SJSU Exchange Program

SJSU Exchange Program


Even before starting my studies in Germany, I knew that I would spend a semester abroad. However, at the time it was unclear to me which semester was best for this and in which country I would like to have this experience. After a lot of back and forth and the stress of my studies, I decided to go to the 5th semester, because a stay abroad in this semester is best (also from the course plan). The question of the country of my stay abroad was cleared up very quickly when I found out that MicroEDU has a relationship with a university in California. After doing some research about the San Jose State University School of Art and Design and especially about the Interior Design course, I realized that no other university would be an option for me.

You should start planning your semester abroad at an early stage. So I made the first preparations in the 2nd semester by collecting the first information (with the help of MicroEDU). As a rule of thumb one could say that the preparations should be started one year before departure, as certain administrative procedures, for visa applications, compiling the application documents or applying for AuslandsBAföG (highly recommended even if you are not entitled to InlandsBAföG, you can get AuslandsBAföG) very much can be time consuming. The costs that arise before departure should not be underestimated.

For tuition fees ($ 4890), application fee ($ 100), credit fee ($ 600), SEVIS fee ($ 200), visa application fee (108 €), international health insurance (approx. 300 €), travel expenses (approx. 900 €) and any fees for one Proof of language proficiency, to name just a few items, is a relatively high sum.


On August 4th, 2010 a fellow student (who also wanted to study at San Jose State University) and I flew from Hanover via Amsterdam to San Francisco. Once there, a rental car was waiting for us, with which we drove to our motel in San Jose. We rented the motel for 10 days which was absolutely sufficient. We spent the first few days exploring the city and getting used to the new surroundings and cultural differences. Since, in my opinion, the Californians are very open and friendly towards other cultures, this was not difficult for us. Of course, we couldn’t wait to see our campus, classrooms, the American students and professors. So over the next few days we drove to San Jose State University more often; During the semester break, however, the campus is deserted as all students are with their families. Ultimately, we were only able to contact the SAL (Study American Language) office and clarify with the organizers of the language school there which courses we would like to take and whether we meet the requirements for these courses (language, previous knowledge, etc.).

But the organizers from the SAL office were always very helpful and patiently answered every question that came up, such as where to go to the nearest supermarket, which bank to open an account at, where to buy a mobile phone card, etc. I was very grateful that you had a contact person who could help you, especially in the beginning.


Since neither of us wanted to move into the student dormitory or the Internationalhouse, we agreed to move into an American flat share to ensure that we speak English actively at all times. So after we contacted the university, we started looking for an apartment. On the website you can find a lot of apartment advertisements and so we went through one after the other. The fifth apartment, which we then looked at, appealed to us very much. It was in close proximity to the campus, there were good shopping opportunities, eight other students lived in this shared apartment and of course the price was within our budget. If you are looking for a room in a shared apartment yourself, you should
Basically, one calculates $ 600- $ 800 per month for rent in San Jose. The student dormitory and the Internationalhouse are even a bit more expensive, as both are very close to the campus.


San Jose State University is located in the heart of San Jose’s third coarsest city in California. About 30,000 students are enrolled at the university. The campus is very big, you need about 15 minutes to cross it completely and even then you haven’t seen all the SJSU buildings, as some workshops and laboratories are located outside the campus. The campus itself has a fascinating eight-story library, a swimming pool, a swimming pool and a huge gym with numerous machines and fitness classes. In general, sport is very important there; For example, every homecoming game of the local football team (SJSU Spartans) was a state of emergency on the entire campus. According to Abbreviationfinder, SJSU is the abbreviation of San Jose State University.


The American education system is very different from the German one, which you should be aware of before starting your studies. I was a bit confused in the first few weeks and was very surprised at the beginning of some of the approaches. However, the system there is very easy to understand and I noticed that some things make perfect sense (e.g. pin-ups) others
less (e.g. daily homework). I already selected the courses in Germany, but I had to change some of them after consulting the professors, as they were not offered in the fall semester. Each professor draws up his own plan (the so-called syllabus), in which the goal of the course, as well as deadlines, possible costs, books or software that are required for this course is firmly prescribed. The number of people per course is usually limited to 20-25 students, which creates a very familiar atmosphere in the classes. Lectures, seminars and presentations are always held in the classroom. Basically, the course has a very school-like character with compulsory attendance and homework.

The professors are very friendly, competent and helpful. Because they are addressed by their first name, the relationship between professor and student is friendly and respectful, and the atmosphere during the seminars is very relaxed. However, one should not underestimate the amount of time required, because in contrast to Germany, the SJSU has two projects per project course (studio class). But due to the small classes and the longer and intensive support during the seminars, this is quite manageable. In the end, the grade is not composed of a thesis, as in Germany, but criteria such as attendance, punctuality, participation in lessons, homework, pin-ups and of course the final presentation are taken into account.
As already mentioned, everything reminded me a little of my school days, but after a while I found this system to be very useful and instructive.


California has a lot to offer in terms of culture and scenery. It is worth making small weekend trips to the surrounding area. For example, Yosemite National Park is located here
or Lake Tahoe just a few hours’ drive from San Jose. Personally, I liked going to San Francisco (about 50km from San Jose) on the weekends and exploring the city on my bike. Santa Cruz, the absolute surfing paradise, is only an hour’s bus ride from San Jose. Due to the immediate coastal location, it was very pleasant to go there on extremely hot days to cool off, or just to stroll through the beautiful city center. But San Jose itself also offers numerous opportunities to keep yourself busy in your free time. For example, you can spend a whole day in one of the huge malls, do sports in the fitness center, go to the pool, or just meet up with friends to have dinner in one of the numerous restaurants and bars. On long weekends you can explore more distant destinations in America, such as San Diego, Las Vegas, Los Angeles or Hawaii. So you never get bored.


The semester abroad at San Jose State University was exciting and educational. I met a lot of interesting people and made a lot of new friends. It was a very interesting experience to study and live in a foreign country, to gain new impressions and to get to know other points of view. You might think that five months is a long time, but once you get there, the time goes by way too fast. Personally, I can only recommend sharing this experience and tackling the “adventure semester abroad”.

San Jose State University Exchange Program

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