University: University of California San Diego
City: San Diego
Country: United States
Continent: North America
Field of study: earth sciences
Study type: semester abroad
First of all, I can say that my time in San Diego has brought me quite a bit forward in my life. I gained a lot of valuable experiences there for my studies and for life in general and made numerous friends from all over the world. I can remember as if it were yesterday that I myself read the testimonials of others who used almost the same words as I do now… I hope to be able to pass on the optimism I felt then to you too! See jibin123 for Semester Abroad In San Jose State University.
The most uncomfortable and nerve-racking phase… almost everyone had some hurdles. You just have to go through with it! But thank God there is the MicroEdu Team, which is always at your side, answers questions incredibly quickly and all of this in a friendly yet professional tone… great praise for that! If you don’t make it with their help, it’s probably your own fault or you don’t really want it!
In principle, it is of course advisable to start the application process in good time, ie half a year in advance… If that doesn’t work out, as it did for me, and everything has to happen at the last minute, it gets more stressful but is obviously just as feasible. And here, too, MicroEdu has actively helped. Sticking points are the visa and all the documents you need for it and of course the application itself (although I would rack my brains about the choice of subjects only in San Diego). In general, I wouldn’t worry too much about the application… Only very few are not accepted for the extensions program and the supervisors on site are also super helpful and reliable, so you can also contact them by email or similar. ask for advice.
The first days in the USA are a feast for the senses, so many new impressions of people and surroundings, the flair on the streets and beach promenades, simply indescribable… many things seem strangely familiar, from films, songs, computer games, etc. perhaps? And at the latest when you arrive at the beach you know: this is California! It’s just crazy and awesome here, you have to see it! It is therefore advisable to take a few days to explore San Diego and simply to process all the impressions… but also to prepare for the upcoming time: You now live in San Diego!
Personally, I arrived in SD about 3 weeks before the start of the program to settle in, look for a place to stay, buy a car and prepare everything… The first point of contact is recommended for people like me who are not afraid of new casual acquaintances and are not averse to taking a hostel for the party. The Ocean Beach International Hostel (that’s where I was) and the Banana Bungalow Hostel should be mentioned. The OBI is the cheaper option with a little more chilled flair in the alternative and very nice district of Ocean Beach (OB). There is a (relatively) good transport connection to almost all other parts of the city as well as to downtown. The Banana Bungalow is located in Pacific Beach (PB, this is where I lived) the party district in North SD, the party-loving student crowd (UCSD and SDSU) meet here almost every evening to unwind, accordingly there are numerous bars and clubs here… a little more informal than in the downtown equivalent (Gaslamp Quarter). Arriving here is definitely a good idea, because even if you don’t want to party, there are enough things to do here (beach, shopping, water sports…).
Reside and live:
PB was recommended to me in advance because it is relatively close to the university (50 minutes by bus, 20 minutes by car) and is a young and lively district. Most UCSD students live here or in La Jolla. La Jolla is very nice with nice apartments and close to the university, but stinking and boring… there is nothing going on there and my friends who lived there always had to have a driver somehow or accept an expensive taxi ride and then sleep on some couch in PB. So definitely prefer PB!
Finding an apartment is not exactly easy and you should definitely be mobile (rental car from ALAMO or Dirtcheap or a bicycle). The website Craigslist.org has established itself here as a stock exchange for all matters and can be used without hesitation for house and used car searches.
The rent in PB is between 500 and 800 USD depending on the distance to the beach and the condition of the apartment, not cheap but not much more expensive than in La Jolla either.
I personally got a car from a dealer, looking back it was the initially more time-saving option. For a one quarter stay, renting a car should also be a good idea, cheap for the long term are Express Car rentals.
About the program:
I have taken classes at the world renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography which has proven to be very stress free as these courses tend to be understaffed and very small. Other internationals had more problems (above all Economics…). UCSD is an excellent school and demands a lot from its students, so the libraries are crowded day and night. The material itself corresponds to what is taught in Germany. In general, however, less detailed knowledge is required because the terms are simply too short. A lot of work is expected for this… Lots of homework and midterms, lectures and finals… gets a bit exhausting in the long run, especially because you experience so many exciting things along the way. Nevertheless, this should not deter the German bachelor student…
In my opinion, the extension program is a bit poor… we are not “real” students on paper, but everything can be set up somehow!
My tip for a successful study abroad experience in San Diego: Bring a Californian attitude with you… It all works out somehow! Take it easy!