my name is Philipp and I study economics at the Münster University of Applied Sciences. Like almost every student nowadays, the question of whether you should do a semester abroad, but rather only WHERE. At the beginning of my studies, a sentence from our dean stuck in my mind. He said that nowadays, as a student, you no longer stand out when you’ve done a semester abroad, but rather when you haven’t completed one.
Under this point I would like to suggest that you take care of the organization at an early stage. Especially if you want to apply for foreign student loans. This process is really tedious and sometimes grueling; However, it is very worthwhile if it is approved, as every penny can be used in the USA! 😉
My visa experience, on the other hand, was very relaxed. Copies of rental and home loan savings contracts were just a few of the documents I had made beforehand. Of course, you should bring all the documents that are required to the appointment, and inform them beforehand on the website of the US embassy! After the documents had been submitted, there was a discussion with an embassy employee about the background of the trip. Do not worry! It was a very relaxed and informal five-minute conversation and shouldn’t refuse anyone a visa.
Book your flight early and save – you wait in vain for last minute bargains! 😉
Once you have arrived in the land of unlimited possibilities, you can quickly feel overwhelmed by all the new impressions. However, since I had already spent the Spring Quarter in Santa Barbara, I was already in the USA. But there is also the possibility of the Amtrak train from all major cities to San Diego. I myself once drove from LA to San Diego for about 20 euros, so highly recommended … except for hauling the luggage.
In San Diego itself I looked for my apartment on Craisgslist on site, which I can only recommend … very stressful but you just have a better idea of what to expect and what you like … Description and reality are sometimes very different apart! Therefore, arrange viewing appointments and have a look. A rental car is therefore also recommended for the first few days, as San Diego is very spacious and, like almost every American city, has a poor public transportation system.
I can only recommend you to stay in Pacific Beach. Right by the sea and a very relaxed atmosphere with incredibly friendly and helpful people. There you meet a lot of young people and you can also have an excellent evening out. Another advantage is that the UCSD is not far away either. About 30 minutes by bus. Especially if you are a bit older student like me, you feel at home here because there are also “older” people! 😉
I myself lived in a great house with a Turk, a Spaniard, an Italian and an American. I can ONLY recommend a multi-cultural group! You will broaden your horizons and your language skills will definitely make more progress than if you lived with Germans.
But be aware that life on the Pacific in this great location has its price. $ 500-700 depending on the location is the rule. Of course, it depends on you how far you want to live from the beach, alone, in a shared apartment (only recommended), etc.
I would recommend a car to you in San Diego. There are sometimes very cheap long-term contracts at the university for several months. I tried it myself by bus and bike … but you quickly reach your limits and I was lucky that my roommates were very helpful and made their car available to me at any time.
Since I did an Extension Quarter at UCSD, I only took courses in this area. These courses are not located directly on the campus but in a small area. Courses for international students and professionals are held there in Art Barracks. The extension courses are mostly in the evenings and Saturdays. The level of difficulty is not particularly high, but I found the courses very instructive, as you often only sat in a small group and was taught very intensively and varied.
The staff are always friendly and helpful and we try to offer excursions. In addition, you are provided with a lot of useful information.
… SOME !!!
San Diego really has a lot to offer with incredibly great days and sunsets on the Pacific. Downtown offers ENORMOUS many opportunities to pass the time. You can attend sporting events such as baseball or football or hang around in the famous Gaslamp Quarter where a nice bar, restaurant and club are lined up
There are also possibilities for excursions like sand on the sea, since San Diego is very well located in California. Excursions to San Francisco, Yosemite National Park (definitely stay for several days), Grand Canyon and Las Vegas are just a few destinations that are more than worthwhile. In addition, you COULD go to Mexico … although almost everyone advises against it due to the high crime rate.
Nevertheless, with all the fun you should find out about the rules early on. The police are always ready and do not hesitate. An open beer on the street can cost $ 300-500 and at 1.30am it’s CELEBRATION in the bars and clubs! Without exception … very annoying! 😉
As mentioned, everything has its price, and it is not without it. All in all, a semester abroad in the USA is very expensive and would probably not be possible in my case without an international student loan. The rents are high and if you really want to enjoy this unique trip, a lot comes together through travel, accommodation and nightlife. In addition, food and the cost of living are generally expensive.
I can only recommend to everyone to complete a semester abroad, if you openly and warmly get involved in the new environment and the people, as in my experience you can have the best time of your life and fly home with many unforgettable memories. Just writing the report makes me wanderlust and would go back immediately!
Thank you very much …. Conclusion: Anytime again !!!! 🙂