My semester abroad at San Jose State University was an unforgettable experience and I recommend a semester abroad to everyone.
It all started with the organization for the stay abroad in the USA. Personally, I found this organization very complicated and associated with many hurdles. Your website has helped me a lot with that. I kept track and always knew which step was next. That was very, very helpful! Despite this support, however, it is very difficult to have all the documents together. Therefore, you should decide early on for a university abroad and start organizing all the forms at an early stage so as not to get stressed. Auslandsbafög should be applied for because the semester at the SJSU is very expensive if you don’t get an Auslandsbafög.
For international students, studying at San Jose State University begins with an introductory week, so you are on campus before the American students come back from vacation. The introductory week is very helpful, you get to know all the other international students. But you also learn a lot about recreational opportunities in and around San Jose. In addition, you will also be given information about the program at San Jose State University and how you can take the courses with the so-called Course Crashing. Here you go to the respective professors in the first official week of lectures and ask whether you can still be included in the course. It is very important that you have selected several courses from the course catalog in advance, as you do not necessarily get into every course. I had to take 4 courses and had chosen 10 courses, so it was very easy for me to get four courses that I like. In addition, during the introductory week you can write an email to the professors in advance and ask how full the course is. I have already received an acceptance from some professors, others write rejections directly and some say you should just drop by on the first day. When choosing a course, it is also important to know exactly why you want to take the course, as some professors ask for it.
The iGateways Office is responsible for looking after international students on site. The employees there are very nice and super helpful, so as soon as you should have any problems during your time in San Jose, the employees of the iGateways Office can actually always help you.
After this introductory week, the semester officially begins at the SJSU. Don’t be surprised, because the campus is filled with hundreds of people from one day to the next and everything is incredibly hectic. But it’s a lot of fun to see all the clubs and organizations that want to recruit new members. You should also take some time here and take a closer look at the clubs and organizations. There is something for everyone and you can make new friends very quickly.
In my opinion, studying in the USA is very different from German universities. You have 2-3 midterms per course and a final exam. Depending on the circumstances, there are also tests, lectures or term papers that have to be worked on during the semester. Most of the time, the midterms consist of multiple choice questions or short essay questions and the term papers are only a few pages, so the workload is not too much. In addition, all of my courses worked with books that you had to buy at the beginning of the semester. But here there is the possibility of getting used books relatively cheaply. If you do not understand something in the lecture or you did not come along, you should let the professor know. The professors are very helpful especially when they know you are an international student.
Life in the city of San Jose is rather unspectacular. Even if the city has a lot of inhabitants, it is not a typical big city. Nevertheless, you have the option to go to San Francisco by train or to Santa Cruz by bus. I lived on campus in the dormitory. I would recommend it to everyone. I lived with 3 American women and I’m still in contact with them and will definitely visit them again! I also got to know many other people through my roommates and experienced “typical American student life”. In addition, 2 of my flatmates were also business students and were able to tell me a lot about certain professors and help me a lot with my choice of courses and my exams.
The public transport in San Jose is unfortunately very bad, so it can be that you spend a lot of time on and around the campus. If you don’t mind then San Jose is exactly the right university, on the other hand you should buy a car or study directly in a big city.
I hope my report was of some help to you.