After a lecture by MicroEDU in Fulda, I decided to apply to study in the USA through them. After looking at different universities for a while, I had information about different universities sent to me by email. In the end, I decided to go to SSU and received the application documents. I was also informed which requirements I needed for this. MicroEDU provided excellent support throughout the application process. You could ask questions at any time and always received good advice. After submitting my application documents, I was accepted after just 2 weeks. Then I had to apply for an F-1 visa. Note: according to act-test-centers, SSU stands for Sonoma State University.
I ultimately decided on Sonoma State University because I really liked the green campus in the photos. I also liked the relatively low number of around 9,000 students because I preferred a smaller university. Another advantage was that I could enroll in my courses from Germany. For this purpose, I attached a selection of the courses I wanted to my application.
Before the beginning of the semester, I went on a tour with my brother. We started in Las Vegas and first traveled to the Grand Canyon, which simply offered a fantastic view and a wonderful panorama. Then we made a short stop at Lake Powel. Then we traveled to Bryce Canyon, which is significantly greener than the Grand Canyon, but also offered an absolutely fantastic panorama. Finally, we spent three more days in Las Vegas, one of which we used for a day trip to Death Valley. Overall, our tour lasted a week, although the week was actually too short for the entire trip. I found the tour extremely interesting and I can only recommend it to everyone, although we personally didn’t find Las Vegas very interesting.
Sonoma State University was about 40 miles from San Francisco. You could easily take the bus to San Francisco for $ 11, which was always a welcome change from campus. The campus was a very nice, green campus, on which you could also take a relaxed walk to clear your head. The weather was significantly warmer than in Germany. In August it was sometimes 40 degrees and until the end of October it was still 30 degrees. You could actually be outside in your T-shirt for the whole semester and it only rained in December, with some really bad weather.
The International Office also made it very easy to feel comfortable. It made you feel welcome right from the start and tried very hard to make the acclimatization phase as easy as possible for us. The first week was an introductory week in which we were informed, among other things, about cultural differences or peculiarities of the American school system. In addition, various events or excursions were offered on a regular basis.
I decided to rent a room in the dormitory on campus. I got a single room with my own toilet and shared the living room and kitchen with three other students. My roommates were two Americans and one German, which unfortunately meant that I only spoke to him in German. The apartments in America are built completely differently than in Germany. They are not very well soundproofed, which bothered me especially in the morning, as you usually woke up at 8 a. m. when the garbage was picked up outside or mowed several times a week. What I found very practical is that the student ID was also used as a key.
The campus life is markedly different from the known to me from Germany. You can actually do anything on campus. He had several different sports fields and his own gym. In addition, there are regular sports events on campus that students could attend free of charge. I watched several soccer games and also volleyball games. A special highlight for me was the Midnight Madness. This was the official start of training for the college basketball team and was combined with a presentation of all other sports teams. There was also a colorful show program. In general, most Americans were extremely enthusiastic about sports and were all very friendly and open towards you.
Grocery shopping was a big issue as all stores were at least 3 miles from the SSU. Because of this, I had to either wait until my roommates went shopping, only one owned a car, or ask my classmates if they could drive me to a store. The cost for food were also much higher than in Germany. Most groceries were three times as expensive and some sweets were five times as expensive as in Germany. Only the drinks had prices similar to those in Germany. Since the supply was difficult, I bought a meal plan for the cafeteria, which included a daily meal on weekdays. There was a buffet in the cafeteria and you could eat as much as you wanted. There was always a burger, pizza and a salad bar. Mostly there was a pasta dish and mostly a rice dish to choose from. Due to the very limited choice of food, it became rather monotonous at the end of the semester and the selection was accordingly difficult.
I took a total of three courses with 4 units each at Sonoma State University. The first course was BUS 316 Production Operation Management. I had to write two exams, and count each with 30% of my final grade. I also had to do a small case study in a group of 6 students about a bank followed by a presentation, which added another 10% to my final grade. I had to give another group presentation followed by a term paper, which added 20% to the final grade. The last 10% of the grade consisted of attendance and participation in the class. In addition to the regular lessons we had to edit a book about different types of production, for which we also had to do homework on a regular basis. The second course was BUS 350 Management. In this course we had to write a total of three exams, of which only the best two counted 50% of the overall grade. A further 10% were made up by editing and creating a résumé. We also had to give a group presentation that counted 20% of the final grade. The last 20% consisted of participation and regular class notes. The last course I took was BUS 370 Introduction to Managerial Finance. For this course I had to write a total of three exams, all of which were 30% of the final grade. The last 10% was for a book review we had to write about a book on globalization. I found this course the most interesting because I heard most of the new things, as the focus on finance is not dealt with as much in Fulda. The lecture style differs significantly from what I know from Germany. So the lecturers tried to involve the students in their lessons. In addition, homework had to be done regularly, which is actually not the case in Germany. I found it very pleasant that there were several exams and not everything depends on the final exam weeks as here in Germany. It took a lot of getting used to for me at the beginning,
My conclusion is actually consistently positive and I have not regretted my decision to go to Sonoma State University. It was very interesting to get to know a different culture and to experience a different everyday university life. It was also the right decision for me to go to the USA, because the USA has always fascinated me as a country and I am also very enthusiastic about US sport.
My personal highlight for me was attending a football game between the Oakland Raiders and the Carolina Panthers, I have never seen a comparable sporting event before. The visit to the Grand Canyon and the Bryce Canyon was an extraordinary experience for me, as it offers a fantastic view. The only negative things for me were the high cost of tuition, rent and generally the cost of living. In the end it was the unique experience and worth it despite the high cost.