My experience with MicroEDU began when I spontaneously went to one of the many events in Münster, with the sober expectation that a semester abroad in the USA would probably be prohibitive (I think I’m not the only student who is short of money;-)). I was quickly convinced of the opposite when I heard that the tuition fees of up to 4600 euros from the foreign BAföG be reimbursed and if you are already receiving BAföG, the domestic rate increases enormously. “That is not possible, there is no such thing,” I thought at the time. When I found out more and this actually corresponded to reality, the decision was clear to me: I’ll go to study abroad. But why Sonoma State ? As one of the “fresher” universities in the program, this one seemed particularly affordable to me. In addition, I had the great hope (which was also confirmed in retrospect) to make close friends with Americans instead of just other Germans, as I often heard from friends. After my decision, everything went very quickly:
Language test taken, financial status retrieved, application filled out and sent off. During this time MicroEDU was a great support for all (sometimes stupid) questions and all staff were always friendly and extremely helpful. After about a month I received the relieving email that I was accepted at Sonoma State. As soon as the necessary forms arrived, an appointment was made at the American Embassy in Frankfurt to get a visa to apply, which arrived about 10 days after the personal appointment. When choosing my subjects, my professors found it a little difficult because the requirements were not particularly high, which I can confirm in retrospect and which I will go into in more detail a little later.
Now I had a university, courses that my professors were also reasonably satisfied with, a visa, a flight, but where would I live? The prices for housing on campus are very steep (but justified), which is why it took a while before I finally decided on the on-campus variant. Anyone who has ever been to an American university will quickly notice that Sonoma State is very different from them when it comes to on-campus housing. It is not without good reason that the university’s housing options are among the 20 best in the country. These include several pools and hot tubs for wonderful and relaxing evenings under the starry sky in California, endless green spaces and a gym included in the price. Another advantage is that you can use the washing machines and dryers for free as an on-campus resident. I lived in Boujolais with two other American women who are now my best friends (yes, Sonoma State has shown a sense of humor when it comes to names). I had my own room and bathroom. Things like bedding, additional lamps (there is only one table lamp in the room), rubbish bins, plates, dishes and bathroom accessories should be bought on site. On the very first evening there was the opportunity to do so, as all internationals were driven to Target for just those purchases. And already I come to the first negative point: DRIVING A CAR! You literally have to go everywhere. Fortunately, a roommate had a car so that I was always taken to the weekly bulk shopping, but that is not always the case. For this reason, you should find out during the orientation who owns a car and be particularly nice to these people;-).
People at Sonoma State are all extremely friendly, so making new friends is not at all difficult. There are hundreds of opportunities, ESPECIALLY if you live on campus, which I would recommend over and over again. Now to my courses: As already announced, these were not particularly difficult in terms of content, but don’t be fooled. . . Compared to German universities, there are a lot more homework, essays, papers, tests, mid-terms, finals, etc. , so you always have something to do. I recommend that if you do not like a course in the first week or you notice that it involves way too much work, you ask around so that you can change it as soon as possible (I think you have 14 days for this). On site, especially during the orientation,you will be warmly welcomed and looked after so that you don’t have to worry if you have any additional questions. International Student Coordinator Becky Petrow is a very lovable and helpful person who is always at your side during the entire stay abroad. There are also regular events and inexpensive excursions that are specially planned for internationals. These included a free trip to San Francisco (approx. 40 minutes away by car), regular Coffee & Culture Hours (where free food is provided) or a weekend trip to Yosemite.
All in all, I can recommend Sonoma State University to anyone interested in getting to know American students, attending endless wine tastings in Sonoma, and spending their evenings in the hot tub after a hard day at university. My semester abroad at Sonoma State is definitely the best decision and time of my life so far. I am always happy to answer any further questions you may have. Learn more about studying in United States on topschoolsintheusa.