I have often toyed with the idea of doing a semester abroad . I came across your website t by chance and my dream came true .
In the third semester of my studies, I completed my semester abroad in the United States of America . I decided to go to California State University in San Francisco because I have vacationed there several times and this time wanted to see what life is like there. In addition, the tuition fees are relatively cheap compared to the other universities in North America .
The application process went very quickly, first I submitted my complete application documents to your website and I received the acceptance in about 2 weeks. After that, I had to take care of my visa , passport photos, etc., and this went smoothly and quickly (but you should make an appointment at the American consulate as soon as possible).
Before starting my trip, I applied for an international driver’s license and an international student ID. I wasn’t worried about the accommodation as I have relatives there. However, I have spoken to others about the subject, who recommended that the fastest and easiest way to find accommodation is through the Facebook groups.
The course selection took place on site, at my university it is called course crashing. This means that you make a list of which courses you want to attend, but you wait until a certain time and then you can register for the courses and first the places are taken from the students who live there, then we are allowed to register.
In advance, I looked at the courses at my home university with my university director and listed them. Unfortunately, my problem was that I only wrote down 4 courses and afterwards it became problematic because one course was fully booked and I had to go back to Germany to find out which courses I might still be able to take. Therefore, my tip is that you should have more courses to choose from and that you should also take all courses at the beginning so that you know what the subject is and what the professor’s behavior is.
- I would also recommend you to open an account with the US bank . The bank is on campus and you can open a free account and also get a credit card. So you can shop anywhere without any fees, as you usually have to pay fees with a German credit card.
- Make your breakfast at home, as it becomes very expensive in the long run to have breakfast outside every time.
- I have put my schedule and the courses all over two days: Monday and Wednesday. So I had a lot of free time and only went to university in two days. You are also very flexible when it comes to choosing a course .
- There is a paid gym at the university, but mostly in the apartments that you live in there are free gyms that you can use as a resident.
- There are a lot of water dispensers at the university where you can fill up your water bottles free of charge, so I recommend you buy a water bottle.
- Be sure to bring your laptop , as a lot of homework etc. is done on the laptop. If you don’t have one, you can borrow one from the library free of charge, recommendation here: The early bird catches the worm.
- Most professors require that you use books , you have to buy them yourself and you cannot borrow them from the library. I recommend buying the books cheaply on sites such as Chegg etc. or renting them for a certain time, as the books are very expensive, usually around € 100-€ 200.
- There are many clubs or brotherhoods and sisterhoods that you can usually join for a fee. They do a lot together. If you are alone and don’t know anyone yet, you can join there.
- Always do your homework diligently, as this is limited to a certain point in time and you can win a lot of extra points as a result.
- Form study groups with your fellow students, this not only improves your English, but you also share your knowledge with each other.
- There are free shuttle buses in the university and the forms for the exams are also free of charge, ask your contact person.
- I paid € 20 for my international student ID, this is not necessary as you will receive a student card from the university on site.
- Don’t just focus on the university, enjoy your time there too. San Francisco has many beautiful sights such as Alcatraz, Palo Alto, Santana Row, Icecream Museum, Beaches, City, and shopping centers. But the other cities such as New York, LA , Las Vegas etc. are also very beautiful.
Last but not least, if you don’t have a good command of English, don’t be ashamed. In San Francisco the people are very friendly and nobody pays attention to the grammar or the dialect, the main thing is that you understand each other. The people there are very friendly and polite. And I am very happy that I had this experience . I have learned a lot in these six months and am even considering doing this experience again.