San Diego State University - The Californian Dream

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1 San Diego State University - The Californian Dream - Take this great opportunity to indulge the Californian Dream & experience American Campus Life at San Diego State University (SDSU). You will gain memories and friends that will last a lifetime. San Diego State University by far exceeded my expectations! // Written by a grateful student from Stockholm University that has realized one of his childhood dreams, to study in USA! Introduction: Why I studied at SDSU? Since I was little, I have always wanted to experience how it is to study in USA and experience the American Campus life. I did not know so much about San Diego until I read about the different partner universities. I looked up San Diego State University and found that it was located on a perfect place. It takes 20 minutes to pass the boarder to Mexico and to visit Tijuana. By car it takes two hours to drive to Los Angeles, six hours to Las Vegas and almost twice as much to San Francisco depended on what road you choose. I quickly realized that SDSU s favourable location, climate and outstanding reputation, as a great entrepreneur school was the right choice for me. If anybody knows anything about entrepreneurship it s the universities in US and especially in California, where multinational companies have been founded and where people are chasing the American dream more than anywhere else. SDSU International Student Center (ISC) ISC is a great department that takes care of international students. They have a welcoming day for all new international students; they organize very good round trips in the San Diego area where you get the chance to do some sightseeing. I would recommend taking those round trips, especially in the beginning because then you meet other international students.

2 Housing/Accommodation There are several places where you can live in San Diego, but the most preferable places are close to campus or at Pacific Beach. My roommates and I found our housing at om/. We choose to live close to/on campus since we did not want to commute everyday. In retrospective I believe we made the right choice. Since the facilities that SDSU offers on the campus are insanely good. Many other students choose to live in Pacific Beach, since there are many bars, nightclubs and they can surf there everyday. The area around Pacific Beach is very nice but if you go by public transportation (bus and trolley) from Pacific Beach to SDSU it will take you almost 90 minutes, but you can make it in 15 to 20 minutes if you have a car. Probably you will rent a car with some friends and then it can be problematic if you have classes at different times and you share a car together. University Towers If you are planning to live on campus at the international accommodations that is provided by the school, (University Towers and Villa Alvarado) you should know that they have a strict alcohol- policy and that it is restricted to have friends who sleeps over. I would recommend University Towers before Villa Alvarado since its closer to campus ( ers.html). If you choose to live at the international student housing provided by the school you need to get a meal plan. It might sound quite bad with a meal plan but it s actually quite good since there are very much healthy alternatives to choose from on campus. You don t need to worry; you will not gain weight because you have a meal plan.

3 World Class Facilities on Campus The facilities at the Campus are world Class. The Gym, Aztec Recreation Center is enormous and you can find every machine you can imagine. There are as well an indoor climbing wall, three basketball courts and a room where you can participate in group activities. It only cost $18 a month and then you get free entrance to Aquaplex where you find a swimming pool, jacuzzi and a springboard to jump into the water. Sometimes the school s water- polo team play s a game in one of the pools. As a student at SDSU you have free entrance to all the different school teams home games. The Viejas Arena, which is the basketball arena, is really enormous and SDSU s team is really good. Make sure that you get your ticket in time especially when its getting closer to the end of the season and play- off. Furthermore, it is as well worth your time to go and take a look at the schools baseball team, but if you think that the team is not that great you can go downtown and see The Padres playing at PETCO Park.

4 Studying at SDSU There is no stress around campus, which means that it's a very nice place to study at. This has much to do with the prevailing Californian culture and mentality, which in influenced by surfing that is noticed by the relaxed atmosphere around campus and the people s personality. I studied 15 units, which in my case was five courses and that is quite a lot. The courses I took was: Managing a Growing Firm 3 units, International Marketing 3 units, International Entrepreneurship 3 units, Anthropology: A Cultural perspective 3 units and Advanced Composition For International Students 3 units. All my courses were running simultaneously during the whole semester and I had exams and papers to submit more or less during the whole time. The papers you need to submit are often made in group work of four people and they should never be more than 20 pages long (sometimes 10 pages) and you should use double- space when you write, which means that the teachers do not demand much writing from you. The pace in each course is much slower then I was used to from studying at Stockholm University, but even though I learned a lot. The theoretical foundations from which the courses are built upon are very small compared to Stockholm University. There is a big difference between the American school system and the Swedish one we are used to. The American school system emphasizes practical learning experiences, which means that you will discuss and meet companies with real actual problems. Furthermore, you will listen to quite a large amount of guest speakers from the business world and corporate life. What you need to take into account is that what I am saying is largely affected by the fact that I studied on the highest level at SDSU together with students who were taking their MBA(700- level courses). On the lower level courses it s not really the same. In order to take an MBA at SDSU you need to have an undergrad and at least two years of working experience. Since that was the case, my fellow classmates was between years old and that meant that the quality of our discussions in the classroom was very high since everybody had experience from working in different organisations.

5 It s obligatory to go to class and the teacher are very good at taking attendance and your grade will suffer directly if you are not in class. The teachers are very outgoing and talkative, which means that they are not the typical teacher that we students often portray as a typical research stereotype. The teachers often starts the classes with talking about what has happened in the world and what has been said in the news and what consequences that will have on business life. The premises are very nice from the outside but inside they are quite outdated. In quite many classrooms they don t even have a whiteboard instead they use slates. You are never to old to ride a skateboard in San Diego! A few things that are different 30% of all students are riding their skateboard on and to campus, which is very much concerning that nobody is riding a skateboard at Stockholm University % of the students are wearing clothes with the school s logotype (SDSU), which you can buy in the bookstore on campus. The people are characterized as being casual and not as formal as we are in Scandinavia. Americans are allowed to drive when they are 16 years old but not allowed to go out and drink until they are 21. A lot of people are smoking weed, but don t make any mistakes, its not legal.

6 Is it costly to live in San Diego? My rent was $600 per month, which could be seen as a bit expensive, but on the other hand the gym card only cost $18 a month. I would say that I spend quite some money in U.S. but it totally depends on how much you want to travel and how much of U.S. you want to see. I guess that the people who are studying at SDSU as exchange students are thinking that this is a one chance in a lifetime that they have, and that it will probably take some years before the go back. Furthermore, everything feels so close when you are in San Diego, six hours to Las Vegas feels suddenly very little. My Recommendations Rent a car together with your friends for the whole semester, you will need one! We got our car from You can take the trolley from SDSU to Old Town, and then if you walk meters you will arrive at Dirt Cheap Car Rental and they have student packages. When you are selecting or crashing classes you are creating your own schedule. Try to avoid getting classes on Fridays, because then you have more time to travel during the weekends. Take the course Anthropology: A Cultural perspective 102 with Matthew Lauer as a teacher. He is the best teacher I have ever had. You will learn a lot about the American society, modern societies around the world and what the problems are that we are facing and how we have constructed them. Matthew Lauer is a truly inspirational source! The time passes by Very, Very, quickly, there is insanely much to see, so don t spend your time sleeping. I recommend that you study during the week a lot, and travel and discover US Friday to Sunday. When you leave I guarantee that there is quite some things that you wished you had time to do or visit. There is only one true way of evaluating if an experience have been good and that is to say if you would do it again or not. I can honestly say that I don t regret my choice at all to go to San Diego. I am quite sure that I will in a near future travel back to USA and San Diego again! What I have learned My English did not improve and I guess the reasons for that are that my English was quite good before and since Americans do not write so much academically and mainly talk slang, you don t really improve if you already handle the English language quite well. Moreover, I feel that I have not progressed so much academically, but culturally and personally I have learned a lot. I have gotten a great insight into the American society, a deeper understanding of their perspective and now I understand our Swedish culture much better. It s very true that you can never fully understand your own culture before you live in another. The time I had in San Diego has been an invaluable and priceless experience in all possible and imaginable! Andreas Persson, Stockholm, August 2010

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