As a technology-loving computer science student, it wasn’t difficult for me to choose the location for my semester abroad . As the capital of the Silicon Valley, San José is almost perfect for people with my profile.
The application went without any major problems. After I had contact with an employee of your website at a trade fair at my university in Germany and talked about a semester abroad in the USA , she was able to send me all the documents for my application. All I had to do was take the DAAD English test, which luckily was free at my university. The rest of the application consisted of financial proof, the application form and the visa application. I received my passport with the USA visa 2 weeks after applying for and submitting my passport to the US consulate in Frankfurt.
- Professors mostly work on the side in well-known companies in Silicon Valley and offer interesting stories about business in Silicon Valley that are not too boring lectures.
- The course is very practice-oriented , especially in the field of computer science . The SJSU is, so to speak, the training center for skilled workers for the largest high-tech companies in the world.
- San Francisco is close by and Santa Cruz Beach is not that far either (but I would recommend a car, as buses and trains are not reliable in the Bay Area).
- The biggest disadvantage for me as a computer science student was the course / class crashing. In the first week of the semester, I had to attend all the courses that I had previously chosen and “beg” the professor for access codes for the course. This method of course registration is really not nice and it caused me a lot of stress at the beginning, because in contrast to business courses, computer science courses are only offered in small numbers of classes and it rarely happens that a new section of the course is opened.
- The Bay Area is very expensive compared to other places in the USA (food, rent, …). So plan more money, you will be grateful to me for this tip.
- Another major disadvantage was the housing , which I will go into in the following.
I stayed at the International House during my semester abroad and would not recommend it to anyone.
You are forced to participate in the iHouse’s programs and you have to pay a fine if you fail to do so. The problem with the programs is that they are usually very childish and boring. For these reasons, I much preferred to be with people outside of the iHouse.
When I was in Las Vegas during the pancake breakfast event, I was fined $ 50 on my return. This penalty makes no sense at all and is not appropriate due to the high housing costs of the International House.
In addition, hygiene is not taken into account at all. The men’s floor mostly stinks.
Otherwise, living in San Jose is very expensive. On average, you pay around 900-1100 euros per month for 1 room off-campus. Often the rooms are also shared.
I would not recommend finding an apartment in East San José. This part of town is very criminal. It’s not really safe in the streets of San José at all. At night the sound of the siren is quite normal and you can also hear gunshots from time to time.
The courses in the USA are designed a little differently than in Germany.
In all of my 4 courses, I had to hand in 1 task a week in the form of homework, apps, programs or texts.
In addition, in the first lecture of the week there was always a small quiz about the topics of the last week.
The larger exams are held in the middle of the semester, the so-called midterm exam, and at the end there is the final exam. Both make up only 20-25% of the final grade in most courses.
The grade does not only depend on an exam at the end of the semester. Personally, I like the US system more than the German one. Check ehuacom to see more reviews from current students.
In summary, I can say that the semester and life in San José was a great time . If you ignore the living in the International House, everything was perfect.
I would recommend everyone to buy a car and definitely go to Los Angeles . I found San Francisco rather boring and disappointing. Downtown San José is pretty shabby. But you can go to one of the 3 malls (Great Mall, Valley Fair, Eastridge Mall) or to Santana Row.