The preparation for my semester abroad took about 6-8 months. The longest phase for me was deciding which university I would like to go to. For the selection of the university, I chose the business accreditation of the university and the proximity to the coast as the basic criteria. After getting more information about the preferred universities, I decided to go to the San José State University. Get more student review on San Jose State University on maternityetchic.
Studying in the US is very expensive. Especially if you are not an exchange student.
You will have to pay roughly the following costs :
- $ 150 application fee
- $ 5600 tuition
- $ 1200 course fee (12 units)
- $ 615 Compulsory Health Insurance
- $ 360 visa
- $ 1000 round trip
- $ 7000 + Housing + Food
In addition, there are the costs for trips that you make, other expenses for transport, parties, etc.
I really wanted to live on campus so I could experience the “real” American student life. As it was stated at the time of my preparation for the CVA, CVB and CVC housing options that they are only possible for one-year contracts, I decided on the International House. For this I had to write an essay about myself so that they could decide whether I would suit them. In general, they are looking for a wide variety of personalities, the only important thing is that you are open to learning more about other cultures.
In retrospect, I found out that the other campus buildings are also possible for half-year contracts.
The decision to live in the I-House was the best decision I could make. 70 SJSU students live here with a wide variety of courses and characters. In the fall of 2015, the students came from 26 different nations (20 are American). There is one floor for women and one for boys, the rooms are for two or three people. There is a large bathroom in the middle of the floors. On the ground floor there is a TV room, a dining room and a formal living room. Due to the mandatory meal plan that everyone has, there is always breakfast and dinner in the house from Monday to Friday – but you can also go to the dining commons on campus. In the basement there is a kitchen, a party and leisure room (billiards, piano, projector, etc.), a laundry room and a study room.
In the beginning it was very strange to give up most of your privacy. But after 2 weeks I was happy to be surrounded by friends all the time. It is amazing how much you learn about other cultures and also about your own culture and personality through your time in the International House. I have not only found friends here, but a family.
Class crashing is a practice that does not exist for Americans and exchange students. It is very exhausting and is a big disadvantage for us, which I felt strongly. In the first two weeks I went to 18 different courses with the hope of getting an add code. In the end I luckily had 5 codes and was able to drop a course again, but in the two weeks I only stayed at the university.
Since you can’t be sure which courses you will get, you couldn’t buy any books and it was a lot of work to do all the assignments for each subject so as not to screw up the chance of an add code.
The courses I’ve attended are: Global Leadership, Professional Business and Ethics , International and Comparative Management, and Introduction to Marketing . I can really recommend the first three courses, in these I learned a lot that I will need in the future. The Introduction to Marketing, on the other hand, was very simple and boring.
In general, studying in America is different from what we are used to in Germany. In the US, you have tons of tasks to do all week. Many of these tasks are simple but very time consuming. We called it “occupational therapy” because some tasks really don’t make sense, but you have to do them to get the points. There are also many midterms for which the same applies and the finals are still being written in the last 1-2 weeks. Studying in the US is pretty much like school life, as there is mostly compulsory attendance and there are also oral grades.
San José is a cute city. You don’t get the feeling that so many people live here. Next to the campus you will find downtown, where there are a few bars, clubs and shops. There are also 2 large malls that are easy to reach with UBER.
Unfortunately, San José has a high crime rate. There are always e-mails about armed attacks on campus; a man was shot 10 meters from me in a drive-by; a trembling man with a gun in hand came up to me and my friends; several gunshots could be heard on a central downtown street.
The fact that anyone in America can have a gun just makes it more dangerous. Tips: Don’t go out completely alone when it’s dark. Move around the campus, there are emergency pillars to reach the UPD. If you’re still downtown at night, don’t go anywhere where there are almost no people.
Basically, I was able to walk to everything and used UBER from time to time. For trips almost always someone could be found with a car. Basically I see San José as a good starting point to see a lot of the west coast. For example, I went hiking in Lake Tahoe, Big Sur, Yosemite and also in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego.
I went to an opera and an ice hockey game to just get to know a little about American culture. As for going out, 4th Street Pizza (Bar & Restaurant) became our favorite hangout. The San José Bar & Grill and the Myth Club were also very good. Tailgates and football games are also not to be missed!
Unfortunately, only exchange students get free access to the campus gym and pool. I recommend the Fitness Evolution gym, it’s cheaper and not as crowded as the on-campus gym. And for the pool: If you have an exchange student with you, there is a discount on your entrance fee.
The semester abroad in the USA and living in the International House are among the best decisions I have made in my life. Of course it costs a lot of money, but for me it was definitely worth it. I made very good friends, gained a lot of experience, got to know more about myself and other cultures and saw a lot of the west coast.
If you have the chance to go abroad, then I advise you: do it! Time will be one of the best in your life.