Exchange Report - San Diego, US

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1 Exchange Report - San Diego, US My name is Clara Elmquist and I went to San Diego in the state California in the US. It was the first time there and I loved it! The time in San Diego has been great and for me the exchange semester was something you just can t miss when you get the opportunity. I was lucky to get a place at San Diego State University, called SDSU, which is a great school with a high reputation. As you already know the semester abroad is not just about studying, it s also about meeting people, seeing places and to learn to know a lot about yourself. Follow my journey; I arrived the day before orientation week and the orientation week is about meeting people, get prepared for school and feel welcomed in a new country at a new school. The weather was hot and it was about 30 C degrees outside. Before arriving you will get some paper sent to you in Sweden about the school and the program for the orientation week etc. The application for the school is kind of big with a lot of paperwork and formalities and off course the process with the visa but just take everything step by step and you will solve it. The contact with the school before arriving wasn t that good comparing with Stockholm University and some things you will kind of know just some days before arriving. So don t be to upset about late answers etc. The day before leaving I had to pick my classes back home over Internet. It s really a competition about the classes so be prepared before which classes you are going to choose. I thought that we exchange students were a step before everyone else, but when I had my time to pick classes at 12 am many of them were already full. So a recommendation to future students is to prepare to pick total different classes that you have in mind because they might be full. And it takes just minutes before they are filled up so be quick! Another thing I learned a little bit late is that all American students use a site called Rate my Professors and what they say about the teacher and their classes is often close to the truth.

2 Another important thing to know is that the first week you will be able to crash classes and ask the teacher if they have a spot for you. Many people drop classes and switch so there is a big chance that you will get classes that you really want but couldn t get from the beginning because they were full when you applied online. I didn t try to crash classes until one and half week later and I still did got some classes but there is a bigger chance to get the best ones if you crash a class as soon as possible. The classes at SDSU are different comparing with SU. The exams are often multiple-choice questions and the time is short. In one class we had 40 questions in 40 minutes that was hard! In some classes they do have more essay questions though. For me it was very different because I had five classes going on at the same time and in 4 months I had about 15 exams, 14 quizzes, 4 cases, 5 projects and 3 presentations. So that was a lot! But at the same time the exams is not that hard and don t demand as much studying as the exams here in Sweden. There is also more participation in the classes and you have to be there and participate in discussions and talk more freely. A lot of my friends had a lot easier classes and I have heard before that studying abroad in US is very easy comparing with Sweden, so I really think it depends on the classes and the teacher you choose. So check out Rate my Professors before. I stayed at a campus Villa Alvarado, so called VA and it was great because almost everyone I knew from the orientation week was living there and it was parties going on almost every night. We were living 4 people in the same apartment and you share bedroom with one other person. I lived together with a lovely girl from Turkey who became one of my closest friends.

3 In the other room there was living a girl from US and one from Somalia. The apartments are not the most fresh and light ones but for me who wasn t paying for the housing because of an agreement between SU and SDSU it was great. So I was really lucky and thankful for that. Otherwise the rents were rather high. The prices in US are lower then in Sweden because of a good currency and you will notice that fast food and the beverages is really cheap and the vegetables are rather expensive. When it comes to shopping it s really cheap and if you go to outlets you will find really good prices for brands like Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger etc. There are some good outlets close to Las Vegas if you are going there and it s also a good one in San Diego close to the border to Mexico called Las Americas. You will probably like me shop till you drop so don t bring to much things with you. The weather is changing though, it can be really hot in the days and much more chilly in the evening so think about that when you pack. I was mostly hanging out with French people but also some girls from Turkey and US and a lot of other countries. There is a lot of exchange students from all over the world so take the chance to get to know them and you will learn a lot about how different culture can be. And you will also have a new place to visit after your great experience in San Diego. In San Diego there is so many good places to be. You have beautiful beaches like La Jolla, Pacific and Mission beach. You also have to see Coronado, which is an island outside the city, and from there you can see the skyline, which is especially cool in the evening. In the city you have to visit Gaslamp Quarter for a meal and go to beautiful Seaport Village. Do some shopping at Fashion Valley, party downtown or at Pacific beach and eat a lot of hamburgers.

4 To - do list! Eat hamburgers!! (Inn-Out Burger, Habit Burger for example) Taco Tuesday Go with party buses Try surfing Go hiking, Potato Chip Rock Trail for example Watch American football/baseball or a basketball game Rent/buy a car or find a friend who has one (You will need a car when you are there) Having a dinner at Gaslamp Quarter Go to outlets (Las Americas in San Diego) Play beer pong American breakfast, including Pancakes, bacon etc at IHOP or similar places Places to see La Jolla, watch the sea lions, the caves and the beaches Coronado Pacific and Mission beach for surfing and Taco Tuesday Sunset cliffs Seaport Village The coastline, use Highway 1 Fashion Valley and Mission Valley for shopping and food Roadtrip to Santa Barbara + LA + Malibu + San Francisco + Las Vegas + Mexico

5 To remember Don t hang out with just Swedes get to know people from other countries Give tips at restaurants and taxis Often free fill ups of soda at restaurants Call your teacher by their last name and also say professor/doctor before that. Tax is not included in the price Share meals at restaurants (they are enormous) or ask for a doggy bag after Have fun and enjoy because the time flies while you are there Best, Clara Elmquist

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