Dominik in Arizona
Table of Contents
Overall Thoughts & Feelings
Arizona State University can be described as an endless summer vacation. It is sunny every day and the day consists of very few hours of classes, chilling by the pool and going out to nice restaurants and clubs in the evening. If you want to skip the rainy Austrian fall, sunny Arizona is the perfect place. Although, if you are a big city person, Tempe may not be the right place for you as it feels way smaller than Vienna.
Concerning the heat (40+ degrees until at least the beginning of October), it sounds worse than it is, as you will spend most afternoons at the pool with your friends and at night it’s awesome to have months full of warm summer evenings.
Regarding the living situation, I am staying in a big apartment complex right next to campus with a pool, spa and gym, but basically all student accommodation in Tempe is like this.
- Rent: 1200$
- Groceries: 500$
- Going Out: Depends more if you are going to clubs or house parties but a beer is minimum 7$ and mixed drinks 15$+, I would say I needed 200$ a month
- Traveling: Also depending on you, e.g. I spent for a week in California roughly 600$
In general, prices are pretty high (especially for going out and eating out), so be prepared to spend way more than in Vienna. Especially rent is very high but there is no way around spending 1000$+ in Tempe.
I am living in a student apartment right next to campus. Nearly every student accommodation in Tempe is directly next to Campus and there are no certain districts that are for students. But it is advised to live next to campus as public transportation is very bad in the US and not really reliable (at least in Tempe).
The difficulty and workload of courses at ASU is way lower than at WU. Courses are much more interactive and always try to involve industry guests (from big companies like Apple or Intel). However there is not really studying required but rather some small assignments. Besides that the business school is very modern and the groups are very small which makes classes very interactive.
I took 4 courses:
- B2B Marketing: Interesting course with industry guests each session in boardroom style discussions
- Brand Management: Very nice course that gives a good overview of Brands and how to manage them. We also had a cooperation with a US Ice cream manufacturer and evaluated their brand.
- Mindful Leadership: Basically a meditation class in a group therapy style.
- Lean Launch: Be prepared to ideate a start-up and pitch it every week in front of the professor (Angel Investor) and rotating Venture Capitalists. This course was extremely interesting and really helpful for anyone who thinks of starting their own company.
In general, courses at ASU are very much based on industry perspectives and compared to many courses at WU are really helpful for your later career. Especially having very interesting guest speakers makes the experience of studying at WP Carey School of Business perfect!
I’ll be honest, this is a major issue at ASU. There are events but mostly for undergraduates and mostly real international students who complete their full-time program at ASU. There are no real exchange student events apart from the first two days. This is a major drawback and the exchange community therefore is very much splitted in the different nationalities and host universities people came from.
Places to Visit
As Phoenix is only 5 hours away from Los Angeles, San Diego and Las Vegas, there are plenty of places to visit within a short (for american standards) drive. Major National Parks like the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley and several other Nationalparks in Utah and Nevada are also very close. As a person who was in all major states, I can say that there is probably not a better place to be on exchange semester in terms of sightseeing than ASU.
Country & City Vibes
Tempe is a suburb of Phoenix but the vibe is more like in a vacation town than in a big city. However, there are many clubs/bars/restaurants on Mill Avenue next to campus and there is a very wide variety of different food options to choose from. Besides that the area is very nice and there is also much to do in the metropolitan area of Phoenix like Hiking, or visiting Old Town Scottsdale.
I can only speak for Austrian citizens but the Visa is quite complicated and costly (350$) and it can be quite annoying to get all documents together. But as an Austrian there should be no problem getting a visa, it’s just the process being lengthy.
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