Application and organization:
The application process for the “Semester at SDSU” program was fairly straightforward – a couple of application forms as well as the mandatory visit to the American consulate to obtain a student visa. On site it was only necessary to pay the tuition fees, which are very substantial for “Semester at SDSU” students. It is advisable to transfer this from Germany in advance. There are additional fees for international transfers, but you save potential complications with credit cards, which can often be difficult to resolve remotely.
In the two semesters that I studied at SDSU, I was able to gain both experiences – life on and off campus. Both solutions had their advantages and disadvantages. Life on campus (in the “Piedra Del Sol” apartment complex) was of course comfortable, as you could walk to any of the lectures in just a few minutes. Sports, leisure and dining options were also in the immediate vicinity and the fully furnished room saved unnecessary costs and effort. However, the rental price (almost $ 800) was quite high, the roommates were randomly thrown together (fortunately for me, a stroke of luck) and the unit apartments lack individuality. My accommodation away from campus was also within walking distance (15 min. ) to the university in the middle of the college area and thus had an equally comfortable location. The advantages compared to life “on campus”: More individual, cheaper and you could more or less choose your roommates yourself. The biggest downside – finding furniture, which, despite IKEA, can be costly. It is therefore difficult to come to a clear conclusion. However, I can recommend students who are planning two semesters at SDSU to try both housing options in order to gain as many different experiences as possible.
Before you can start studying at the SDSU, which is very appealing overall, you have to get through a somewhat unpleasant part as a “Semester at SDSU” student – the “crashing” of the courses (ie looking for free places in the lectures) . To make it easier for foreign students, the ALI (American Language Institute) itself offers a number of courses that are interesting for many semester students. Nonetheless, I would recommend taking regular SDSU courses instead of the ALI courses, as you are in the real climate of an American university instead of other foreign students. This should be at least one of the reasons why you decided to study in San Diego and the SDSU courses are also preferable for your own language development. Nevertheless, the ALI is the central contact point for questions and problems for semester students and the employees are very concerned about the well-being of the students. The SDSU is focused on undergraduate courses and has (at least in my fields of American literature and history) a wide and interesting selection of lectures. You quickly notice that there is a different atmosphere in the lecture hall than at German universities – a more relaxed approach to the lecturers, as well as somewhat more school-based learning, including many opportunities to collect “extra credits”, which you should definitely use. Otherwise, as at German universities, there are more intensive learning times (shortly before the midterms and finals) as well as phases in which one can devote more time to leisure time. The difficulty or the level of the courses varies of course depending on the course chosen and the instructor. Personally, it was a good strategy for me to choose three 400 courses and a somewhat more relaxed 100 or 200 course. In addition to studying, there was also time to get to know San Diego and other places in California better.
You don’t need to waste a lot of words about your leisure time in San Diego – sun, beach and sea! You can design your leisure program accordingly. There are numerous water sports (surfing, wakeboarding, etc.), a wide selection of beaches and of course a great nightlife. When it comes to partying, there are roughly two options – private parties on campus / in the college area or a walk (more like a ride) to one of the numerous bars downtown (a little more expensive) or in Pacific Beach (San Diego’s party -“Mile”). It should be noted that access to the bars and the purchase of alcohol is only permitted from the age of 21 (no chance for exceptions). You should also get a California driver’s license (easy and cheap), if you don’t want to take your uncomfortable German passport with you every time you go to the bar. Nearby San Diego are also worth seeing: Santa Monica, Las Vegas and San Francisco (a 10 hour drive, which is very worthwhile due to the great route). To explore San Diego or the surrounding area, to get to know better and to have an interesting time, you definitely need a car, because public transport is an absolute deficiency in the city. Nevertheless, a semester abroad at SDSU is a perfect choice for everyone who loves a warm climate, beaches, parties or simply the American West. To explore the area, to get to know better and to have an interesting time you definitely need a car, because public transport is an absolute deficiency of the city. Nevertheless, a semester abroad at SDSU is a perfect choice for everyone who loves a warm climate, beaches, parties or simply the American West. To explore the area, to get to know better and to have an interesting time you definitely need a car, because public transport is an absolute deficiency of the city. Nevertheless, a semester abroad at SDSU is a perfect choice for everyone who loves a warm climate, beaches, parties or simply the American West.