Selection of the university
For my semester abroad in America, I chose San José State University in California. A fellow student from my university of applied sciences recommended this university in sunny Silicon Valley to me. After some research and a few tips on his part, I decided on the SJSU which stands for according to abbreviationfinder, as it is also called. It has a lot to offer in the field of interior design.
Pooh. . . The most difficult part of the whole stay abroad, but it is very helpful to prepare as much as possible beforehand and to do research. Besides, the whole thing is also connected with fun. A friend of mine had told me about a summer school in the USA, a scholarship from the Fulbright Commission. This is a 3-4 week summer school program with 50 other candidates who can get a taste of typical university life at two different universities on the east coast of America. Without further ado, I applied for it because it was in California right before my studies. I can absolutely recommend it. I can only advise everyone to get in touch with MicroEDU to get in touch, you always have a contact person and always try to answer every question. In addition, things such as visa applications and much more. explained. I can recommend that you start to deal with it 6-12 months before the semester abroad. Things like finding suitable sub-tenants can also take a long time. Applying for a scholarship, applying for passports, international driving licenses and health insurance for abroad sometimes take longer than you might think. Language skills are very beneficial, you have to show a language test for an American university; the TOEFL or a DAAD language certificate can do that. But you have to look at the respective university. A semester abroad is definitely associated with a lot of money. It is better to go to work beforehand so that you don’t have to rely on every penny on site.
Binghamton (Fulbright Scholarship)
A few more brief information about the Summer School Program at Binghamton University. 25 people were chosen to take a look at everyday American university life in New York State for 3. 5 weeks. We spent the first four days in New York City. Sightseeing included. Then I went to Binghamton, which is in the state of New York, for 3 weeks. For 3 weeks you will experience everyday university life, you will be taught in 2 subjects and experience a lot in the USA. My group was also in a great mood, so there were never any arguments. You also live there on campus. A small note in between, the 3. 5 week stay in the USA was completely taken over by the Fulbright Organization. Flights, meals, accommodation and a little pocket money on top of that. Really amazing, it takes a lot of effort if, like me, you want to stay in the US straight away and then start your semester abroad in the US at another university. You have to apply for two different visas and in the worst case, as it was with me, you have to apply as Canada or Mexico are left in order to activate the second visa but it was worth it!
San Jose State University
San José State University has more than 30,000 students and a beautiful, clean campus with its own pool area that is great for lunch. The professors are very friendly and are often approached via DU. It’s more of a school relationship. As a rule, 4 subjects are taken, whereby one or two subjects can also be swapped with a language course. Courses are set on site, but you should be quick, as some popular courses can be occupied quickly. My schedule consisted of an English grammar course, a history course on modern architecture and two project-like subjects. I thought it was a good mix. Four subjects are enough to be able to experience something from the country, so you are not so stressed about time.
Living with a host family
In my opinion, having a lot of contact with the Americans is an absolute must. This is the quickest way to learn culture and language. My first thought was to move into an American flat share, but you quickly realize that this is easier said than done. It is therefore helpful to take care of apartments as early as possible, as this can take a long time to find something suitable, which of course also fits the budget. I also very much underestimated that. After many detours and some interesting experiences, an incredibly friendly family had agreed to let me live with them. A great experience. I had talked to a few people who are also responsible for living on campus (CVB). If you are financially a little more fluid, a good choice, you are right where the action is. Usually four people share apartments, often with their own room. However, I have to say that around $ 900-1000 was just too much money for me. There is not even food included and the furnishings are rather spartan. A very good choice for getting in touch with typical American college life. The prices for groceries in America are unfortunately a bit more expensive than here in Germany, so you should also plan.
Fortunately, the visa allows you to stay in the USA for 60 days after completing your studies. Which I mostly used to travel since my father came to visit me for three weeks. A great experience. Country and cities simply have to be got to know better. The USA has a lot to offer in terms of landscape. The Grand Canyon was definitely an absolute highlight, a must in my eyes. Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park and the coast were also very impressive. Unfortunately, I was a little disappointed in the larger cities of California. They are big, loud, dirty and in the end they are very similar to a German city. But of course that’s a matter of taste. Definitely go on a trip, it’s worth it.
I’ve always wanted to study a semester in the USA and visit California myself. So I combined the two and can say that I have not regretted this decision. On the contrary, I enjoyed it very much. Enjoy the time, it goes by very quickly. Surround yourself with English-speaking people as often as possible, as you depend on learning English. That was my goal. On the whole, I look back on the 6 months with a lot of positive experiences and can only recommend it to everyone to decide on a semester abroad.