With this report I would like to tell people who are interested in a stay abroad in San José about my experiences with the application process, studying and living in California.
At this point I would like to give your website a big compliment. The application process for the university is pretty straightforward. There are instructions for each university on sjsu.edu homepage, in which it is described in great detail how to apply for the respective university. These instructions helped me a lot to put together all the documents I needed and not to lose track of things. It is recommended to apply at least six months before the start of the semester abroad, which is also not wrong. It is also recommended to take the TOEFL test before starting the semester abroad.
I had the feeling that studying at the SJSU was not more difficult, but that it involved more work. During my studies in Germany, I was used to the fact that my final grade for a subject was only derived from the final exam. In San Jose, term papers and projects were offset proportionally in the final grade, although it must be said that projects and term papers were often weighted higher than the final exam. Another difference to Germany was that there are mid-term exams there. Around the middle of the semester, an exam is written, the grade of which is also included in the final grade. A big advantage of this grading system is the fact that you really deal with the material regularly during your studies. But I can also remember days when I sat doing housework until late at night. It shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you take less than four SJSU courses, you must also take English courses for international students at SJSU in order to continue to meet the requirements for an F1 student visa. The institution that organized these courses was called SAL (Studies in American Language). In the meantime the name has been changed to “International Gateways”.
The supervisors of the “International Gateways” team will help you with the course selection by actually sitting down with you and advising you on the course selection. They also hold an information session where you will be told exactly how to choose the courses. I would recommend you to contact the lecturers of your desired course immediately after this information event. This is particularly important because of the limited number of participants. Because the local students always get priority when choosing a course, so you should really meet with the lecturers and explain to them that you absolutely want / have to take this course. For me it was the case that a course was already full two weeks before the start of the semester, but when I explained to the lecturer how important this subject is for me,
Life / leisure
Life in California is relatively expensive. It starts with the very high rental prices. I completed the semester abroad with a friend from Germany, with whom I also went looking for an apartment during the first week. It was really difficult to find a decent apartment at a good price. The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in San Jose is $ 1200. Therefore, you should really team up with other students and rent an apartment together or look for a shared apartment that would take you for a semester. We were lucky that we met someone who rented us two rooms in his house for a very fair price.
What my friend and I also noticed was the very high food prices. We noticed that it was almost cheaper to eat out than to cook yourself.
San Jose is a relatively boring city with not very much to do. For technology enthusiasts among you, visits to Apple or Google are likely to be of interest. These companies are located in the neighboring cities of Cupertino and Mountain View. Otherwise, be sure to check out San Francisco and the smaller towns in the Bay Area. San Francisco is about an hour away with the Caltrain. Otherwise, it is really worth seeing the city of Santa Cruz and the beach of Santa Cruz, which can be reached in about half an hour by bus. On the weekends you really had a lot of time to do different activities. Therefore, you should plan a lot from the beginning.
The semester abroad was really worth it for me. Not only because of my studies, but also because of the fact that I made a lot of new friends in San Jose. It was the best time of my life and I am glad that I decided to do this semester abroad. I would like to thank your website for organizing this course. Everything went perfectly.