University: University of California San Diego
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: Business Administration, Linguistics and Cultural Studies
Study type: semester abroad
Before the stay abroad & application process
I chose MicroEdu for placement and the application process because the personal, fast and very helpful service appealed to me right from the start. Since there are special advisors for each country, the respective contact persons are always well informed and will be happy to help you patiently by email or telephone. Relevant documents and information material were sent to me by post or email. See jibin123 for Semester Abroad In University of California San Diego.
Thus, almost all open questions are already answered in advance. If you have additional questions during your study abroad experience, the staff at UC San Diego ‘s International Office are usually very quick to respond (e.g., to specific questions about course syllabi or dates).
University, course selection & lesson design
Since UCSD is not a partner university of my German university, I paid the tuition fees of around USD 8,000 (approx. €6,000) myself. But you have to be aware that UCSD is one of the best universities in the USA and was recently ranked 18th in the world in the business department.
At the beginning of the semester, two introductory days take place, during which the campus, library, leisure activities, etc. are presented at several events. You can also get help with the online administration of the courses and you can always come to the office of the International Student Advisor for advice. There is also a language course offered by the UCSD Extension – but I didn’t take it. There are also language tandems, where American students or even university staff meet with international students to speak English. Since UCSD is multicultural, additional tandems for Spanish, Italian, Russian, all kinds of Asian languages, etc. are also offered.
As an international student you are not enrolled directly at UCSD, but at the Extension, you can be offered fixed places right from the start for courses sponsored by the UCSD Extension. This means that you have to attend more courses than prescribed in the first 2-3 weeks, i.e. “crash” the courses until you receive a firm commitment from the course instructor or the department. It is recommended to “crash” 10-12 courses, but usually 6-7 are enough, since you can initially assess relatively well which course you can stay in and which not.
In the field of management (upper division), the following courses are recommended:
MGT 164. Organizational Leadership at Mary A. McKay
The professor is very competent and keeps her lecture exciting and interactive. In addition, the readings are very interesting and you can apply what you have learned directly in everyday life. You have to reckon with an enormous amount of work in this course, since partner journals are written weekly. Personally, I was happy to accept that because of the interesting texts.
MGT 172. Business Project Management at Cathleen Hedges & Rebecca Royal
The two lecturers have a very pleasant way of speaking. The pace, demands and workload are also pleasant in this course. You learn tangible methods and apply them directly in homework and so-called class room exercises. Smaller unannounced tests are also occasionally written. However, these are doable once you have read the lecture slides.
I took the following course in American Studies:
USP 1. History of US Urban Communities by Nancy A. Kwak
The course belongs to the Under Division and is therefore actually a course for first-year students. You have to remember a lot of dates and names. However, the history of the US American city is illustrated and supported with interesting examples. The professor is young and dynamic and has a witty sense of humor. She uses iClicker to check attendance – a voting device that you can buy in the bookstore at the beginning of the semester and then register online with your student ID number.
The lectures (held exclusively in English) are very interactive and practical. You are expected to cooperate. The level is comparable to that at German universities, sometimes even a little lower. However, the effort involved should not be underestimated. The exams are mostly multiple choice tasks and, as long as you have dealt with all readings and lecture slides, they can be mastered well to very well. However, there are no advantages for international students compared to American students. The grades are distributed over the trimester. There are weekly assignments, a midterm exam and a final exam; in some courses there is also a final essay. That is, who under the Trimester works well and makes an effort, can already secure a large part of his grade.
At the University of Passau, the trimester is counted as 1 semester. Unfortunately, I can’t have any business courses credited to me, because the courses don’t exist in Passau and they don’t appear in the management examination module of my degree program. However, I can get credit for a course from the field of Urban Studies and Planning entitled “History of US Urban Communities” in the examination module Cultural Studies for the Anglo-American cultural area. At the Chair of American Studies at the University of Passau, the approval of the learning agreement by email went smoothly.
At the UCSD there is no canteen, but about 15 restaurants. Among these are well-known chains like Panda Express, Burger King, etc. But there are also Indian or Greek food and sushi. There are also several coffee shops and smaller snack bars with Italian, American or Mexican food. The prices are a bit higher than in a German canteen, but they are justified due to the large selection and portions. For 6 USD upwards you can fill up at lunchtime and there is something for every taste.
Unfortunately, as a UCSD Extension student you are not entitled to the free shuttle buses on campus or the free use of the RIMAC fitness studio.
I pre-booked a single room in a shared apartment through KAMO Housing. This was the easiest and safest method for me, since I traveled a few weeks before my studies in San Diego and therefore had no time to go looking for an apartment before the start of my studies. Other students have found what they are looking for on Craigslist or airbnb.com. However, this required far more effort and patience.
The rent is on average compared to other rooms in San Diego, especially in Pacific Beach. My apartment is part of the Bay Pointe Complex and is rented out by KAMO Housing. There is a pool, jacuzzi, exercise facility, free PC and printer access, tennis courts, basketball courts, housekeeping, laundry room and free coffee and muffins on Friday and Saturday mornings.
Living in Pacific Beach is definitely a MUST for internationals. Apart from the courses, everything happens here. The countless leisure activities in the bay and on the beach and the many bars and restaurants offer an extremely high standard of living. It takes about 15 minutes by car to get to the university, and it takes about twice as long by bus.
I have rented a car and therefore have no experience with public transport. However, we often used Uber, a kind of taxi company where you order your Uber via an app and the amount due is debited directly from your credit card. My roommates often took the bus and sometimes needed more than twice as long for certain routes.
In Pacific Beach you can easily cycle to all major shops. However, if you want to go shopping for clothes or go to another part of the city, a car is essential. The parking situation is good, as you can often just park on the side of the road.
Since San Diego is right on the Mexican border, there are a variety of very good Mexican restaurants. There are also seafood restaurants and burger restaurants, grill and bars, every conceivable fast food chain, sushi shops, Italian restaurants etc. In San Diego and especially in Pacific Beach and La Jolla there is definitely the right restaurant for every taste. The bars are also diverse, offer a wide range of drinks and a good atmosphere – whether on the beach or on a rooftop.
A cola costs about 2.50 USD, a beer around 5-6 USD. That’s fine by California standards, I think. Prices in fast food chains can be compared with German prices, the prices in better restaurants are accordingly somewhat higher. But it’s definitely worth spending a little more.
There are many different museums and gardens in Balboa Park. Old Town, the San Diego Zoo and Seaworld offer other recreational options. There are also many sports beaches, state and national parks nearby, and theaters and music venues in downtown and La Jolla.
On site guests can surf, kayak, bike, jog around the bay, play beach volleyball, etc. There are also tennis and basketball courts and a fitness center at KAMO Housing’s Bay Pointe and Avalon apartments. There are also many yoga and pilates studios in Pacific Beach where you can use the full course program for a monthly fee of around USD 100. At the university, for example, you can register for swimming training or do free training for various sports with a team you have formed yourself. Unfortunately, if you only study a quarter at UCSD, you can’t join the varsity athletic teams, and if you do, you can’t compete.
Since I’m not 21 yet, I haven’t seen much of nightlife. But my classmates say the bars are fun, especially the ones near the beach. There are also a few rooftop bars in downtown San Diego that are worth checking out. The view and the atmosphere are gigantic. Admissions for clubs cost 20-30 dollars here, without drinks. Also, clubs in San Diego close at 2am. In general I have the feeling that house parties are written bigger, especially among students (and not only among the underage ones).
Before my studies, I did a 3-week California-Arizona-Nevada tour by car. Destinations worth seeing on our route were Anza Borgen State Park, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree National Park, Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Death Valley, Yosemite National Park (beautiful hiking trails), San Francisco (plan at least 4 days), Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, Monterey (aquarium), Morro Bay, Los Angeles (2 days is enough here), San Diego.
Admission prices vary from $30 for the Monterey Aquarium to $90 for Universal Studios. If you visit more than 3 national parks, the annual pass for 80 USD is worthwhile. Most smaller tourist attractions cost around $8, which is relatively cheap. It’s often worth asking about student discounts!
Accommodation can be found from $50 per night per room. But then you live in motels or inexpensive hotels, often without breakfast. If you’re on the move all day and want to experience something, that’s more than enough. In San Francisco and Los Angeles I would recommend looking at the location of the hotel rather than the price as traffic in both cities is crazy and it’s nicer to be centrally located.
We paid relatively little for the transport, as gasoline is relatively cheap in the USA (a full tank costs around USD 35).
We rented the car from Dirt Cheap Car Rental in San Diego and paid USD 990 per month for a range to Nevada and Arizona (including the underage fee).
I would recommend San Diego to anyone who is motivated to work for the courses while enjoying that vacation California feeling. In my opinion, the balance between university stress and free time is almost perfect. UCSD is an excellent university that I would recommend to anyone. Apart from the fact that as an extension student you are limited in your rights and opportunities on campus, I really enjoyed the time and learned an incredible amount and took it with me.
I would like to emphasize that you can still have a great study abroad experience in the USA under 21 – there is so much to do that partying becomes secondary. Since the clubs close at 2 a.m. anyway, you don’t miss much – not to forget the house parties;)