University: California State University San Marcos
City: San Marcos (CA)
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: dance
Study type: semester abroad
The Cal State San Marcos, a rather small university with a very great and family atmosphere. The application process was very convenient via MicroEdu, but involved a lot of organizational work. Once the documents are together and the paperwork is done, everything runs as if by itself and without any problems. At this point, I recommend that you do not let yourself be put off by the preparation of your documents from your stay abroad in the USA, because this can sometimes be quite time-consuming. It’s worth it though, I promise. Check existingcountries.com to see Griffith College Dublin Review.
The University of San Marcos is always available to answer your questions and you will receive 100% support from both the University and the MicroEdu staff.
Since I was not sent to Cal State by a dual university and was pretty much on my own, because all German foreign students came from a partner university in Germany, the course enrollment was a little different for me. I had to crash (take) all my courses during the orientation week. That means I had to go to the different classes and ask the professors if I could take the courses. This turned out to be unproblematic. The professors are quite nice with international students and are happy that you are there. The on-site support is very good, since the university is not that big and you are recognized fairly quickly on campus and addressed by your name. I had my own supervisor who initially stayed in email contact with me and was personally available to me at any time for the rest of the semester. But the other employees in the ALCI office are always in a good mood and very helpful.
When looking for accommodation, I would recommend you not to go to a host family, although the decision is still yours. From what I’ve heard from the international students and my-one, there are the following options for living in San Marcos and the surrounding area (I’ll try to outline them a little, given what I’ve heard and heard from the others):
Student Residences/ Dorms/ University Village Apartments
Many international but also American students live here. Some are still quite young (underage) and there are strict rules regarding alcohol consumption, for example. You get to know a lot of people in a very short time. There is a pool and the apartments are right next to the university (about a 5-minute walk).
You usually live in a really nice house, have food cooked and therefore rarely have to go shopping or take care of your food. Therefore, however, one is also bound by time and less flexible. In addition, the families live all over San Marcos and are not right next to the university. Many had to ride bikes.. and riding a bike is pretty much illegal in the US (not to mention the buses).
I found a nice shared flat via www.craigslist.com (this address is worth its weight in gold) and then moved in with Americans. I found this to be the best solution because you are in constant contact with Americans, experience the culture (at home) and are simply independent.
Friends of mine rented a house on the beach in Oceanside. That would also be a possibility. I moved in 2 months and had the best time anyone could ask for. The house was right by the sea and is habitable for 6 people.
From Oceanside, however, it is an advantage to organize a car to drive to the university or to get from A to B in general.
At this point I come to public transportation. Public transport such as bus and train are rather rare in San Marcos and the surrounding area. What I can recommend is the SPRINTER which runs from Escondido to Oceanside every 30 minutes. It takes about 55 minutes to get from A to B. 3 stations behind Escondido is the station CAL STATE SAN MARCOS, which is located directly at the university.
In principle, a car is not wrong and if you share one, it is not that expensive for the time of your semester abroad. The problem is that California is very spread out and as a German you just can’t imagine it until you see it for yourself. Up until my arrival I also thought I could go shopping on foot and cycle to the university.
I solved the whole thing by initially moving close to the university and thus being able to walk to the university. Later, when I got to know the area and the people, I moved into the beach house and carpooled with my roommates.
From time to time I borrowed a car from ENTERPRISE. These are simply the best and Cal State San Marcos students get a discount too.
Finally, I would like to say that California is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. You can travel here as much as you can. Trips I took with the other companies outside of my university days were: San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Palm Springs, Las Vegas (4.5 hour drive), New York (5 hour flight) and too good last: Hawaii (a 5 hour flight). The scenery is incredible and breathtaking. California has too much to offer to explore in one semester. Also great national parks like de Yosemite or Joshua Tree. You won’t get bored. The university also occasionally organizes a few students with free food and drinks.
You can party in San Diego Downtown. This includes a 30 minute drive. The quarter is called GASLAMP and is really fun in the evening. Make sure that you’re not under 21, because the Americans are pretty strict when it comes to “going to the clubs”.
I can say a lot about the DO’s and DON’Ts, but I don’t want to take away the excitement of finding out for yourself. In addition, there is a sufficient presentation by the professors during the introductory week 😉
I wish you all a great time, lots of fun and am happy to answer any questions you may have.