Hm, California, the dream of many. Good weather, lots of beaches, great cities… But which university should I choose ??? This is exactly the problem I faced exactly nine months ago.
As you can read in most of the field reports, it is usually sufficient to apply six months in advance. For me, on the other hand, it was a very spontaneous decision, I wrote to Collage-Contact three months before the start of the semester at San Jose State University. Thanks to the great support from Collage-Contact, I myself managed to get a place at the university in three months and to take care of everything organizational. A tip to you: Better do it beforehand, three months are short and you will have a lot to organize. To those who are late: no problem, don’t give up, you can still get everything done in 3 months.
You can find all application documents on the Collage-Contact homepage. These can be filled out very quickly. In addition, you need a TOEFL test as an admission requirement at the SJSU, in which you only have to achieve 71 points. I had prepared for it for a month. If you fail the test, you can also take it on site at the SJSU. In addition, you need an appointment at the American embassy for your visa. It is best to make an appointment here as early as possible, as longer waiting times can be expected.
For those who want to have courses credited, I can recommend the following. Either you inform yourself about the course offers on the homepage of the SJSU before going abroad and then write to your German professors with the request for recognition. The disadvantage here is that you cannot be sure that you will actually get these courses at SJSU. The local students have priority when choosing a course, ie they choose the courses online before the course starts, while we can choose the courses from the first week of the course start. For this we need the professor’s signature that we can also take part in the course. If you are unlucky, the courses are already so overcrowded that you can no longer attend. As a rule, however, the foreign students get the courses they want. This is, how it went in my case. When you receive the courses, you will receive a syllabus for each course. A syllabus is a detailed course description of the course content. As a rule, you will not receive this on the SJSU homepage, but only when you participate in the course. You can then send this to your professors in Germany and ask for recognition. Many SJSU professors also have their own websites where you can download the syllabuses of their courses. The best thing to do is simply google the professor. Read more student reviews on Iamaccepted.
Campus Village: Here you live directly on the campus. The Campus Village is the second most expensive option, but one of the best for getting to know other students. Here about 6-8 students share a flat share, each with two or single rooms. The shared apartments are usually very dirty and also overpriced. But the advantage here clearly outweighs the fact that you are among people, can get to know people quickly and also live directly on campus. Conclusion: Expensive, dirty, a good way to get a hold of American students.
International House: Is the most expensive option, but also one of the best for getting to know people. The international students are accommodated here, there are many activities, the students are very nice and looking for contacts, new friends and a good time and the rooms are very clean. If money doesn’t play a major role, I would recommend the I-house. Conclusion: Very expensive, but best to get to know people, great activities (excursions etc.)
An apartment or room that you find yourself. The best way to do this is to write to the contact person at SJSU and inquire. They mostly know people who rent rooms to students. Tip, always try to trade with the prices, because these are usually very high. You can also search on www.craigslist.com yourself. In the meantime, you may need to stay at the hotel. We recommend the Ramada Limited, which rent out cheaper rooms to students and are very close to the university. An apartment or a room is probably the cheapest option, but sometimes it is also very impractical because the rooms are often further away from the university and you have to take the bus or it is difficult for you to meet people. Under $ 600 you’ll be hard pressed to find something.
Here are two important comments on my part: The bus system is very poorly developed, since the Americans do everything by car and only the poorer class uses buses. So it is sometimes difficult to participate in the student life in downtown. Furthermore, the American students are very busy, as most of them work a lot on the side. But it was also generally very difficult to get in touch with American students at the SJSU. Most of the students at SJSU are also very young, between 18 and 20 years of age. Conclusion: cheap, but difficult to get to know people.
As mentioned before, you will be taking a lot of courses in the first week, hoping to get the courses you want. You have to take a total of four courses in order not to lose your visa status in the USA. You don’t have to take these four courses at the university. You can also choose so-called SAL courses. These are for foreign students and teach speaking, writing, reading skills etc. You can get these courses without any problems. So it doesn’t matter if you can’t get all of the university courses because you can then choose Sal courses. You will get all of this explained in the introductory week. Uni courses are $ 150 each, Sal courses are free. As a rule, the university courses are really not particularly demanding. I have chosen business administration and economics courses, which I could also have credited and these were really quite easy in terms of level. The only disadvantage is that you have to do a lot more for university in the USA than in Germany. Homework, homework and usually three midterms. And everything counts in the final grade. Oh yes, there is also a compulsory attendance, which is checked or not depending on the professor. The SAL-Prof’s, on the other hand, always carefully check the presence. I had three university courses and the Sal course writing communications. In retrospect, I would have preferred to choose four university courses, as the SAL courses required a lot more work than the university courses. But you get to know very nice, open-minded and international students (in contrast to the Americans). The SAL-Prof’s, on the other hand, always carefully check the presence. I had three university courses and the Sal course writing communications. In retrospect, I would have preferred to choose four university courses, as the SAL courses required a lot more work than the university courses. But you get to know very nice, open-minded and international students (in contrast to the Americans). The SAL-Prof’s, on the other hand, always carefully check the presence. I had three university courses and the Sal course writing communications. In retrospect, I would have preferred to choose four university courses, as the SAL courses required a lot more work than the university courses. But you get to know very nice, open-minded and international students (in contrast to the Americans).
San Jose is in a great location. San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Los Gatos and great beaches are close by. National parks, Highway No.1, LA or Las Vegas can also be easily reached by car. That was the reason I chose San Jose. But here I can only give you the tip, buy a car. Only Santa Cruz and San Francisco are easy to get to by train or bus, but even here, with poor public transport, it means you will lose a lot of time. In retrospect, I would buy a car because, as already mentioned, everything in the USA is based on being able to get there by car. There is so much to see and do around San Jose, great places, cities, beaches that you cannot reach without a car or rental car. Regarding San Jose itself, I have to say that I am very disappointed. I found San Jose terribly ugly, there were homeless people everywhere and there wasn’t really any good nightlife scene like bars, discos or just nice cafes. The only nice thing was the university itself, the great shopping malls and of course the amazing surroundings around San Jose. Personally, I wouldn’t choose San Jose in retrospect.
I really hope I was able to help you with my report and I wish you all the best in your search. All I can say is, I fell in love with California and I had a great time. It’s a great country and it has so many great travel destinations to offer. You are sure to have a great time in California.