University: University of California San Diego
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: life sciences
Study type: semester abroad
The 4 months I stayed at UCSD will certainly remain in my memory for a long time, as I was able to spend some unforgettable weeks there. See liuxers for FDU Study Abroad.
The UCSD campus offers pretty much everything a student could wish for. In addition to numerous libraries that are very well stocked, especially in the natural sciences, there are also lounges where you can retreat with friends.
The routes on campus to the individual lectures can sometimes take a little longer, so it is advisable to use a bicycle or, if you can, a skateboard. The food offer is good. In addition to Burger King and Subway, there is Mexican, Greek, Chinese and Thai cuisine, plus a supermarket and numerous cafes.
What wasn’t so pleasant to get through was the application process to UCSD. As an international student, you’re pretty much the last on every waiting list. Since you cannot enroll online for the courses, you have to submit 3 completed enrollment cards (signed by the professor and the department) after the first 4 weeks. For me, that meant numerous discussions with the professors and the responsible department. Another disadvantage is that you can never be sure that you will actually get the course you want, so in order not to miss the material you have to go to as many courses as possible in the first few weeks. In any case, it’s nerve-wracking. The on-site support is good in terms of leisure activities, when it comes to important issues such as enrolling in the courses, you are pretty much on your own. One can only expect perseverance slogans.
However, I really liked the 3 courses that I then took. For biologists who are more interested in biotechnology, I can definitely recommend the bioengineering courses. Usually only a few students, well-equipped laboratories and interesting topics were dealt with here. The other two courses were BIMM – 130 Microbial Physiology and BIBC – 102 Metabolic Biochemistry. Below is a more detailed description of BIMM 130 – Microbial Physiology – Prof. Milton Saier
These courses dealt with the most important concepts of microbiology. The following list shows which topics were covered in the lectures. In addition to the lectures, there were weekly seminars. The grading was based on a total of 7 partial grades (3x intermediate examinations (each 1 h), final (score counts double, 2 h), seminar grade and quiz grade), of which 2 could be deleted. For each lecture you had to read scientific papers, which were then discussed again and again during the lecture. In addition, you could get extra credit if you took part in the evening seminars of the biology faculty outside of the course.
All in all, this course was very work-intensive for me, because you really had to be prepared for every lesson. Finally, every other lecture was a 10-minute session with 5 questions. The good thing about the grading system is that you can remove 2 points. So if you always did well in the seminars, in the quizzes and in the 3 midterms, you could cancel the final. This proved extremely helpful to me. The lectures were easy to follow. However, you also have to get used to the fact that the professor is really in love with details. That’s how it sometimes happened, you then had 20 gene or protein names on the board. But otherwise the professor is great!
1. Evolution, 2. Cell Polarity, 3. Cell Recognition and Movement, 4. Chemoreception and Signal Transduction, 5. Sensing Physical Forces, 6. Alternative Types of Bacterial Motility, 7. Molecular Motors, 8. Bacterial Organelles/Machines, 9 Chemical Communication, 10. Bacterial Behavior
11. Overview, Conclusions and Perspectives
BIBC 102 – Metabolic Biochemistry – Prof. Immo Scheffler
Webpage: exists, but is password-protected.
This course dealt primarily with the metabolic pathways in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. Examinations were a 2-hour intermediate exam (40%) and a 3-hour final exam (60%). The lectures were very well structured, which helped me a lot when learning. The first intermediate examination contained only arithmetic problems. The second was more based on all the different metabolic pathways. The main topics are included in the following list.
1. Enzyme kinetics, 2. Enzyme regulation, 3. Energetics, 4. Oxidation/reduction, 5. Glycolysis, 6. Citric acid cycle, 7. Respiratory chain, 8. Urea cycle, 9. Pentose metabolism, 10. Photosynthesis, 11. Gluconeogenesis, 12. Synthesis and breakdown of fats, 13.Diabetes
BENG – 162 Biotechnology Lab – Prof. Melissa Micou
Webpage: exists, accessed via Web CT
While the first two courses were biology courses, BENG 162 is a bioengineering course. Apart from an introductory event, there were no lectures. A total of 4 experiments were carried out every two weeks. These were Cell Seeding onto Scaffolds, HPLC, Bioreactor and Remodeling. For each of these experiments, the laboratory group had to write a one-page report for the next group. For this purpose, a 15-minute presentation should be held and either a 10-page report (once as a group, once as an individual performance) or scientific posters should be designed. In addition, before the start of each laboratory, a pre-lab question had to be answered in writing.
This course was great fun, but involved 10-20 hours of work per week. This course is recommended! It promotes a practical understanding of laboratory processes and also trains many soft skills.
When looking for accommodation you should know the following. If you want to live off-campus, you don’t need to worry until you get to San Diego. Definitely use Craigslist, you can really get anything there! If you want to have short distances to the campus and want to save money for a car (which is also more environmentally friendly), you should inform yourself about the UCSD shuttle routes. Find a room near a UCSD shuttle. They run 24 hours a day (every 15 minutes) during the week but not on weekends. Normal bus service is usually 1 bus/h.
You should be priced between $650 – $800 if you want to live alone, but there are also many offers where you share a room with someone. In general you need between 1500-2000$ per month (+ tuition fees)
There are numerous recreational opportunities! Depending on your interests, concerts take place on campus regularly, every week. There is also a pub, cinema and theater on campus. If you like the beach you should definitely go to Pacific Beach. To keep yourself informed about current events in San Diego, check the SDreader or UCSD websites. You will find enough there.
You won’t find that many bars and clubs in La Jolla. If you’re more into that sort of thing, go to Downtown San Diego (about 15 miles away).
For those of you who like active sports, UCSD offers the Rimac Area. Here you can enroll in sports courses for $80 per quarter.
Be careful where you live if you don’t have a car. Public transport is very bad here and some regions are downright cut off. If you want to avoid getting up early during the week and complicated journeys at the weekend, find out about the bus and shuttle routes before you start looking for an apartment.