I did my semester abroad at San Jose State from August to December 2011 and can only say positive things about it.
Starting with the absolutely uncomplicated application process via MicroEDU (many thanks again !!) to choosing a course and looking for an apartment.
The application process was very easy and every question, no matter how small, was answered super quickly, the communication with MicroEDU was really great and I felt very well looked after at all times, especially since you have some questions.;)
In San Jose itself you will be looked after by the SAL office, which worked really well.
The course choice also turned out to be less stressful than expected. I took four courses at the university. You can also choose English courses from the SAL office, but I decided against it because you have to do a lot for these courses and you also have classes on Fridays. Otherwise most of them had Friday off!;)
The so-called “crashing” courses was a bit tedious because you had to ask every lecturer whether you could take part in his course, but in retrospect it was okay.
However, I would advise everyone to write to the lecturers beforehand by email (the email address can be found on the SJSU homepage in the “directory”) and explain the situation in which you are.
I always wrote that I was from Germany, what semester I was in and that I urgently needed the course… it always worked out well! J
I found the courses themselves very interesting. I chose Film History, Visual Communication, Contemporary Public Relations and Advertising and all of them had great lecturers who were very helpful and always very friendly.
How much you have to do during the week depends, of course, on the degree program and the level of the courses. I had entry-level courses that did not require any prior knowledge and therefore had relatively little to do.
Some of my friends also had a lot to learn. Read more student reviews on Liuxers.
The midterms and the final at the end of the semester were all very easy to do.
It is important to have a look at the course catalog beforehand and to pick out all the courses that you would like to have. The SAL office then goes through the selection with you and you decide which courses can be taken and which cannot.
As far as the residential area is concerned, I chose the International House, which I can really recommend. I sure would not have had such a great time in San Jose if I hadn’t lived there. I made friends there for life and it was just a very pleasant atmosphere.
However, you have to be aware that you don’t have a lot of privacy for a semester. I have to honestly say that it sounds worse than it is. Because from Germany you don’t even know that you share a room, for example. But I had a really lovely roommate and so it wasn’t a problem. In any case, you learn a lot about other cultures and immediately make friends in the house.
You can’t really say much about San Jose itself, for the fact that a million people are supposed to live there it seems quite small. The city itself doesn’t offer much either and there is no real downtown like in San Francisco, for example.
However, that was never a problem for me, as there was always something to do, there was always something going on in the I-House alone.
You can get to San Francisco relatively quickly by train or by express bus in Santa Cruz. From the airport in San Jose you can also get to Vegas or LA and other destinations in the USA very quickly.
As for the cost, I have to say that it was a very expensive semester. Then there was the I-House (which, however, already includes food, as you have to book a meal plan if you want to live in the I-House).
A cheaper alternative to the I-House is definitely a flat share, but the transport links in San Jose are really not well developed if you live further away.
All in all, I can finally say that my semester was just awesome, I had the best time of my life and would do it again in a heartbeat if I could!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!:-)