Semester Abroad in SJSU

San José State University – in the middle of Silicon Valley

A little late, but now also my experience, which I would like to share with you.

California – When you hear about this state, the first thing that comes to mind is: Summer and sunshine. How was it really?

First a little bit about my background and why I chose the SJSU:

I was aware early on that I definitely wanted to include a semester abroad in my studies. It was also clear to me early on that California wanted it. Like others, of course I didn’t really know where to go at first. Because you have to keep one thing in mind – in terms of geography, California is about as big as the whole of Germany. Of course, this size carries with it a lot of diversity in terms of people, lifestyle, etc.

There are four main reasons for my decision to join the SJSU. According to AbbreviationFinder, SJSU is the abbreviation of San Jose State University.

  1. I have a lot of relatives over here with whom I can stay and thus save on maintenance costs. A luxury that most of them unfortunately do not have. The accommodation was thus taken care of.
  2. I have already been to San José several times and knew / know my way around there very well. Especially as far as the restaurant landscape is concerned, I fought my way through well 🙂
  3. The SJSU is the university that serves the large corporations in Silicon Valley with the most graduates. The possibilities to establish many connections for possible internships / jobs in the future are virtually endless.
  4. The location of San José. About 40 miles from San Francisco and Santa Cruz is just great. Also to Napa Valley, the famous wine region, where you can have a nice spa WE or something similar, is only about 1.5 hours away. Vegas, LA, San Diego can be explored nicely on Pacific / Highway 1. RECOMMENDED !!!

The SJSU is a large university with around 30,000 students from all disciplines. The most popular are BioTech, Engineering and Business.
The people there are cool. Professors are simply closer, more ‘touchable’ in contrast to Germany. Most of the time, courses are also in seminar-like sizes.
The system is a little different over there. It is up to you to decide whether it is easier. It’s just different. You usually have two midterms and a final, possibly quizzes every lecture, essays. The weighting is different for each course and each professor. You are very busy, at least if you really want to get the ace. But you have to say that the professionals are mostly really cooperative here!

If you don’t go to SAL and only take regular modules, FRIDAYS are always FREE! I thought that was great, mainly because I also laid myself free on Mondays 🙂

What can I advise you. Choose enough courses that are suitable for you. The course crashing like at any other American university is always such a thing. But the SAL Office will help you well. Go to the prof, say that you are Seniors and in your senior year, then in most cases you will come in. The SAL Office will also confirm it to you, even if it is not necessarily true;)

About the campus: quite large and in the middle of downtown San José.
If you have enough time, do a little research in downtown and you will see that there are some restaurants etc.

One drawback: Downtown is not great. Anyone who wants to shop there is definitely wrong!

To the city of San José

As mentioned, San José is in the middle of the SIlicon Valley. Anyone who imagines something like San Diego, i.e. beach and sea, is wrong in San José.
It’s a ‘work city’ in a way. There is downtown, but it’s not like big city centers like in Germany or NY or SF.
What defines San José are the small neighboring counties. There are some malls, corners like Santana Row to hang out on weekends and many many corners where you can eat and hang out.

And one more thing: For some it may be a culture shock: the Asian proportion of the population is extremely large in some parts. So don’t be frightened. You are not in Asia;)

But what you have to say is that there is an open, multicultural climate. This is often not known from Germany. It is normal to see a lot of people from different backgrounds.

My conclusion

I would do it all over again. I love the Bay Area, especially San Francisco. In most cases, the cliché that there really is no real winter is also true. For one or the other, San José may not be the city you have always dreamed of. It has its little pitfalls, but it also has its good points. As always, it always depends on the individual attitude and expectation and of course the taste of each individual.

Many consider LA, forgetting that LA is just super big. And traffic is just DISGUSTING. Like I said, I would recommend it to everyone! Get your own picture of Silicon Valley.

A couple of tips:

  • Get busy with the paperwork early on, especially BAföG. Definitely worth it!
  • If possible, buy a car. In the US, it’s really true that you are just a lot freer with a car. You can also do without, but you are sometimes very limited.
  • Buy a prepaid card
  • Maybe also join fraternities or other associations
  • Just inquire about everything, travel a lot!
  • Just have fun and enjoy it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PS: Many thanks to MicroEDU too, who made things easier! With all the paperwork you already had, MicroEDU always gave you great support!

Semester Abroad in San Jose State University