For me, after I finally decided and applied for Sonoma State University, everything went relatively quickly. At first I chose Long Beach, but I wasn’t entirely satisfied with it. Then shortly afterwards Sonoma State University joined the program, which was in early January. This got me, although there are no testimonials because it is new to the program. I then quickly changed my mind and was accepted within 1. 5 weeks, which was also due to the fact that the application deadline was already over. Short for SSU on abbreviationfinder, Sonoma State Universityhad made an exception because it was not shown beforehand. So far so good. It took some time until I had my preliminary courses together because most of them were already full by then. However, these can still be changed in the first two weeks at the beginning of the semester.
The BaföG application was not a problem, but I would recommend it to anyone. However, in the USA you have to pay the tuition fees in advance and they are usually reimbursed during the semester abroad. The visa itself would not have been a problem if there had been no cancellation in all of Germany in mid-June when I wanted to make my appointment, which is why it was all a bit short-term in the end. I had my appointment in mid / end of July, which also went pretty quickly within the International Office in Frankfurt. I received the visa itself about 10 days later, i. e. at the beginning of August, about 14 days before I flew.
For the first time in San Francisco, I was picked up directly by the shuttle bus set up by Sonoma State University for the internationals, for a fee of 30 dollars, which is roughly the same price as a normal shuttle bus. Sonoma State is approximately 45 minutes from San Francisco and is in peaceful Rohnert Park. Sonoma State University is very green and well-kept and some of the buildings are quite new, such as the Recreation Center, the Green Music Hall and the Student Center. The campus and the housing options have even received several awards. I lived right on campus and never had to go to the gym what’s in the Recreation Center. Nevertheless, I had to walk a little further to my other courses, because I had all of them in different buildings across the campus.
I had a 400 English course: Studies in American Literature, which was a senior level or 3rd-4th grade student. Semester corresponds. My teacher Kim Hester-Williams was very good and also very knowledgeable about the relevant subjects and books. You could tell that she is very enthusiastic and always comes up with something new for the students. I can say exactly the same about my other teachers in the beginners’ French course. This was a bit too easy because it was a course for the students in the first semester, but I didn’t want to change either. I also had a ballet and a contemporary course where I learned a lot about my body and the teachers are also very experienced and competent. It makes a lot of fun.
Because my semester abroad is compulsory, but I have no specific information about which courses I have to do, I was able to take the courses I wanted. I have an A – A- in all courses, although it is of course also due to the absence of days and to yourself. I find the learning atmosphere more pleasant there, as you don’t just have one exam at the end of the semester. I am now studying modern foreign languages, culture and economics with a major in English, with a minor in Portuguese and business administration. As far as I know, the campus can accommodate between 2000-3000 students. I was on the waiting list and was only informed shortly before my flight that I had a room.
There are 5 different living areas, which are named after wine names or wine regions and they all look different. From inside and outside. This is probably because Sonoma State is in a wine region that is also right next to the better-known Napa and is also one of the universities that offer Wine Business as a degree. Instead of living with five, I only lived with four American women. I shared a double room and I got on really well with all of the roommates, except that most of the students living on campus are under 21.
In addition, the internationals are well taken care of. You have a contact person who is very friendly. Then there is an orientation week of three days. It was made sure that you can do your first important shopping when you live on campus, since everyone usually has to bring their own dishes and bedding. During the first week and also during the semester, the International Office carried out a number of excursions. If you want to see, you should definitely book a few excursions from the Student Center or the Outdoor Center in the Recreation Center. I went through the Student Center to the Point Reyes Lighthouse, Six Flags (chain of amusement parks in the USA) and the San Francisco Zoo, among others. I would have loved to go to Alcatraz, a Giants game, Winchester Mystery House, but it’s best to book everything right at the beginning of the semester. Thanks to the Outdoor Center, I went hiking and camping in Yosemite National Park for a weekend. I also went camping one night with Internationals in Sonoma in October. Sonoma State University also has enough clubs to offer, but I haven’t been to any, as I was often out and about myself, especially in the bars in the neighboring town of Cotati, which are full on Thursdays but empty on Fridays.
Rohnert Park is completely different in that it is relatively close to San Francisco by car. It’s very quiet, and the next party opportunity is only in Cotati, Petaluma or Santa Rosa, whereby you either have to rely on Uber or friends with a car if you don’t have your own. That was the only annoying thing that I often had to rely on my roommates to go shopping with me. Nevertheless, the weather was often a lot better and warmer than in San Francisco and therefore it was still quite warm during the day until the end of October. But it can get pretty chilly at night.
Besides that, I was often out with friends. I did a wine tour in Napa Valley through a contact, was a few times in San Francisco, in Santa Rosa. I was with a friend over Thanksgiving with a friend and his family in San Diego. He tried to teach us to surf. I’ve been to Disneyland. Before that weekend I was in Seattle with friends and at the beginning of December a friend who was in Los Angeles visited me. It is recommended to book a car there and from there we drove one day to me and then another two days to San Francisco.
Overall, I am very happy with my choice. I got on well with everyone. The people are very open and I would have loved to stay longer. I recommend everyone to apply for Bafög, as you no longer have to repay the reimbursed tuition fees and it was a great support. With all expenses such as transport, shopping, souvenirs, food, flight, visa, accommodation and tuition fees, I paid around 15,500 euros, of which 8,420 euros were BaföG.