University: University of California San Diego
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: business administration
Study type: semester abroad
Dream Destination California
The dream destination for my semester abroad was California right from the start, so I found out about the various universities in the “Golden State” via the MicroEdu website and ultimately decided on UCSD. The application and the entire communication with UCSD went very easily via a contact person at MicroEdu. Your documents will also be looked through here again and thanks to the detailed description, nothing can actually go wrong with the application. You can also ask all your questions about the university, looking for an apartment, the visa and everything else here. See mcat-test-centers for University of Waikato.
Depending on whether you focus on academics or leisure activities, you should consider whether you would rather live near the campus in La Jolla or in another area like Pacific Beach. I would definitely choose Pacific Beach again as it is right on the beach and close to numerous bars and restaurants.
If you want to book accommodation in advance, larger apartment complexes are recommended, most of which all have a pool, tennis courts and gym. In La Jolla these are for example Anatolia Housing (Costa Verde) and in Pacific Beach Bay Point Apartments (Kamo Housing) or AVA Apartments. Since a particularly large number of international students live here, you have the opportunity to make many direct contacts here. Some apartments are also offered in Facebook groups, on Craigslist or via AirBnB.
The Solana Beach Host Family Program is also highly recommended, where you have the opportunity to stay with an American family for the first two to three days after your arrival. The whole thing is free and the families are very interested in getting to know international students, so that a friendship usually develops for your entire semester abroad and beyond.
Because San Diego, and California in general, is very sprawling, public transportation is poorly developed. From Pacific Beach to the university you need about an hour by bus. However, since you won’t be spending a lot of time on campusdepending on the number of courses you want to take, this isn’t a major problem. For excursions or weekend trips in the area around San Diego, however, you can hardly avoid a car, so at least one person in your circle of friends should own a car. You can rent one from DirtCheap Car for about $400-$800 a month or buy it directly and sell it again at the end of the semester (you can find quite good cars on the internet from about $2000).
Since the Rady School of Management in particular does not accept international students in some courses, choosing a course is a major challenge, especially for economists and business administration students. So be prepared that you have to be very flexible when choosing a course and that you won’t get the courses you want. Because of the class crashing, the first two weeks of the quarter can be very stressful. You have to attend several courses at the same time and sometimes hand in assignments, although it is still uncertain whether you will even get the course.
Unlike in Germany, in the USA you have to take a lot of exams during the semester. This can be weekly homework, tests, or readings that require you to engage with the lecture content throughout the quarter. The courses can therefore take a lot of time, which was not a problem for me with only three courses and left enough time for other leisure activities. In terms of difficulty and demands, at least my courses at the Rady School of Management were far below the level you are used to in Germany, which means that you can almost be sure of very good grades here.
Due to its proximity to the beach, San Diego is particularly suitable for surfing, kite surfing and sailing. Corresponding weekly courses, also for beginners, can be booked in the Aquatic Center in Pacific Beach, but one-day and weekend courses are of course also possible. Furthermore, events, concerts and sporting events take place almost every week in San Diego, so you will definitely not get bored.
Don’t miss out on weekend trips beyond San Diego either. You can drive to LA in two hours and you can also be in Mexico in 30 minutes by Uber or Lyft. A road trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon should also be on your agenda, but you can also reach numerous other national parks in one day or a weekend (Joshua Tree National Park, Yosemite National Park,…).
The beautiful California offers you numerous leisure activities and travel destinations. Combined with a very renowned university, these are the perfect conditions for an unforgettable time. Definitely recommendable!