs, many leisure activities (surfing (!), Diving, beach volleyball, hiking, skateboarding. . . ) and a very pleasant atmosphere characterize SD. The weather is actually very pleasant and makes the outdoor activities an all-round great thing. Unfortunately, life in San Diego is also very expensive. In addition to the extreme rental prices, the prices for food and celebrations are much higher than in Germany. When you stand in front of the beer shelf in the supermarket for the first time, you will probably get big eyes at the prices, just like I did back then. Even in clubs, for example, you pay around seven dollars for a simple beer, usually there are also entrance fees (and the taxi). All in all, expensive fun which is really fun in San Diego! I can especially recommend the Fluxx and Stingaree clubs.
Besides the “standard” destinations like San Francisco, Las Vegas and LA I can only encourage you to visit Mexico. Here it is a good idea to drive to Ensenada, about 1 ½ hours south of Tijuana, and soak up some Mexican serenity. It is best if you have got to know Mexicans (a lot of people from the TJ region live in San Diego) and let them show you their favorite restaurants / places. Mexico is a completely different experience than California, although right next to each other!
A semester abroad in San Diego is perfect if you have enough money on the side, do not have high expectations of the teaching, want to learn a little English but go to America for this reason, want to party a lot and are generally someone who does it very chilled and relaxed. Many Germans came to SD in groups, lived together, celebrated together and traveled around together. If you are looking for such a time, SD offers the ideal environment!