The semester abroad at SJSU more than met my expectations. On the one hand, I’ve had the experience that the people there are incredibly nice and helpful. This is especially true for the students on campus: You cannot avoid talking to fellow students. Most of them live “off campus”, however, so that keeping in touch is sometimes difficult because they come from Santa Cruz and the surrounding area. That’s why it was good to live in the dorms on campus. I spent the four months in Campus Village and got to know most of the people there, which as I said wasn’t a problem. Campus Village is a newly built dormitory (has existed for about 2 years) in which there are shared apartments of different sizes. The rooms are not exactly huge, but perfectly adequate.
The Village Market integrated in Campus Village has the basic groceries, including subways and Starbucks.
In general, the campus is great. There is a swimming pool that cools off after university in the hot summer, a fitness studio that offers a balanced sports program for very affordable prices, an event center in which well-known bands regularly give concerts (also for student prices!), The students Union, with the food court, a bowling alley, pool tables, table tennis, … If you’re bored on campus, it’s your own fault!
Of course you can’t miss the football season. At the beginning of the semester, upon presentation of your student ID, you were given a T-shirt from the Spartans, the SJSU football team. A football game like this is an absolute spectacle. Shuttle buses organized by the university then take them to the stadium, which in my opinion is really impressive. The whole game is a huge party, there are a lot of students from the university. So you meet one or the other there again. You don’t have to worry about food, you can get food and drink there. Oh yes, as an SJSU student admission is of course free;)
During the game, the band and the cheerleaders provide additional atmosphere (there are also male cheerleaders …). After a game I won (I can’t remember a defeat in WS06 / 07 …) it goes onto the field. There you can celebrate with your “stars” who are not afraid of contact and who make their rounds through the celebrating crowds in a funny way … Really great. After the game, the shuttle takes you back to the campus. You can of course also go there by car.
SJSU is approximately a 10-minute walk from downtown San Jose. I found downtown very nice because the city center is centered and not scattered like many American cities. There is a park in downtown where events often take place. In August, for example, there was a jazz concert there every Thursday evening. Even if you are not a jazz fan, you should have done it at least once, it is very interesting;) From December onwards there was “XMas in the park” with an ice rink. It’s great when you do your laps on the ice rink under palm trees …
At first I had doubts whether the nightlife could keep up with the one we know here. Downtown San Jose has a variety of bars and clubs. Depending on your mood and budget, you will definitely find the right one. Everything in “walking distance” mind you. So there is no need for a car or bike. The only downside is that every bar and club closes at 1:30 am. At first very strange, but then you can still have house parties ….;) It is an advantage to be at least 21, because otherwise it is impossible to get into clubs or bars. Since WS 06/07 there is also an 18+ club, also in SJ Downtown, which really rocks!
The area outside of San Jose is also worth seeing. For example, Santa Cruz can be reached in about 30 minutes by car. This is the closest beach. Well, swimming can sometimes get a little cold. You can play volleyball on the beach, walk along the promenade or take a look at the “board walk”, a kind of fair. Surfing is also highly recommended. I did it there for the first time and discovered a new hobby …
It’s about 60 minutes by train to San Francisco, 45 minutes by car. It’s great to go shopping to SF on Saturdays. . or for the evening program …
An absolute must is Las Veags, which can be reached after an approx. 8 hour drive, suitable for a weekend trip to top up your stressed bank account;)
A car is only necessary to explore the area around SJ and if you want to / have to go shopping. There is a supermarket downtown, but the nearest Safeway is only accessible by car.
I continued my business studies at the SJSU. The offer is broad and varied. The courses “crashing” in the first week is a bit exhausting, because as an international you cannot register for the courses weeks in advance via the Internet. So you have to think about beforehand which courses you would like to take in principle (preferably 10 to have a choice, if you can enter) and then go to the first lecture and usually put yourself on the waiting list. In the next lecture you will usually be informed whether you will be there. I can only say that as an international you have a good chance of getting the courses you want, I was able to take all of them. So far, I haven’t had any major problems with the crediting.
The university system is a bit different than here in Germany. Exams are spread over the entire semester, but most of them are not cumulative. For the most part, you are also busy with projects. I’ve often found that annoying, but it really helps to understand the facts better. I also found the professors’ attitudes very surprising. If you have any kind of question, be it about the subject matter, homework or projects, you can go to the Office Hours, call them or write e-mails. A helpful answer is guaranteed, and fairly quickly. And yes, homework is regularly given in certain lectures. The handling is not like in school, but rather as an exercise for yourself. Whether you’ve done your homework or not, is not controlled. The exercises with solutions are given and if you still have problems, the professor is at your side with advice and action.
The class size is also different than here. In my largest course there were 50 people, in the smallest about 20. That may well be, because it naturally makes the lecture more intensive for the most part. But if you are not a fan of oral participation and therefore prefer the mass university, that is already unusual. Oral participation is included in the grade in some lectures, so you should find out in advance which courses this is the case. But you shouldn’t imagine in school that you will be attacked by the professor and that you have to answer questions. Nobody is forced or embarrassed before the course. Most professors want to have some kind of discussion round with the students on most topics, so as not to simply preach one-sidedly the material, but to be in interaction.
I enjoyed my semester abroad at San Jose State University. Although, as I said, you are kept busy throughout the semester, there is still enough time to get to know the country and its people, which is highly recommended. I can only recommend the SJSU!