I did a 6 month semester abroad at San José State University, California. I am happy to share my experiences with you, which will hopefully make your arrival and your life easier.
Starting 6-9 months before the intended semester abroad is completely sufficient (also for student loans, travel insurance, etc.)
The credit card pick as early as possible so that you can easily reach all fees online before departure and pay abroad. ( Student visa fees online, SJSU international insurance, etc..) According to AbbreviationFinder.org, SJSU is the abbreviation of San Jose State University.
I made the financial statement through Commerzbank because Deutsche Bank didn’t do that. You can borrow the required amount of the SJSU (for me it was $ 27,000) from relatives and acquaintances, scrape it together and pay it in. Commerzbank stamps the account statement and signs the financial statement for you, which you can pre-formulate ( MicroEDU has a template). Then you can pay out and give everything back again.
The request student loans completely as possible to fill (at Student Services Hamburg) and put together, then a pledge takes about 2 months. You have to pay the tuition fees and everything that goes with them quickly so that you can send a receipt to the student loan at the same time. Also write to the Bafög office that you have to take out the university’s international health insurance, but this is only possible 1-2 months before the start of the semester. The foreign student loan will only be paid out after you have sent the office the “yellow slip” filled out by the foreign university.
You can search for a room via Airbnb, share a flat share with other international students (search for apartments via Craigslist.com) or move to the student dormitory. For me, Airbnb was a cheaper alternative, also because I lived with my boyfriend. You don’t have to buy and dispose of furniture and other household items. For the student dormitory you have to pay the package price (for a 1 semester) in advance, which requires more savings, as the foreign student loan is only transferred 1-2 months after the start of the semester. If you decide in favor of the dormitory, you will also get another room and have to pay for it daily if you arrive earlier than the official start of the semester (and move-in date).
Class crashing : You choose your desired courses (preferably 6-7) and go to the first (!) Event. There the professor will ask at the beginning or at the end who wants to join the class (add the class). You then have to report and, if you are lucky and the class still has free places, you will immediately receive a code that you need to add the class online. If you are unlucky, the class is already full and there are a lot of people lining up, like you (was the case with me), you have to sign up on a list (be quick) and come to every next event and wait for someone If you exit or you move forward in the list, the professor will give you a code (usually there are only 4-5 places more). It also happens that the professor draws a lot in the first event. This is how you do it with every class, so prepare for a stressful week. Because only when you have 4 courses will you get the yellow slip for the student loan completed, which you then have to send to the office. To get this quickly, you often have to check it out in the International Office.
The process is like in school, you get homework, essays, papers, midterms and a final exam. If you stick with it, it is not difficult to get an A, but for the most part there is compulsory attendance. The books are a bit expensive ($ 50- $ 200), but you can rent books or buy used books. (Campus Bookstore) At the end of the semester, the books can also be easily sold via SJSU’s Facebook groups.
For $ 30 a month you can swim in the university gym and in the aqua center. The gym also offers multiple fitness classes weekly for $ 12 / semester. You can watch basketball and football games more often with your Student ID, which is definitely worth an experience.
If you set the schedule well, you have long weekends to drive around. Thanksgiving is a good time too, but the flights are a little more expensive. I got along well without a car. Greyhound (type of long-distance bus) is practical and inexpensive for travel within California. Public transportation in San José, San Diego, and Los Angeles was surprisingly good, and hostels are cheap and fun places to stay. For round trips including hotels I can recommend the tour bus company Tours4fun (sometimes you have to read the small print because of additional costs such as tips etc.)