I am a fifth semester student of the business administration and culture, leisure and sports management program at the Reinhold-Würth University in Künzelsau. I did my semester abroad as a “Free Mover” in San Diego , USA.
My dream of studying in the USA one day had existed for a long time. So I started planning about a year before departure. This is also highly recommended as it can take a long time to find the right university and get all the necessary documents. Fortunately, a fellow student made me aware of the organization “College Contact”. So I was able to find the right university for me on their homepage. In addition to the application , things like a credit card , passport, a student visa for the USA and accommodation must of course also be considered.
What is not to be underestimated are the apartment rents in San Diego. I found a flat share about two kilometers east of San Diego State University (SDSU) through “San Diego Student Housing” . This consisted of an American, a German, a Bangladeshi student and me. Since I shared the room with the Bangladeshi woman, I paid $ 625. The other’s single rooms were $ 825. These prices were still rather cheap, with most of the students paying around $ 1000.
The location was very good. It took about 20 minutes to walk to the university. However, I always took the streetcar, the “trolley”, because at the beginning of the semester I bought a semester ticket for $ 154, which is valid for buses and trains. The station was seven minutes away and within three minutes you were at the university. However, I would recommend an apartment west of the SDSU, as you would be between the university and downtown and the tram in this direction goes more often and longer.
In general, the transport links are poor in San Diego. It is best to get a car, but you can also do without it. There are three lines of the trolley. The “Green Line” takes you to all important places, that is to say to the university and downtown. You can get to the beach or even Mexico by changing to the bus or the other trolley line. The journey by public transport from the university to the beach takes an hour, whereas the journey by car only takes 20 minutes.
The cost of living in San Diego is very high. As already mentioned, the rent costs between $ 800 and $ 1200. Food and leisure activities are also more expensive than in Germany. However, this always depends on the current exchange rate. So for a semester in San Diego, including housing, living expenses, and semester fees, you have to calculate around $ 15,000.
The American course system is very different from the German system. The courses at the SDSU are divided into “Business Classes” and “General Classes” , whereby I took the “Business Classes”. The range of courses at the SDSU is huge. From sports courses such as surfing and climbing to entrepreneur courses with weekly guest lectures by successful CEOs , everything was there. I decided on the courses “Marketing” , “Human Resource Management” , “Management and Organizational Behavior” and “Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management”. The first three courses were only taken by international exchange students, while the latter was held together with American students. I would have preferred to have more courses with Americans, but for the internationals it is not easy to get into these courses because the Americans have priority and you have no guarantee that you will get the course. So I decided on the safe option.
I had 10.4 hours of lessons per week. 2.4 hours per subject. The standard in America is not as high as in Germany, but you have to do a lot more homework. It is more similar to the German school system. In the international courses there were three exams per subject (two “midterms” and one “final”) spread over the semester. These were always “multiple choice” and “true / false” questions. In the American course, I had nine tests and lots of group work, lectures and homework throughout the semester. However, this depends on the respective professor. The multiple choice tests in this course were carried out via an app.
The range of leisure activities at SDSU and in San Diego in general is huge. Especially at the beginning of the semester, there were events on campus every week where you could meet new people and eat free of charge. The SDSU includes a gym, swimming pool, bowling alley, park, museum and numerous dining options. So you never got bored on campus. Furthermore, all kinds of leisure activities such as water sports, climbing, hiking and excursions to the numerous national parks were offered. In downtown San Diego there were events almost every day that you could attend for free. “Taco Tuesday” was particularly popular, meaning that there were cheap tacos every Tuesday and cheap drinks in some bars. That was the way to celebrate Tuesday evenings.
Campus life / course system
It was a particularly positive experience to get an insight into American student life and culture. The campus was very impressive. With over 33,000 students, it was correspondingly large and resembled a small town. In addition, the course system is completely different from that in Germany. The exams are not written at the end of the semester, but every few weeks and there is a lot more homework. This was very interesting and challenging to experience.
Of course there are always negative sides. Unfortunately, I had no luck with my roommates. However, this can be done in any shared apartment. It was a challenge to take into account the different cultures in our apartment. Another point that bothered me was that too many German exchange students studied at the SDSU. It felt like you heard German on every corner of the campus. Overall, however, I am very happy that I did the semester abroad in San Diego and I don’t want to miss this experience .