Copenhagen, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Istanbul, Roosevelt, Aachen, Madrid, Barcelona, Chicago… and the list even continues. But I had only one city in my mind for my study abroad semester: San Diego! Why? The combination of sunny weather, unlimited surfing, beaches and a relaxed society were just perfect for me to escape the busy big city life of London (where I am currently studying).
When my exchange co-coordinator told me that San Diego State University would not take business students anymore, my world was shattered into pieces. I studied so hard, got really good grades, and had been constantly daydreaming about San Diego, sunny weather and surfing. Was there really no way? “I mean we can still send your application, but there is a 90% chance that you won´t be taken” was the answer of my coordinator. I was determined and decided to try it… and then, I got THE message: “you are accepted”. You can believe me, that has probably been one of my happiest moments, I was jumping around, singing, and I couldn´t stop smiling anymore. A period of planning, organizing and pre-excitement followed and then I was sitting on the plane to San Diego, excited of how my semester would turn out, what people I would meet and what experiences I would bring home. My personal prediction looked like this: I will go to San Diego, meet a bunch of cool American surfer “dudes”, probably fall in love with one of them and never want to leave the States again… well- it all turned out a little bit different than expected:
As I moved in together with three Danish students, it didn´t take long until I became part of a big Danish society, which seemed to invade the beach area, where we lived. I loved spending time with all the Danish people, as it was always great fun (and oh my god, all the Scandinavian boys are all really handsome).
Crazy party nights, funny road trips, broken hearts (oh yes, my heart was broken) and shopping tours became part of my San Diego life routine. Even though I was hanging out with my Danish friends most of the time, I really enjoyed meeting American people and ended up to have a great traditional American thanksgiving with unbelievable yummy food and a lot of eggnog (a mixture of Whiskey or/and other alcohol, milk, cream and eggs).
Turkey, mashed potatoes, asparagus, yams, cheese macaroni, carrots, roasted potatoes…
Beach, sun, surfing – yes, those expectations were met! Waking up with the sunshine, grabbing my board and my wetsuit, then heading down to the beach to catch some waves – that’s what my life was like. Being out in the quiet sea, waiting for the next wave, then riding it down and paddling back just made me feel free and happy. And even though I got the worst cough ever, it couldn´t stop me from surfing (maybe it shouldhave, because I got a rip fracture due to the constant coughing, which meant that I could forget about surfing for my two last months).
I went to SDSU (San Diego State University), which was a big change for me- from writing reports, holding presentations and doing groupwork, my grades were suddenly determined by multiple-choice, multiple choice and multiple choice and I have to admit, I am not a fan of it, as it it really superficial learning.
The best thing I liked about SDSU was its football team and I became a big fan of our team: GO AZTEC!!!
Touchdown for San Diego State University
I didn´t find my surfer-love, but well, I had an awesome time here, met amazing people, had great parties and spent a lot of time surfing, which I will miss most about San Diego- all in all it was a little trip to paradise and when I come back it feel like waking up from an incredible dream.
Thanks to everyone who made my stay so unforgettable!!! I can only recommend San Diego; it’s definitely the greatest place in California and I will be quite sad to leave my San Diego life behind.
Some advices for people, who want to study abroad in San Diego
Universities: SDSU (http://www.sdsu.edu/), UCSD (http://www.ucsd.edu/), USD (http://www.sandiego.edu/)
Best area to live: definitely Pacific Beach or Mission Beach (it will probably be a bit more expensive, but it is worth it)- the beach is close-by and the nightlife is just great
Car: Yes, you need to buy a car, San Diego is really spread out and without car you are really messed up- but sharing a ride with some friends is a good idea
Nightlife: Depends what kind of person you are; in downtown you will find a lot of nice clubs and bars, where you should dress up; I personally avoided this area and spend all my time in Pacific Beach and Mission Beach, which is really laid-back and always lots of fun
Places to go out in Pacific Beach: The best night is Tuesday in Typhoon (on Garnet Ave), Thursday: Moondoggies (Garnet) or Beachcombers- they have $1 drinks (Mission Beach)- and the other days you can find great places with live-music or you can enjoy the party-bus, which drives you to different clubs from Thursday to Saturday for free
Attractions: Sea World, Balboa Park, Point Loma, San Diego Zoo, Gas Light District (Downtown), Colorado (District in San Diego), Watching People on the Beach Boulevard from Pacific Beach to Mission Beach
Fines: Be careful- the California-government likes giving fines, here some fines that friends or I had to pay already: drinking on the streets ($280), throwing a party and disturbing neighbors ($1.000 per person living in the house), smoking on the beach (up to $500), parking ticket ($40), …
And here some more impressions of San Diego
Sunset at Mission Bay
Downtown San Diego Skyline
Family Trip to the beach
Crazy Danish-American Halloween Party