University: California State University San Marcos
City: San Marcos (CA)
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Fine arts, communication sciences, media
Study type: semester abroad
Honestly? There really is almost no better feeling than being totally broke only to realize that all the burgers, burritos, parties, fake IDs and trips to the next adventure in paradise were more than worth every penny! And right now is the time to start from literally zero and work your way up from rags to riches in travel and time. The desire to travel will probably never let up. But this time, after all the experiences, we will of course plan better and save more so that we can jet around the world and hit the shit as soon as possible : ) And how the whole adventure started for me? Check existingcountries.com to see Thompson Rivers University Review.
First of all, find out about possible courses on the university website and discuss the crediting options in advance with your professors of the respective faculty. Then you can easily start with the application. MicroEdu is really very accommodating and can be recommended to everyone!
Well, after the whole (very short-term for me) application procedure and the acceptance, I first booked the flight tickets and pondered whether host family or flat share life would be more suitable. Definitely WG life! I mean, if I’ve already planned everything independently and want to fully enjoy Californian life, then I also want to free myself from any (house) rules. Arriving in San Diego completely friendless, the stressful search for potential housing began and thank God I was able to take people on board at short notice through Facebook to let the phone lines glow together.
Ultimately, the fastest way is to take all the apartment complexes on site and make a short phone call to the office to make an appointment. And all of a sudden we were standing in front of a brand new complex and a mutual grin was enough to say we’d take this thing no matter what the cost (I gotta say we didn’t feel like looking any further either): Alexan Melrose Apartments. Clean pool, jaccuzzi, fire pits, business room with 24/7 accessible PCs, club room with pool table, pool room, BBQ grills everywhere and a good gym for us residents. As long as you don’t smoke, don’t drink, don’t yell or party too hard, you’re fine and the office won’t bother you. I have to say that we were eight girls… decent girls, but somehow the neighbors always managed to complain about us and we were called into the office. Two of our cars were also kindly towed away (attention, that costs around $120 at least). We all felt like the office was working against us : D.
So in the end Alexan Melrose was all well and good for photos and for relaxing, but not if you want to let the pig out. So our negative reviews for it will follow! There are, however, more liberal complexes. It’s best to look around for Mexicans, haha. If you want to live in the dormitories (UVA or QUAD), you have to dig deeper into your pocket ($900 increasing and usually unfurnished). Our pad was also unfurnished but bought the essentials and just slept on the floor on a $100 IKEA mattress : )
My rental expenses as a guide for you: 455$ (top price;) ), but calculate 100-200$ more!
The best places to live: Oceanside (near the beach), Vista (right between the university and the beach), San Marcos (near the university)
Since I’m studying Media & Cultural Studies / Management here in Germany and I knew from the start that it would be easy to get credited as long as the course had anything to do with media, I was able to crash my favorite courses straight away. The crash itself was no problem at all for me as a media student. Ultimately, I have a photography course , a video course and two film – focused coursesattended (all 300 or 400 courses). Practical assignments were expected in almost all courses, which is not only a rarity at German universities, but rather an exception. So I was able to enjoy Photoshop and all other Adobe programs on every Apple computer at the CSUSM and a very good SLR camera, which I could borrow every week. Just a tip by the way: students from other departments are also allowed to do this, it’s just a different check-out station. So let’s get started, after all we shelled out so much money for the tuition fees;).
The requirements are not high at the university, but of course all the homework can pile up so much that you have to get up just before the weekend to master everything. But you know it from somewhere, haha. So the study is easy, but time-consuming. A huge advantage, however, is that you will receive a detailed course plan from your lecturer in every course, which you can use to set your dates when it comes to far-sighted or short-term trip planning. Oh yes, and the university is architecturally really beautiful and clearly structured, an eye-catcher;)
The best place to party is Pacific Beach (chilled) or Downtown (chic) and passports are required everywhere. A tip that I can really recommend to you is to take the party bus at the CSUSMto perceive Unfortunately, we internationals didn’t do that until the end of the semester. The bus costs $10 or $20 depending on gender and takes you downtown at nine and back at half past two, so be on time. Most of the time you can plug in your own music on the bus and then immediately throw yourself at a pole right in the middle. Pure fun! Most of the time, the rides are funnier than the club itself;) Additional tip for the girls: gather in groups in front of the club you want to go to and act a bit stupid and count to three. By then at the latest, a promoter will be right in front of you and bring you in for free (usually even to a table;) ), hehe. If partying downtown or PB is not enough for you and you prefer more house parties with American freshmen (usually correspond to the 14 to 16 year olds in our country), then the SDSU with basically more party life is recommended. But the party bus is a great way to balance it out! And usually you get to know people from the SDSU in the backyard or something and can connect quite well that way.
Reserve a car with Dirt Cheap Car Rental as early as possible and then best of all directly for the entire university period. Gas is so ridiculously cheap over there and the country is so vast anyway that it’s really not worth taking the train or bus unless you live downtown San Diego (40 minutes from the uni). At the university you can park very well higher up next to such building complexes. This saves you the university parking fees.
Don’t go to TacoBell, go to the real Mexicans and try the Californian Burrito and Fish Tacos;) Indulge in In-n-Out till you drop! Hasn’t hurt anyone so far, haha. At the university there are subs, burgers, salads and Asian dishes (Panda Express), all around $6-7, or a slice of pizza in the university mini-mart for $2-3 : D. Phil’s BBQ has great ribs (beef shouldn’t taste so great), but it’s best to order it with less sauce, otherwise you can hardly taste the meat. Calculates with Vapiano ratios at all Cheesecake Factory’s… Loaded with vibrator-like devices as the main utensil of the waiting system! Waiting system for tables not for the court haha. Enough of the culinary tips, after all you should make your own discoveries and experiences.
I personally fell in love with Oceanside : ). Much nicer than Pacific Beach. And Encinitas is just as wonderful. Take a detour to LaJolla to spot some lazy seals and explore the neighborhoods of the wealthy.
Don’t skimp! You can vultures again in Germany : ). If you’re ever in one of the most wonderful spots in the world, then be kings and have a good time before you’re thrown back into the harsh reality of cold Germany ^^.
Unique experiences, freedom, carefree! California was one of the best experiences of my life and similar of this kind please follow. Incidentally, three of my friends that I made there are already planning how they can return soon, haha. But for me there are still a few other countries and corners to follow. I recommend the following travel destinations: LA (especially Santa Monica Pier; 2 hours by car), San Francisco (beautiful and very cultural, almost European; plan at least 2 days for sightseeing), Highway 1 (heaven; plan a night for One break), La Jolla, Las Vegas (were even there twice; once via a bus organization, was really cool, and once by car; always at least 3 nights) and Maui, Hawaii as the grand finale. Hawaii is really a bit more paradisiacal than California, simply beautiful. Don’t just plan 6 days like we do, but at least 2-3 more days.
The best thing I was allowed to take with me were new close friends with whom I could not only laugh but also cry. They’re all German in the end, but hard to avoid, since we’re always traveling all over the world somehow. I’ve also gone from being a novice to a passable amateur photographer I hope haha. So I discovered another love. With regard to my studies, CSUSM has really opened a number of doors for me. The people of California are all very laid-back, open, liberal. After a period of getting used to, you adapt to the friendliness – which I find very exemplary in professional life – and sometimes wish you could buy this pleasant interaction with your fellow human beings at Walmart to take home to Germany : D. To cut a long story short, you really can’t go wrong with CSUSM and generally not with a semester abroad anyway! It will be your most beautiful experience anyway, which you certainly don’t want to miss! Well, now do me a favor and step back from the screen, grab a pen and a piece of paper and don’t hesitate to apply, it’s definitely not too early ^^.