My first idea was a semester abroad in the Netherlands. Fortunately, I have spoken enough with other former international students and read these reports to make up my mind and do a semester at San Jose State. It’s definitely great in the Netherlands, but semesters abroad outside of Europe are also possible, as you can see! I hope my report helps you a little and makes you want to spend a semester at SJSU. But one by one:
First of all, a very big “thank you” to your website for always being helped quickly and in a very friendly manner! You only stand in front of a mountain a little when you start planning. A very good tip: start planning early! It also works at short notice, but that is a bit more stressful and possibly a bit more expensive because, for example, the visa takes a lot of time and costs a bit more as “express”. I was never really a fan of “ticking off lists” but for this semester I started doing it. One of the most important things is to keep an eye on all the deadlines and to know how long the individual authorities need for the respective piece of paper that you would like to have from them. Better to plan a buffer, because some things build on each other (there is a visa, for example only if you have a passport.) Another great help for me was and is my scholarship! It’s a lot of work, but it can make things a lot easier. I’m also not a high-flyer at the university and was rejected the first one, but luckily I tried again somewhere else and was taken. You can always use money for something as expensive as a semester abroad and the support is also very valuable. In my opinion, however, it is very important to really look for a foundation that suits you and to which you also fit as a student. All the searching, researching and ultimately applying takes a lot of time, but it’s worth it. Many universities also award scholarships for semesters abroad or internships to their own students and may have difficulties “getting rid of” the money. The chances of getting a scholarship are really higher than most students believe. As I said: I didn’t think I would be a scholarship holder either, but it really worked! All in all, however, the following applies to the preparation: Plan enough time, make a list and if you have any questions or ambiguities, it is better to call Aline more than enough. She is really patient and gives you great support! Plan enough time, make a list and if you have any questions or ambiguities, it is better to call Aline more than enough. She is really patient and gives you great support! Plan enough time, make a list and if you have any questions or ambiguities, it is better to call Aline more than enough. She is really patient and gives you great support!
There are three different options in San Jose. Directly on campus in the “Dorms”, in the International House or in shared apartments around the campus. The most expensive but also the most “convenient” way to organize is a room in the dorms ($ 800-1000 per month). The I-House is a little cheaper (I’m not sure about the costs anymore. It’s really very international and there are lots of great things on offer that you can participate in.) But I wanted to live in a shared apartment because I also work as a Foreign student wanted to study at the SJSU just like everyone else (I ended up paying $ 550 and had a really great, large room and a great roommate. Until I had that, I moved once in between because the first shared apartment really was that the exact opposite of great). It’s a bit difficult to really make friends in such a short time, but I would do it again. Especially because with a little luck it can get a lot cheaper. Basically it depends on what you want. Looking for a flat share is of course not that easy, especially if you arrive shortly before the start of the semester and, to be honest, there aren’t really many nice flat shares either. A bit of luck is therefore part of it.
Since I come from a small village and provincial university, the size really blew me away at the beginning. Although many say that the SJSU is by far not one of the largest. Stanford is not far away, unfortunately I didn’t make it there after all, but the campus should be really big and beautiful. The SJSU is located in the middle of San Jose and cannot be compared with a campus in Germany. Palm trees, enough green and the student life that is really important at American universities create a completely different atmosphere. That the sun almost always shines naturally also contributes to this. The “course crashing” also worried me a little at the beginning. But I got the right courses and after the first week I even changed my mind because a Prof. really excited and I decided to take a second course with him. I wasn’t crazy about choosing only courses that fit my specialization in Germany, so I was able to look a little outside the box. “Packaging” was actually my area of expertise, but “Introduction to Aviation” and sports courses are also very interesting. The professors also thought it was good and had nothing against a “non-subject” wanting to join the course. This can of course also be different in the case of very crowded courses.
If you like to get to know all kinds of people, cultures and opinions, then I can definitely recommend the Couchsurfing group in San Jose. For the first five days, when I was still looking for a flat share, I was “couch surfed” and so “got into” the group. You don’t have to sleep on other people’s couches! The group does many, many things and is always very open and friendly to new people. Ethiopian dinner, watching the Super Bowl or camping in Yosemite National Park are just a few of the many great things that I was able to experience with this colorful bunch of international students, interns and whatever else. You can simply write to one of them via the CS page. Unfortunately, you have to be invited to the FB page, but when the “hurdle” is over you will definitely not regret it and get to know people outside of the university! (In case all the new people from campus shouldn’t be enough for you)
I would do it again in a heartbeat! The best time of my life and the experiences are simply irreplaceable. The challenge of organizing and planning the whole thing alone. I wish you a lot of fun and say hello to the CS’ers!