Right from the start of my studies, it was clear to me that I would like to spend my compulsory semester abroad in the United States, preferably in California. In December 2007, I started researching universities on the internet and finally settled on California. I looked for universities near San Francisco, and I found it on your website: San José State University So I requested the application documents and I have to admit that the free service of this Website is highly recommended and reliable. Questions were answered as soon as possible.
Now here is a list of things you would need to apply when applying:
- Filling out the application documents
- Transcript of Records
- Financial Statement or Confirming Statement (Auslandsbafögamt)
- Payment of application fees and tuition fees
- (only possible via cashier’s check or credit card)
- Fill in the contact form
- Copy of the passport
- TOEFL at least 71 points (internet-based)
San José is about 50 km away from San Francisco. The university is located in the heart of San José and is not a large building complex in itself. The individual buildings are distributed throughout the city and every now and then you need 5-10 minutes to get from one lecture to the next in another building. The SJSU has around 30,000 students and the academic year is divided into two semesters, namely the “jumping semester” (January-May) and the “fall semester” (August-December). Even if you have to pay high tuition fees in contrast to Germany, you can see at the university that the money has been well invested, with the beautiful campus, the facilities and also the lecture halls are fairly modern.
For international students, the week of August 18-22 was an orientation phase. (Have campus tour, ID issued, select courses, etc.) Since you were an “Open University Student”, you could not register for the courses online, but go to the respective professors on the first day of the lecture and ask whether you would like to attend the lecture can. This was the hardest part of it all. So I can only advise you to look for as many courses as possible online, send the professors an e-mail in advance, in which you introduce yourself and explain the urgency of attending the lecture, etc. In the first week you should attend ALL potential lectures, so that you end up with enough courses. Sometimes a few professors would ask you to write an essay, for whatever reason you deserved it, to be able to take part in the course and what one could contribute to the event. You should also be prepared for something like that. Most international students only had 3-4 courses on average. As a “full-time student” with 4 courses, you were busy. A little tip for the selection: Marketing to the Pacific RIM (Jeff Fadiman), Internation Risk Marketing to the Islamic World (Jeff Fadiman), Macroeconomics (Jeffrey Hummel). Both professors are very good and, if necessary, very cooperative. The system in the USA is very different from the German universities and you have to get used to feeling like you’ve been put back into your high school graduation. There is therefore compulsory attendance at all courses. At the beginning of the semester you get a “Green Sheet / Syllabus”, which contains all information about the event. You spend a lot of time at the university because of the many projects, presentations, group work and on top of that there are homework and the daily “readings” and homework. The course is very time-consuming, but not too demanding in terms of quality compared to German standards.
In San José and the surrounding area there are many opportunities
to spend free time that you don’t have often . Lake Tahoe is only about 3 hours away. I also spent a lot of time at Santana Row. After the lectures, people mostly went to eat here, went shopping and went to the cafés. On weekends (mostly on Fridays) people went to the clubs in downtown San José. However, you should keep in mind that most clubs close at around 1.30 a.m. So it’s best to go a little earlier, although it’s a bit unusual …
You should also just explore the whole Bay Area, for example to Santa Cruz to the beach or to the Japanese Hot Springs or Hot Tubs & Spa, etc. Otherwise you spent the time going to the cinema, in amusement parks (Santa Clara) or simply in the many different malls. You never got bored there … Another highlight is, of course, San Francisco, where you can find the Golden Gate, Alcatraz, Pier 39, the Twin Peaks and Down Town.
Eating + Shopping:
The US is world famous for fast food … and it’s true. It is much cheaper to eat out
than to go to the supermarket and do your own cooking. Accordingly, most
students go a lot to Togos, Sbarro, Taco Bell, In ‘n’ Out Jhonny Rockets and many more. For those who are not that into fast food, I can recommend the Cheesecake Factory or restaurants like Gordon Beers, Loft and others.
Not only is it cheap to eat out in the US, but shopping too. Since the euro is worth more than the dollar anyway, it shouldn’t be missed.